Thu, 13 Aug 2020
Thatcham's Kennet School said it was celebrating exceptional A-level grades in a year of uncertainty around pupil safety and academic achievement.
Schools in West Berkshire have agreed not to publish an overall performance of results this year after exams were cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Top performers were:
Harry Sansum with 4A*s
Jack Vanstone 2A* 2As
Erin Riches 2A* 2As
Mehrin Abedin 2A* 2A
Prachi Patel A* 3A
Megan Langley A* B
Cai Warner A*AAB
Matthew Burke A* AA Dist
Olivia Hope A*AA
Amy Hussein A*AAC
Leena Hussein A*AAC
Leigh Avery AAA
William Thorne AAA
Harry Brown 2Dist* Dist
Cameron Slade 2Dist* Dist
Lauren Makar 2Dist* Dist.
Results for the two-year period are based on teachers’ earlier predictions and their confidence in individual students’ ability to achieve that mark.
These predicted grades were submitted and moderated by external examination boards using various factors, such as mock results and non-exam assessments, to determine the final outcome.
It emerged this week that teenagers will also be able to turn to the appeals process to ask exam boards for their mock results to be used instead.
Headteacher Gemma Piper said that Kennet had recorded a strong set of results and that securing the next step for pupils was the most important aspect.
She said: "Overall our results are really good. I think some schools are going to get hit more than others. Our results stack up well on last year across the board".
When asked whether the system put in place was fair Mrs Piper said: "Coronavirus isn't fair. It almost feels like there's that tinge of unfairness attached to it.
"How you allocate grades without children sitting exams, you are never going to get that exact pitch because it's down to performance on the day and we didn't have the day.
"For our pupils, what is most important is they got to step into their next step. We focused on getting the grades that they deserved on their certificates.
"What's important is we protect their next step with them. We are supporting them through their options.
"What's fair is they should have access to that next step. If they don't have that, that's the difficult bit. It's securing what they need to go down that path they hoped they would be able to.
"It's really important to focus on the pupil and not the drama.
Mrs Piper said that Kennet would be appealing "a small number" of results across each subject.
Head girl Mehrin Abedin opened 2A* and 2As and will be studying engineering at Oxford.
She said: “Because of what had been in the news I was expecting a lot worse. The triple lock put me off as well. The fact that the Government were encouraging us to go for our mock grades, I was a bit worried because we were all expected to do better than our mocks.
"Most importantly it’s got me where I need to be, and, to me, the grades don’t matter so much as it being a stepping stone, especially because we have not done the exams. If I had done the exams I would have had high expectations of myself because I have always been like that.”
When asked about the replacement system she said: “I don’t think it’s fair really. It’s based on past school performances and that means that pupils can be disadvantaged based on something that’s out of their control.
“English, some people aren’t happy about their result. If all of us knew that our exams would be off we would have worked our absolute hardest in our mocks.”
Miss Abedin said when lockdown started at the end of March she was in the full swing of revision and felt deflated when she heard the exams had been cancelled.
She said: “The school has been very supportive. When school shut we still had our our Zoom lessons which brought back a bit of normality and it was good to see friends and teachers.
“The teachers have certainly fought for us as students and getting to where we need to be and giving us the grades that will set us up for life, that must have been a hard process for them.”
Head boy William Thorne said the 3As he opened were “about right” for what he was expecting.
He said: “I kind of told myself, because of what happened in Scotland, that’s probably not what you are going to get and I feel quite lucky. I feel sorry for people who weren’t lucky. I did better in these exams [assessments] than I did in my mocks.”
When he heard that exams had been cancelled he said: “Everything stopped because everything we were studying for was the exams and to have no exams was like the whole point of everything we were doing was gone. I carried on reading for my subjects thinking I need to keep up with this.
"It just felt like a really long summer holiday. I was a bit bored by the end of it.
“Kennet have been emailing us every so often checking in on us. I have been fine, I’ve not needed them for anything. Kennet have been brilliant because we have got the grades we needed, we can only be thankful for that because the teachers have got what is needed for us.
“I wasn’t fearing the worst. I had faith in the system that my life wouldn’t be ruined but I was worried that I was not going to get where I wanted to be.”
Mr Thorne is heading to Exeter to study economics and finance. Using social media he was able to contact people heading to the same course.
He said: “Unfortunately a few of them didn’t get the grades they needed or decided to retake the exams because they weren’t happy. It’s quite sad. I got to know a couple of people who won’t be coming to Exeter now.”