Results Day 2021: A-level pupil thanks teacher who gave her top grades

‘Thanks Miss!’: Moment A-level pupil opens her teacher-assessed grades then turns to thank her headteacher – as students find out results today

  • A-level student at a West Midlands school thanked teacher for her grades today
  • Students Erin, Drew and Keehan opened results live on GB News this morning 
  • Erin found Kinver High School had awarded her two A grades and an A* 
  • Results set by teachers after exams were cancelled for second year due to Covid

A happy A-level student at a West Midlands school thanked her teacher for her two As and  A* grades today after opening her results live on television as thousands of anxious teenagers find out their marks.

Students Erin, Drew and Keehan opened their results live on GB News next to Balvinder Sidhu, the channel’s West Midlands Reporter in front of their peers and headteacher Nikki Clifton this morning.

Erin was visibly delighted as she found that Kinver High School in Stourbridge had awarded her two A grades and an A* as she laughed, said ‘wow, I am very happy’ and turned to her teacher to say: ‘Thank you’.  

Today’s results have been set by teachers after exams were cancelled for a second year in a row due to Covid restrictions, with reports last night anticipating nearly half to be given A* and A grades.  

Students Erin, Drew and Keehan opened their results live on GB News next to Balvinder Sidhu, the channel’s West Midlands Reporter in front of their peers and headteacher Nikki Clifton this morning 

Erin was visibly delighted as she found that Kinver High School in Stourbridge had awarded her two A grades and an A* as she laughed, said ‘wow, I am very happy’ and turned to her teacher to say: ‘Thank you’

Faith Bryant (back) and Abbie Hollis (front) are hugged at Archbishop Blanch School in Liverpool, as students receive their A-Level results

A student at the London Academy of Excellence Tottenham (LAET) finds out his A-Level results in north London

Scenes of joy at Newcastle High School For Girls as pupils receive their A Level results this morning

When will pupils receive their A-level and GCSE results?

Students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive their A-level and GCSE results this week.

A-level and AS level results day is Tuesday, August 10 and GCSE results day is Thursday, August 12.

Pupils should check with their school or college whether they are still required to pick up their results in person in the morning, or whether they will be sent out by email or post instead.

The Scottish Highers results are also being released on A-level results day.

How have the grades been decided this year?

All four nations – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – adopted a system of awarding grades this summer based on teacher based assessment.

Teachers in England have been required to consider a range of evidence, including mock exams, coursework, and in-class assessments using questions by exam boards, to make decisions on pupils’ grades.

Headteachers had to submit a personal declaration that they believed grades to be accurate.

Schools and colleges were asked to provide samples of student work to exam boards, as well as evidence used to determine the grades for the students selected, as part of quality assurance (QA) checks.

Random and targeted sample checks of evidence were also carried out after grades were submitted.

In some cases, where the evidence did not support the grades submitted, schools and colleges have been asked to review their grades.

Last summer, the fiasco around grading led to thousands of A-level students having their results downgraded from school estimates by a controversial algorithm, before Ofqual announced a U-turn.

But this year, no algorithm will be used to moderate teachers’ grades.

What should students do if they are unhappy with their final grades?

Pupils in England who want to appeal against their grade must first request that their school or college reviews whether an administrative or procedural error was made.

Each school or college will set their own deadlines by which students must ask them to review a grade.

If the school or college rules no error was made, then students can escalate the appeal to the exam boards, which their school or college is expected to submit on their behalf.

In England, the deadline to send an appeal to the exam board is September 17.

There is an earlier deadline of August 23 for priority appeals, for example, if a student has not got their first choice of university place confirmed.

Can students sit an exam if they do not like their results?

Students in England who are unhappy with their A-level or GCSE grades will have the opportunity to take exams in the autumn.

AS and A-level exams will be held in October, while GCSE exams will take place in November and December.

The higher grade will count for applicants who wish to take an autumn exam.

What is the plan for the summer exams in 2022?

In England, ministers hope that exams will go ahead in summer 2022 after two years of cancelled exams.

But pupils taking GCSE and A-level exams next year could be given advance notice on the focus of exam papers to ensure they are not disadvantaged as a result of lost learning during the pandemic.

The proposals include giving schools and colleges some choice over the topics that students are assessed on, as well as providing exam aids, but final details will not be confirmed until the autumn term.

Appearing on GB News, Keehan said he got an A*, A and a B, and Drew – who was expecting to receive two Bs – got an A and a B, telling Ms Sidhu: ‘I’m really chuffed with it, really really happy’.

