COLUMN: Hard work of Dales students will pay off on results day

Head of Anthony Gell School Wirksworth Malcolm Kelly
Head of Anthony Gell School Wirksworth Malcolm Kelly

As we approach the end of another busy term and another successful year in school, our thoughts are turning to the examination results that will be published in August.

We are looking forward to the GCSE and A-level results as these will give us another opportunity to acknowledge the hard work of students and staff. We are immensely proud of the students who attend Anthony Gell School (AGS) and particularly impressed with the way in which the older students have approached their examinations this year. Their results in the summer, combined with the other experiences they have had during their time at AGS, will give them what they need in order to progress to the next stage in their learning.

Teachers, students and parents will be experiencing a different way in which grades will be awarded this summer, as the government’s plans to alter the way in which children are assessed at GCSE and A level begin to take hold. The government and Department for Education have specified that the new GCSE syllabuses (which they are calling ‘reformed’ GCSEs) will include more challenging and knowledge-based content with exams only at the end of the course. There is less non-exam assessment too. The GCSEs in English and maths this year are the reformed courses and will be graded on a new scale of nine to one (with nine the highest grade) rather than A* to G we are familiar with. Another 20 subjects will have nine to one grading in 2018, with most others following in 2019. The students sitting GCSEs this year will therefore receive a mixture of letter and number grades.

Although the reformed GCSE exams covered a wider, more challenging range of content, the independent exam regulator Ofqual has made it clear that students sitting these examinations for the first time will not be disadvantaged. Ofqual has said that broadly, the same proportion of students who currently achieve a C and above will achieve a grade four and above in the new GCSEs. The new GCSEs also give our students more to aim for in the higher grade ranges, as the new grades seven to nine cover the old A-A*. Some students are already talking about their goal to achieve a grade nine, which they are calling an A**!