It may seem a while ago that our pupils collected their long-awaited GCSE and A level results, however, the exam ‘machine’ has continued with the processing of re-marks. Nicola Griffiths, Deputy Head at Ipswich High School, has reflected on the school’s support for its pupils’ post-exams.
I have heard from a few parents who have children at other local schools that collecting exam results from the school is not the ‘norm’. In some cases, results are released on a school portal or are even given over the phone, so pupils do not need to go into school.
Personally, I think this is a huge mistake.
At Ipswich High School, we encourage all our pupils, along with their families, to come in and collect their results. While this might seem initially scary, opening result envelopes in front of an audience of expectant parents, relatives, teachers and pupils, we ensure there are plenty of spots where our students can ensure their privacy for time to digest the contents of their results.
The advantage of being in school to receive results is that our Heads of Department (HODs) and Senior Leadership Team (SLT) are on hand to congratulate, advise on re-marks and to help support A level students contacting university admissions.
Our dedicated examination team assists by carefully analysing all exam results and noting those pupils who were only a couple of ‘scaled’ marks away from the next grade boundary. This information is then communicated to all HODs and SLT in order for pupils and parents to be informed and consider if they wish to request that their exam paper is remarked.
This year our A level and GCSE re-mark requests resulted in an 80% and 21% success rate respectively. In other words, the outcome of the remark was a grade increase. Some re-mark results have been more than a couple of corrected ‘scaled’ marks which has meant that HODs have sought to review the external exam results for their subjects within the parameter of the result changes.
It is important to see if other pupils’ results could be affected and, if this is the case, pupils and parents are appropriately informed. This strategic approach hopefully, although not guaranteed, means that we identify any possible grade changes.
This support and advice on remarks was important for our A level pupils because, in a few cases, it helped secure university places pending the outcomes of these. Support was given to pupils in such circumstances through dedicated computer spaces and phone lines set up on the exam results day in the Sixth Form area to enable quick contact with university admissions personnel. Support and advice from the school continued beyond results day as remark results continued to be received.
Change to university offers
There were a multitude of stories in the press over the summer, such as changing university admissions to post A level results, which encourage institutions to take into account A level results post remarks. This seems fairer and a more sensible approach as it would probably also curb the number of unconditional offers which have been freely offered over the last couple of years.
In my opinion, this would be advantageous; having no clear aim discourages pupils from trying their very best at A level and therefore there is more chance of them under-performing in these circumstances.
After full consideration of our post results ‘after care’ review, we believe we are very effective in supporting our pupils, both at GCSE and A level, before and after they receive their results. It is important that we continue to offer this high standard of aftercare and we now need to focus on supporting our pupils beyond school, whether at university or in the world of work, including tapping into our vast alumni network.