Erin and Keehan said they had received the grades required to get to their universities of choice, while Drew said he planned on joining the Royal Air Force and doing an apprenticeship in intelligence.

Last summer, the fiasco around grading led to thousands of A-level students having their results downgraded from school estimates by a controversial algorithm, before Ofqual announced a U-turn.

But this year, no algorithm will be used to moderate teachers’ grades.

Headteacher Nikki Clifton said of the three students on GB News: ‘They’re so brave, but they’re a credit to each and every youngster up and down, around the country and I couldn’t be happier for them.

‘Today’s a fabulous day, it’s one of my favourite days of the year and I think coming after the two years of disruption, I think I’m really looking forward to having a great day of fun and celebration with the students.’

Asked how she was feeling, Ms Clifton said: ‘I’m excited, a little bit nervous as I always am on these days because it is a nervous day and students are nervous. But I’m hopeful that our students will open a set of results that will give (sic) them where they want to go and I hope that is replicated up and down the country.’

She added: ‘It has been a very different and rigorous set of processes, and it’s very different to any other year. You can’t compare this set of year’s results with last year, we’ve got a completely different set of assessment parameters, a whole new policy, a whole different way of working for our students and our staff, and I couldn’t be prouder of them.’ 

Gavin Williamson today defended this year’s record high A-level grades after it was revealed nearly half of this morning’s results are expected to be A* or A – but the Education Secretary admitted there may still not be exams next year with teachers deciding the results again. 

But critics are concerned that middle class parents with ‘sharp elbows’ might have the upper hand when it comes for appeals, with the ‘have nots’ suffering disproportionately this year because they are more likely to be marked down and not appeal their results.

Robert Halfon, Tory chairman of the education select committee, said: ‘There’s likely to be grade inflation. The Government has got to make sure the appeals system is fair and easy to engage in and not just accessible to those with barristers for parents.’

Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Williamson said: ‘Because of the extraordinary conditions we have faced as a country, we announced in January that exams would not go ahead this year – it would have been unfair on students who had already given up so much in the battle against coronavirus. 

‘Their hard work, however, deserves to be rewarded with a qualification. We must support these students in looking to the future, because their whole lives are in front of them.’ 

Asked on Sky News what the contingency plans are for next year’s exams, Mr Williamson said: ‘In the last academic year we have conducted an extensive consultation as we move back to examinations, and in a few weeks’ time as we go back into the winter period we will be doing another extensive consultation as to the contingency, which will be largely based around teacher-assessed grades, but we very much hope that we will be moving to a system of where we are able to move into the more normal pattern of examinations from next year, but always conscious that this pandemic, we have not always been able to predict the course of it, it has continuously changed, and it’s absolutely right that we have contingencies there, as we always do.’

Asked if he was ruling out teacher assessments for this time next year, he said: ‘What we are saying is you will probably have seen our consultation in the last academic year, we are very much planning to move back to examinations as a form of assessment, but we always have to have a contingency plan in place, and that’s why we will be consulting in the next academic year on those plans.’

Mr Williamson has said ’employers can have real confidence’ in the grades awarded to pupils.

Speaking to Sky News, he said: ‘This is a culmination of 13 years in education, I think we should be incredibly proud of their achievements, incredibly proud of the grades that they achieve.’

He said: ‘We do have a rigorous system of grading and awarding. People have been awarded this grade on the basis of evidence.

‘We took a difficult decision, and that decision was children were to be assessed on what they had been taught. We have seen various amounts of disruption around the country and children’s experiences have been different.

‘But still, you have a very clear grading system, you still see children who are achieving A*s, As, Bs, Cs, have really achieved so very, very much, and I think employers can have real confidence in the grades that they get. Let’s not forget this is an unprecedented year.’

This year, teachers in England submitted their decisions on pupils’ grades after drawing on a range of evidence, including mock exams, coursework, and in-class assessments using questions by exam boards.

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: ‘Parents should be really warned not to hire lawyers to make the case for a different grade because it will impress no one, it won’t impress the exam boards.’

She added: ‘Dressing up an appeal in legal language is not going to bolster that appeal, or make it more likely to succeed. So if you don’t want to waste your money, don’t do that.’

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: ‘There is certainly a worry that we are going to face more appeals than normal, but we just don’t know yet.

‘Although the appeal system is there to bring a further level of confidence, spurious appeals or hopeful appeals will probably be a waste of time because the system that’s been brought in is a robust system for this year.’

