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A-levels: Harold Hill principal slams ‘biased’ grading as students find out results

PUBLISHED: 12:39 13 August 2020 | UPDATED: 12:39 13 August 2020

Darren Luckhurst, principal of Drapers' Academy. Picture: Paul Bennett

Darren Luckhurst, principal of Drapers' Academy. Picture: Paul Bennett

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A Harold Hill secondary school head has criticised the “biased” system for deciding A-level results as students received their grades.

Drapers' Academy student Lydia Tyler. Picture: Drapers' AcademyDrapers' Academy student Lydia Tyler. Picture: Drapers' Academy

The Covid-19 pandemic meant that students were unable to sit exams as usual this summer and Darren Luckhurst, principal at Drapers’ Academy, said the past year had been challenging.

He added: “As we started the school year in September 2019, I could never have imagined the highs and lows that A-level students would face, let alone their futures being determined by statisticians and biased computer algorithms.”

This was denied by Dr Michelle Meadows, executive director for strategy, risk and research at Ofqual, who said its analyses showed there was “no evidence of systematic bias” in the exam assessment model used this year.

She said: “Outcomes for different groups, whether that be by socio-economic status, ethnicity, gender, the outcomes for these groups are very similar to those in previous years.”

Drapers' Academy student Sam Beech. Picture: Drapers' AcademyDrapers' Academy student Sam Beech. Picture: Drapers' Academy

Among the star performers at the Settle Road school was Lydia Tyler, who achieved A* grades in English literature and law as well as an A in psychology.

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Lydia is going to Magdalen College, Oxford to study English literature and language.

Sam Beech gained A* grades in economics and geography as well as an A in business studies and will now go to Queen Mary University London to read geography.

Drapers' Academy student Lily Sharpe. Picture: Drapers' AcademyDrapers' Academy student Lily Sharpe. Picture: Drapers' Academy

Lily Sharpe, who is going on to study sociology at Exeter University, achieved As in psychology, business studies and sociology and an A* in her extended project qualification.

Mr Luckhurst said the school is proud of the achievements of students and wished them well for the future.

He added: “All the staff are so proud of how our students have handled such a difficult time in their lives. They had such an abrupt end to their studies without having the opportunity to sit exams that they worked hard for.

“Despite the fact of so much uncertainty, I am pleased to see so many students are following their dream to go to university.”

He went on to say that the school is providing “significant support” to students who wish to query their grades.


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