I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate every Hanley Castle student on their excellent A level results. As a school we were extremely disappointed to be unable to provide these results to our students in person and recognise and celebrate their achievements in the normal way. However, I am speaking on behalf of all members of staff at the school when I say that we are full of pride that our students have accomplished so much in the face of such a prolonged period of unprecedented challenge.
A large proportion of students achieved outstanding individual results, ensuring that the vast majority secured their places at Cambridge, Russell Group and other top universities.
There were a number of star performers, with Jacob Evans, Will Gilchrist, Daisy Haynes and Euan Lilly leading the way.
Jacob Evans was the stand-out performer with A* grades in mathematics, further mathematics, physics and his extended project, and an A grade in chemistry. Jacob will now take up his place at Warwick University to study computer science.
Will Gilchrist was delighted with his A* grades in economics, history, mathematics and his extended project. He is now off to Cambridge with another of the school’s star performers, Daisy Haynes. Daisy gained A* grades in geography, history and her extended project, as well as an A grade in English literature. Daisy will now complete a summer Latin course before taking up her place at Corpus Christi to read Classics.
Euan Lilly is also celebrating an exceptional set of results. Euan gained an A* in economics and French and an A grades in mathematics. He is off to Exeter where he will be studying economics.
Of course, we are proud of every student and every grade. Parents will recall that in March the Government announced the cancellation of all exams due to take place in the summer of 2020. It also announced that there would be no publication of any school or college level educational performance data based on tests, assessments or exams for 2020.
Secondary schools and sixth form colleges were asked to provide centre assessed grades to exam boards for each student in each subject studied. The aim of this process was to award each student due to sit the exams the grade they would have been most likely to achieve had the exams gone ahead. The grades submitted by schools and colleges were then statistically moderated by the exam boards. Factors the exam board used to complete this moderation included:
• Expected grade distributions at national level
• Results in previous years at individual centre level
• The prior attainment profile of students at centre level
It should be noted that students do not have an automatic right to appeal against the grades awarded by the exam board. However, in certain circumstances, the school can and will appeal on behalf of students whose final grades for subjects do not reflect their performance in their mock examinations. We are certainly looking to challenge some grades in biology, chemistry, economics, English literature, geography, history, maths, physics and politics, as many of the grades awarded in these subjects are lower than those achieved by students in their March mocks.
Additionally, students may appeal if they feel that there may have been a clerical error or discrimination. Students who do not feel their calculated grade reflects their ability will have the opportunity to resit one or more exams in the autumn.
As usual, the school will do everything in its power to ensure that students are supported to secure successful transitions to their chosen universities, employment or training.
It is so sad that this wonderful year group of outstanding young people has been denied the opportunity to prove itself in the usual way, and that we were not able to complete the Year 13 journey with them.
We are currently making plans for our annual Celebration of Achievement. This is one of the most important events in the school calendar, acknowledging our students’ talents and efforts. It is clear that the traditional ‘assembly’ format in the school hall would breach Government guidelines on social distancing. We have therefore designed an alternative which will ensure that students’ achievements are recognised and rewarded.
Finally, we would like to remind all of our students that the sixth form team and other staff at Hanley Castle will continue to be available for any student who needs help, support or advice in the coming months. We are hugely proud of our talented, dedicated and committed Year 13 and will miss each and every one of them very much.