Family & Education

School head attacks grading 'debacle' as pupils receive their A-level results

Hannele Reece says students have been robbed 'of the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learnt'. But some Jewish schools have reported 'outstanding' results


The head of Kantor King Solomon High School in Redbridge has attacked the system used to calculate A-level grades, claiming it “robs our students of the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learnt”.

As pupils received their results today, Hannele Reece dubbed the grading process a “debacle”, saying it had “led to a situation where students are judged on the basis of a moderation system that has not seen any of their work.

“Having already coped with the challenges of Covid-19 and unprecedented school closures, they are now being asked to accept results that may determine their futures on the basis of a statistical exercise.”

Teachers in England had almost 40 per cent of their A-level assessments downgraded by the exam regulator’s algorithm.

JFS reported that 25 per cent of its pupils’ grades had been downgraded, commenting that it was “disappointing that the carefully considered centre-assessed grades were not accepted in totality by the exam boards.

“Teachers know their students well and will have based their results on clear evidence across two years of study.” 

But the school described its overall results as “outstanding” with 51.5 per cent of all grades A*s and As, while 77.3 per cent of grades were between A* and B.

Fourteen of its 241 exam students will be taking up places at Oxford or Cambridge. Six have been accepted to medical school.

Headteacher Rachel Fink congratulated students and staff for coping “superbly with the huge uncertainties as a result of Covid-19.

“Every JFS student is so much more than a national statistic and we wish each and every one of them much continued success.”

At Yavneh College in Borehamwood, headteacher Spencer Lewis said 26 per cent of pupil grades had been “disappointingly downgraded” in “a very difficult year”. Nonetheless, he was “happy and proud of what our students have achieved”.

All secured passes between A* and C with 31 per cent achieving all A or A* grades. Overall, 89 per cent of grades were between A* and B. 

Mr Lewis added that Yavneh was “one of the best performing [schools] in the country at A-level and these results continue that outstanding trend”. 

In Barnet, JCoSS celebrated “another record-breaking year” with 49 per cent of grades at  A* or Aand 78 per cent at  B or above.

 “This cohort has faced exceptional challenges and disruption to the end of their schooling and we are both relieved and delighted that these excellent results recognise their huge strengths,” said JCoSS head Patrick Moriarty.

Three pupils – Ethan Levenson, Oscar Pollack and Stefan Tucker – achieved four A*s, and seven will be going on to Oxford or Cambridge. 

Immanuel College in Bushey reported 87 per cent of grades between A* and B, with 31 per cent A*.

Headmaster Gary Griffin praised students for working “diligently and effectively” despite the “great uncertainty in recent months” .

Head of admissions Sarah Greenfield noted that the “Immanuel experience mirrors the national pattern” and that “the system was less than perfect”.

Yet “the vast majority of our Year 13s have been given places at university, which shows that the higher education institutions are indeed showing the flexibility which the government has asked for”.

Elsewhere, Watford Grammar pupil Max Adam achieved 4 A*s in maths, further maths, economics and geography and will be off to study maths at Warwick.











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