SCHOOLS have criticised the way its A-level students have been graded this year.

No final exams were sat due to the coronavirus pandemic, with a new way to grade students formulated.

The Department for Education said that for each student, schools and colleges provided a ‘centre assessment grade’ for each subject – the grade they would be most likely to have achieved had exams gone ahead – taking into account a range of evidence including non-exam assessment and mock results.

Generally, most schools that released results seem pleased with the outcome and celebrated what has been a difficult academic year.

See also: ‘Inadequate’ school gets a quarter of A*-A grades - up from zero last year

At Cheney School in Headington, head of sixth form Kate Hackett said overall the school’s results had improved but there were some subjects and students who had suffered under the new grading model.

The school is expecting the results to improve further under the Government’s ‘triple lock’ pledge.

She said: “We only got the results yesterday. It has been very stressful.

“About 40 per cent of grades have been downgraded, and that is not unique to Cheney.”

Oxford Mail:

She said the school believed a particular subject had been badly impacted based on results from 2017 and 2018, before changes had been made which improved results last year.

Ms Hackett said this was particularly hurting the most vulnerable students, nearer the lower boundaries.

She criticised how the Government has handled the situation and said the school still didn’t know what the appeals process would be.

The teacher added: “Lack of transparency makes it very hard to support and advise our students.”

Read more: Do you recognise yourself in any of these old results day pictures?

Overall, 30 per cent of Cheney grades were an A* or A, with 50 per cent A* to B.

Included in the top results was Aditi Dahal, 18, from Wood Farm, who achieved A* A* A, plus an extended project qualification A* and will be studying medicine at Oxford University’s Balliol College.

She said: “I didn’t know what to expect, especially after the Scottish results. Fresher’s is going to be different but I’ve already been talking to people from my course.”

Meanwhile at Oxford Spires Academy, principal Marianne Blake said she was ‘very proud’ of students – of which 70 per cent will be going to university.

She spoke about how lockdown had been a testing time for the youngsters and how plans were thrown into uncertainty.

Oxford Mail:

On her third A-level results day as principal, Ms Blake said: “There’s a right of passage when you have that sense of relief after finishing exams, going to prom, saying goodbye to friends and teachers, and that’s been stolen from them and taken away.

“If I was a student I would feel a little all over the place.”

Another school celebrating results was St Gregory the Great Catholic School in Cowley, as 17 per cent of students achieved A* or A.

A standout performer was Hakeem Omolabi who got an A* in Maths, A in Physics and B in Chemistry, and is going to Southampton to study Aeronautics.

Read more: Student feels 'let down' by Government after dropping four grades

Gosford Hill School in Kidlington announced that 7 per cent of all grades were A*, while 76 per cent were A*-C, and overall 98 per cent were graded.

At the City of Oxford College, 85 students passed their A-levels, with a 98 per cent pass rate.

Sarah Swift was the college’s top performer, achieving two A* grades in chemistry and mathematics, as well as two A grades in biology and further maths.

She will now take up an offer from the University of Cambridge where she will study natural sciences.

She said: “I have been surrounded by lovely and supportive people at college. When I found out I had been offered a place at Cambridge, I whispered to my friend who told our entire class and they all clapped for me.”

Oxford Mail:

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, says students have been let down by ‘a poor system and last-minute political decisions’.

She said: “Gavin Williamson’s plan is a real insult to young people and their parents, who depend on a credible system which is supposed to help students on their way to a bright future.

“For those having to sit autumn exams, that future will now be postponed.”

In a poll by The Student Room, nearly 60 per cent of students said grades were worse than expected.