Schools need to make this year’s GCSE and A-level exam results days as ‘normal’ as possible for students, a leading head has said.
Alex Hutchinson, who is head of James Allen’s Girls’ School and chair of the GSA education committee, made the comments on the latest Girls’ Schools Association podcast.
Discussing how different this year’s results days will be, she said: “Students will receive their results on the morning of results day as usual.
“Yes, it will feel a little bit different because schools will be releasing grades that they already know, but what’s really important is that nationally, locally, within our own schools, we are still celebrating the success of those young people… it’s the result of their hard work, their endeavour, their commitment that we are awarding the grades this year, so I’m very keen that it feels as normal as it possibly can this year.”
To students she gave this advice: “Never ever feel that you’re on your own. Just as in any normal year, we will be there in schools to give support and advice and, most importantly, we will be there to celebrate with you after what has been an extraordinary year.”
Ms Hutchinson explained that grade inflation is to be expected this year, but that she hopes people will understand why and appreciate that schools have assessed each student as fairly as possible.
She said: “I think we should expect grade inflation this year. Assessments have been different and it’s hard for us to compare a normal year with the different processes we’ve put in place this year. What I hope is that the narrative around results will be absolutely understanding of that. The grades – if higher than a normal year – make sense in the context of the year we have had, and schools have assessed students as fairly and as thoroughly as possible.”
“There will still be some disappointments this summer,” she added, “but I think what we’ll find is far fewer students who had a ‘bad day’.”
She added that she hoped the exam boards would respect the grade decisions that schools have made.
She also outlined the subtle difference between a student being unhappy with their grade and having clear evidence that a mistake has been made when awarding their grade.
“What I would hope is that the level of intricate, double and triple checking [that schools have gone through] before submitting grades means that there are very few mistakes.”