Today is an exceptional day for the students at Harrogate Grammar School as they receive their Final Exam Grades during a global pandemic. Results day this year looks very different with students not only receiving results via email, but also having faced the sudden end to their time at school.
This is further compounded by unprecedented media coverage in the build up to results day that will have undoubtedly generated fear for our students about their future. The last-minute change by the government late on Tuesday evening to introduce a ‘triple lock’ (where a student’s mock grade, if higher, may be used to form the basis of appeal) has created an extra level of complexity, confusion and potential delay.
The completion of Centre Assessed Grades was a process that has never been attempted before and was forced by circumstances which nobody could possibly have foreseen. The staff at Harrogate Grammar School worked diligently and ethically to provide grades for students and to place them in rank order as fairly and accurately as possible. A picture has emerged, similar to that at a national level, where Harrogate Grammar School have seen variation between the Centre Assessed Grades and the Final Exam Grade. The exam board moderation process has resulted in 35% of Centre Assessed Grades being changed, representing 384 grades out of 1104 grades. The vast majority of the changes have resulted in results 1 grade lower than anticipated by the school.
Our immediate priority today is to support our students to secure suitable progression routes whether through clearing, employment, apprenticeship or by repeating the year. Despite our disappointment with the changes to grades, indications are that a very similar number of students have secured their first or second choice university place. Our focus over the forthcoming days will be to further analyse and investigate the variation between grades and pursue subsequent appeals, including where mock grades are higher than Final Results. We will pursue change through the appeals process as it is our view that the overall final grading of the cohort does not fully reflect what a typical cohort at our school would achieve.
We would like to stress that we recognise the exceptional hard work of all our students, the support of their families and the dedication of all of our teachers and support staff over the duration of their schooling. This is a cohort of young people who have had an experience in their final year of school like no other. It is important that we celebrate the success of our students, take great pride in their achievements over many years and wish them every success in their future endeavours.