He added: ‘My only appeal to students and students’ parents is that a lot of work has gone into this assessment, you should be able to rely upon the assessment so simply putting an appeal in for the sake of appealing in the hope that your grade might move would be the wrong thing to do.’ 

Faith Bryant (left) and Abbie Hollis at Archbishop Blanch School in Liverpool, as students receive their A-Level results

Students at Nottingham High School get their A level results today

Leila Jarvis hugs her mother (name not given) after receiving her grades at Kensington Aldridge Academy in London, as students receive their A-Level results

Students at Nottingham High School get their A level results today

Students at Nottingham High School get their A level results today

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is seen in Westminster, London

Will pupils ever sit exams again? Gavin Williamson defends A-level grade inflation and says teacher-assessments could continue next year 

Gavin Williamson today defended this year’s record high A-level grades after it was revealed nearly half of this morning’s results are expected to be A* or A – but the Tory minister admitted there may still not be exams next year with teachers allowed to decide the results again.

The Education Secretary said students ‘deserve to be rewarded’ after a year of disruption as teachers decided marks for a second year following the cancellation of exams, and said: ‘We do expect students to get better grades this year’.

And hinting at more teacher-decided grades next year he said: ‘We also recognise that those students who will be looking at taking exams in 2022 will also have had their education disrupted as part of that; that’s why, as part of that extensive consultation that we did in the last academic year, we set out some mitigations in order to be able to support those children.’

Around 30 per cent of the qualifications are expected to receive an A with 19 per cent getting an A*, meaning almost half of all results will be top grades. It comes after 38.6 per cent of A-levels were graded A or A* last year when exams were first cancelled due to the pandemic.

It came as the total number of students accepted on to UK degree courses has risen five per cent on the same point last year, with 435,430 taking up places so far, initial Ucas figures show.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said ‘legal firms turning themselves into ambulance chasers and saying to parents for a certain fee they will run an appeal’ was unhelpful.

He said: ‘That seems to me incredibly misguided because appeals are there for anyone who wants to use them, but they’re based on two things: did the school follow due process, and was the grade awarded a fair grade. That will be down to the awarding organisation.

‘If you’ve got a concern then the process is there, but you really don’t need to be sending money to lawyers.’ 

The Department for Education has said all A-level grades have been checked by schools as part of a quality assurance (QA) process – and one in five schools had a sample of their grades checked by exam boards.

Last summer, the fiasco around grading led to thousands of A-level students having their results downgraded from school estimates by a controversial algorithm before Ofqual announced a U-turn.

This year there will not be an algorithm used to moderate grades. Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi), said it could be more difficult to get on to a top course this year if grades are missed. 

‘It could be harder to get in than usual if you fall a grade or two behind your offer and if it is a competitive course,’ he said. ‘My advice would be to act swiftly if you need to find a place somewhere else.’

An analysis conducted by PA Media suggests that the day before results were due to be released, for applicants living in England, there were more than 26,000 courses with availability.

It shows that, as of Monday afternoon, 14 of the 24 Russell Group universities had vacancies on courses for English residents – around 2,390 courses between them – on the Ucas clearing site. The numbers of courses listed change frequently as different courses are filled, or become available.

At the same point last year, the day before results day, 17 of the Russell Group institutions had around 4,485 undergraduate courses listed on clearing with potential availability for students in England.

Last week, the head of the admissions service warned that clearing is likely to be ‘more competitive’ for students seeking places at selective universities this year due to uncertainty on teacher-assessed grades.

Clare Marchant, Ucas’s chief executive, urged students receiving their grades to make a decision ‘in a matter of days’ rather than waiting weeks.

But she added: ‘On Tuesday, I am expecting to wake up and have record numbers with their first choice.’

Last week, the Medical Schools Council, which represents 44 heads of medical schools across the UK, warned that some schools may still struggle to increase the number of students they admit despite the announcement that medicine and dentistry schools will receive funding to expand courses.

Students who want to study medicine will have the option to defer their places until next year or choose to move to a different medical school amid capacity constraints, the MSC said.

Last night, Ofqual’s interim chief regulator Simon Lebus said that traditional tests only provided a ‘snapshot’ of a pupil’s ability and the new system allowed a fairer assessment gauged over a longer time period. 

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Lebus admitted that grades may be slightly higher this year, adding: ‘I think a good way to think of it is exams are a bit like a snapshot, a photograph – you capture an instant, it’s a form of sampling.

‘Whereas teacher assessment, it allows teachers to observe student performance over a much longer period, in a rather more complex way, taking into account lots of different pieces of work and arriving at a holistic judgment. 

