Statement from the Chief Executive re. A-Level Results 2020

Dear Students, Parents and Carers,

Thank you for your patience and empathy today regarding the A Level and BTEC Results.

Kings has worked hard using vigorous moderation and standardisation procedures to submit accurate and fair Centre Assessed Grades (CAGs) to the Exam Boards. Along with other Sixth Forms in Somerset and indeed nationally, we have found a large number of results reduced downwards of a grade.

We are trying to analyse the rationale, but there does not appear to be one. We are concerned that a national distribution formula may have been applied (unfairly).

Whilst the overall headlines for Kings is still actually very good, my concern is for our students. The extremely late decision to allow an appeals process based on ‘mock exams’ was issued by the national media yesterday morning. We still have not heard anything about the process in school. My concerns are thus:

  • Mock exams do not necessarily give an accurate picture of what a
    student will achieve in their final exam. Often, they are a grade lower
    (naturally).
  • Mocks do not cover all aspects of a syllabus and assessment
    criteria.
  • Schools hold mock exams at different times of the year and with
    the above points, does not give a level playing field.
  • Universities will have allocated places to students a week before
    results were issued today. The ‘mock grade’ appeal process should have been
    issued before the universities made their offers and filled their allocation of
    places

I am concerned that there is not a level playing field across the UK. It could be argued that Scotland and Wales have a more ‘generous’ awarding system than England. It could therefore be argued that English Students are at a disadvantage of competing for a place in a UK university. This is compounded by the fact that Scottish students are a week ahead of their counterparts in England and university places will have been filled. 

My personal opinion is that students should now be awarded their Centre Assessed Grade (predicted grade). This will help to level the playing field across the UK as well as eliminate the unfairness of a nationally applied computer algorithm which, quite frankly, does not sit well with me at Kings.

We have issued all students with their mock grades this morning and have set up an appeals email hotline. Details have gone out in a letter with the results that were issued personally to students this morning. We have also issued students with their Centre Assessed Grades when asked.

We have tried to be as transparent and helpful as we can today. The school will support any student needing help to get into university or apprenticeship. The immediate focus is to secure the next step of progression. Students have achieved some wonderful university and apprenticeship places and we must celebrate that, along with their academic achievements. Congratulations to you all and a huge thanks to our parents and carers who have supported our young people on their educational journey.

Yours sincerely,

Gavin Ball

Chief Executive, and Executive Headteacher at Kings of Wessex