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20 August 2020

Moving beyond a chaotic exams process to the challenge of A Level

Moving beyond a chaotic exams process to the challenge of a level

In a year where there will be no school performance league tables, and that many observers have remarked that the cohort this year will forever have an asterisk next to their results, the outstanding grades which the students have produced is testament to their efforts, both in the classroom and online.

Principal of Ealing Independent College, Allan Cairns, commented: “Having acted as form tutor to both Year 11 and GCSE Intensive students last year, I have a special affinity with the group. When the government made their U-Turn on Centre Assessed Grades, it brought affirmation that the students would be getting what they deserved. 50% of all of our grades for Year 11 students were 7 or above, something all of the staff at the College are rightfully proud of. 100% of the cohort managed to attain 5 or more GCSEs at grade 4 or above. For a non-selective school, this is a tremendous achievement.”

Within these overall results were some outstanding personal stories which show that the College’s approach at GCSE, where close monitoring and individual support, coupled with regular and prompt feedback can produce outstanding results. Mr Cairns continued “We have consistently enjoyed GCSE results above national averages, and this year is no different. We have proved that we can add value to student achievement at whatever stage they join us – and that the rigorous, yet supportive atmosphere of the College brings out the best in them.”

Two students who joined the College at the beginning of the GCSE course have excelled with superb grades across their subjects. Both Lara and Naoya have been tremendous students who we will welcome back for A Level. Mr Cairns was delighted with their performance: “They have shown with these results that they are tremendous all-round learners and they will be targeting the very best grades, aiming for the very best universities.”

Three students who joined part way through the year, for a range of reasons, have also excelled. Ava joined in January, transitioned seamlessly and worked diligently to get what she deserved. Ahmed was a model student at the College, avoiding any demerit points all year and adding to an already impressive set of grades achieved earlier in his school career. Taiyo joined mid-year. His calm, conscientious approach was rightfully rewarded. Everyone has a chance to perform well at the College, and the Principal was keen to acknowledge that “the welcoming environment of the College helped to provide an opportunity for difficulties experienced in the past to be overcome. These students now have an excellent opportunity to take advantage of the progress they have made here, and they are all capable of top A Level grades in two years’ time.”

A range of students came to the College in an effort to put disappointing grades from 2019 behind them. The GCSE Intensive Year at the College has been historically successful in turning students around and getting them on the right track. Our GCSE Intensive group this year improved their grades across the subjects by an average of 2.1, which is an outstanding achievement. All of the students successfully took their single science awards to triple awards. Cairns was delighted with this group: “These students now have the potential to take on A Levels and it is likely that most will. The College has no set entry requirements for A Level courses – We give those with the right mind set the chance to come and do their best. As long as they work hard and show willing, our approach to learning has a strong record in getting them there.” Two such students, Anushka and Philip, showed with their results in A Levels last week (BBB grades) benefitting from the strong teaching at the College in the Sixth Form can produce results beyond the expectations set by GCSE attainment.

Cairns was also happy that the approach taken for these students has paid dividends: “From an early point in the year, they were coached in the disciplines of independent study and revision techniques. I wanted them to think and work like A Level students. Far from being a wasted effort, with no exams this year, they can now put that in to practice. They can begin year 12 with some real momentum. Where many other schools sanctioned the departure of year 11 when the lockdown commenced, the routine and rigour did not stop here. Online lessons, mock examinations and final projects were all completed by the students at home – and all of our students benefited from a well-received A Level taster programme. They now have the knowledge, direction and purpose with which to move forward into year 12, knowing what subjects they will take, armed with the study habits they need to succeed and approaching the future with confidence.”

All of the staff at the College would like to congratulate the students on their achievements.

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