Dear Year 11 Families, 

I hope you are all safe and well?  I am writing to you all to try and share some thoughts on the unfolding situation around results.  There have been many news reports, commentaries and social media responses to this year’s A level results and the widespread downgrading in state schools.  I know many of you are now very anxious for Thursday.  

The class of 2020 have missed out on so many milestones and had such a turbulent year it seems so unfair they will need to endure further heartache around exams which they could not sit.  They did not choose not to sit them, the situation dictated it.  Most of them will receive their center assessed grades, or close to them, but in the event we see widespread downgrading of GCSEs it would be foolish not to be prepared. 

I know I have said it before but it is worth saying again that I am so proud of our students they will leave school with so much more than their grades.  However I know how much these grades mean to them and so how much pressure they are feeling about Thursday.  

What we did 

  • Considered your child’s: KS2 results, progress from Yr7-11, Mocks, in class assessments as well as class and homework
  • We gave each child a center assessed grade and then ranked all the students in that subject 
  • Each grade was reviewed by: the head of faculty, 2 senior leaders and I signed off on each and every grade
  • We worked with the Fischer Family Trust to have the grades checked before we submitted them to ensure there was no bias and that we had done everything we could to give fair grades. 
  • This process took 3 full weeks, staff found it very challenging we all wanted the children to have an accurate grade based on their abilities and hard work and we believed we had issued a honest and evidence based assessment 

What we know 

  • We knew the grades would go through a centralised standardisation but we believed, as all schools did, if we had followed the steps as above we should see minimal movement 
  • A Level grades were significantly bought down. We have spoken to our Haringey partners schools who run post 16 courses and it seems the formula used to adjust grades impacted our partners greatly despite them following careful and measured processes as we had 
  • We know we will be able to (AND WE WILL) appeal any changes to grades, for most this will be minimal. How we appeal is yet unclear but we will monitor the situation as it unfolds

What we think will happen next 

We can not predict what the next 4 days will bring.  We hope the government and Ofqal will take the feedback from parents and schools and put a plan in place to try not to replicate the issues with A level results for the GCSE results this week.  However we must also have a plan ready in the case they do not address this and apply the same algorithm which we know will result in downgrades for some of our students. 

Positive planning 

At Heartlands we always try to see the positive in situations and at the very least look for the steps we can take to combat any negative impacts on our students and families.  In preparation for the results we will be: 

  • Preparing our internal data so we can immediately highlight downgrades and the possibility for appeals
  • Reviewing all the guidance quickly as it comes in to ensure we are ready to act on any last minute changes
  • Reviewing what we issue students to aid their application to post 16; our partners are telling us if students have their center assessed grades this will be helpful so we will be issuing those alongside results in some cases.  We will also include any information we have on appeals and next steps
  • Increasing support available to students on the day: all of SLT and many other leaders and teachers will be on hand all day to answer any questions and queries on Thursday or any day 

Mrs Roberts is in contact with all the heads of our main A level and KS5 feeders and will be working closely with them all to ensure we place all our students where they want to be for the next step in our education. 

I hope this goes some way to helping you to feel like we are taking action, I know many of our students feel let down by the system but hopefully they can feel supported by their school. 

Best wishes to you all 

Elen Roberts