College boss slams government’s ‘absolutely appalling’ A level decision and vows to fight for his students | #students | #parents

A frustrated college principal in Barnsley has spoken on the “absolutely appalling” decision to downgrade student A Level results by as much as four places.

Paul Crook is principal of Penistone Grammar School, which also has a high performing sixth form college and although numbers of students getting their first choice of university place remain the same as last year – 92 per cent – he has spoken out against the Government’s marking system.

A few Penistone students have seen their results plunge by four grades “with no reasoning”, he said.

“It is absolutely appalling. That is the life-chances of that student. They are phoning the university and are being told they don’t have the grades.”

Now they will fight for those considered to have been unfairly penalised by the marking system.

Follow all the latest updates on A Level results day across Yorkshire here

Even less extreme downgrades were unfair, he said: “A student who should have got three Bs has a B and two Cs. We said they would and my staff have the evidence to say that.

“Some statistical programme says no because we cannot have so many good Bs across the country. That is just unfair.”

The marking system means student cohorts of five or less – at Penistone that means textiles, languages, graphics and drama – are automatically given the school approved grade.

But those in larger groups – and Penistone majors on maths and science – are subject to the rigours of the Government system.

Penistone Grammar School student, Ben Wade

Normal A Level examinations could not take place this summer due to coronavirus, leaving the Government to come up with an alternative. They are now facing criticism for the way that works.

“We will go through an appeals process for a number of our students. They have got into the university of their choice, but still need the A Levels they deserve.

“If we can do anything to support our students through the appeals process we will do that.

“We don’t yet know what the appeals process is,” he said.

Grade markdowns at Penistone were around 40 per cent, in line with the national average, he said.

It is understood that some other institutions in the region have seen 55 or 60 per cent of their students see predicted grades failing to materialise.

Mr Crook said he believed Penistone’s strong performance with A Level results in recent years had not been recognised and taken into account by the marking system.

Despite this year’s system, Penistone has produced its usual crop of stellar results, with Tom Fryers getting four A* grades, enough to get him into Cambridge to read Maths. Jamie Butler’s three A* results take him to Oxford to read philosophy, politics and economics, with Matthew Raynor’s three A* performance also getting him into Cambridge to read maths.

Several others have recorded straight A grades and will be studying at some of the country’s most prestigious universities.




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