‘I think, from that point of view, we can feel satisfied that it’s likely to give a much more accurate and substantial reflection of what their students are capable of achieving.’ 

Ms Bousted told the Times: ‘I think there was a political decision to put teachers in the firing line. We think there will be a rise in the top grades but I’ve been assured by government that they won’t say teachers have been too generous.’ 

Mr Lebus said that the watchdog wanted to create a system where every student was given a fair chance to show what they can do. 

Lanre Dada poses with his grades at Kensington Aldridge Academy in London, as students receive their A-Level results

Students at Nottingham High School get their A level results today

Lecture pledge to win over applicants: Non-Russell Group universities bringing back in-person teaching this year

Universities from outside the elite Russell Group are bringing back face-to-face teaching faster in a bid to entice students.

At least six of them are advertising an end to online learning on their clearing sites, after a poll found 20 of the 24 Russell Group institutions plan to keep some undergraduate teaching virtual.

Sussex says it is ‘optimistic’ that in-person will be the main form of teaching from September.   

The University of West London plans ‘that all sessions will be in person’, and East Anglia (UEA) expects ‘campus life to largely get back to normal’. 

Roehampton promises ‘in-person teaching on our London campus’, while Aberystwyth plans to ‘scale-up in-person teaching for the start of the academic year’. 

Leicester says: ‘We’ll be back to in-person teaching, guaranteed.’

Six in ten students said they preferred in-person studies in a poll by the Higher Education Policy Institute and Advance HE.

Education professor Alan Smithers, at Buckingham, said ‘Middle-market universities have to be more responsive and the students want in-person tuition.’

‘I’m very confident that, when they get their grades on Tuesday and Thursday this week, they’ll be able to feel satisfied that that’s happened,’ he told the broadcaster. 

Mr Lebus said there have been three stages of checks to ensure students can feel they have been ‘fairly treated’, including Ofqual checking the policies that schools have for awarding grades and exam boards looking over them.

Headteachers had to submit a personal declaration that they believed grades to be accurate. Schools and colleges were asked to provide samples of student work to exam boards, as well as evidence used to determine the grades for the students selected, as part of quality assurance (QA) checks. 

It comes as Tory peer Lord Lucas predicted that private school pupils will get short shrift in admissions because universities are prioritising the disadvantaged.  

The editor of the Good Schools Guide said yesterday that institutes will be ‘pretty cautious’ about giving places to fee-paying youngsters who missed their grades as they had ‘all the chances’ to succeed. 

Instead, they will give leg-ups to pupils who experienced ‘challenges’ such as having ‘nowhere to work’ during lockdown. 

But despite alleged grade inflation, individual pupils could lose out and there is likely to be variability between schools.  

Last night, Ofqual defended the system, claiming the results are ‘more accurate’ than if exams had been held mid-pandemic.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: ‘Students have worked incredibly hard during an extremely challenging time. We know exams are the fairest form of assessment but in their absence this year there is no one better placed to judge their abilities than their teachers.’

Suggestions that almost half of today’s grades will be an A or A* were reported in the Times. 

Mr Williamson wrote to all teachers, thanking them for their ‘hard work’ on grading. The Association of School and College Leaders stressed that qualifications had not been ‘devalued’.

Lord Lucas said anyone not getting the grades they need for university should call the admissions tutor. But he said that ‘tutors will say the hardest time has been had by state schools but by and large, independent schools have got through Covid pretty well’. 

He added that institutes will be ‘pretty cautious about giving extra space to someone from an independent school’ as ‘they’ve had all the chances’ to succeed.

‘I think admissions tutors will say the hardest time has been had by state schools but by and large, independent schools have got through Covid pretty well,’ he said. ‘They haven’t had half the challenges of someone else who has nowhere to work, or doesn’t have an online connection.’

Kate Green, Labour’s shadow education secretary, said: ‘Students have worked incredibly hard in extraordinary circumstances and should be proud of the results they are receiving today. They have done this in spite of a Conservative government which has let them down at every turn and shown no ambition for their futures.’

It came after Sir Keir Starmer warned that ‘chaos and incompetence’ in Government had created extra stress for those awaiting their results.

The Labour leader said Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Mr Williamson had failed to act early enough to ensure this summer’s results operations run smoothly.

‘It frustrates me immensely that this week’s big moment in so many young people’s lives is being risked by the chaos and incompetence at the top of this Government,’ he said. 

The Department for Education said it recognises the ‘unprecedented challenges pupils and students have faced’ during the pandemic and that a ‘rigorous system to ensure grades are fair’ has been put in place. 

Source: Read Full Article