A-level results were the centre of much controversy last month. Students in Surrey received their grades on 13 August, following an extremely difficult school year. The results were based on the students' predicted grades, rather than actual exams.
The grades were allocated based on teachers' submissions: Ofqual (the exams watchdog) oversaw them before they were given to students across Tandridge. Concerns were raised over the fairness of the system, as those students in deprived areas of the country or those who attended schools which had not performed well in previous years seemed to be affected more by the downgrading.
Consequently, the Scottish government agreed to upgrade 125,000 results which had been downgraded. English education secretary Gavin Williamson then made the decision to overturn the algorithm system for A-level results and revert to centre-assessed grades. This decision was widely welcomed as positive and successful.
As a result, 38.1% of students across the country were awarded top grades, compared with 25.2% who were awarded the same based on the original algorithm.
Secondary schools and sixth forms across Tandridge performed exceptionally. Ceri Jones, headmaster of Caterham School said:
"I am incredibly proud of our pupils and how they have responded to the challenges and uncertainties of the last six months. When lockdown hit, our pupils and teachers switched to a virtual school from day one, all the while supporting each other and the wider community around them. Whether they were making PPE, helping raise funds for East Surrey NHS charity SASH or supporting our partner schools, our young people have shown their true colours. I am incredibly proud of them and the outstanding results they have achieved this summer. Despite difficult times for everyone, working with such purposeful and inspiring young people provides a great deal of optimism."
"Caterham pupils are ready to thrive as they take their next steps to university and apprenticeships. The continuity of provision teachers gave throughout lockdown, supported our students academically, but also ensured a vital sense of community and normality throughout lockdown. Grades open doors, but importantly we know that our young people are leaving us not only with their academic grades but with a skillset for life – they are problem solvers, digitally confident and creative, resilient young people ready to thrive as they move forward into the wider world."
Paul Foster, newly appointed head of Warlingham School and Sixth Form, explained that the school's ethos is to support its students, and stressed the importance of ensuring that their experiences during the pandemic were positive ones. His long-term aim is to make it an outstanding school with the high-quality learning. They have chosen not to compare grades but to look at each individual child, assessing their strengths and focusing on them. The school's teachers have created a rapport with their children over the past few years, and know them better than the examiners.
We would like to congratulate everyone who received their A-level and GCSE results this summer.