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The culmination of a year of uncertainty - Exam results in the post-COVID world

The end of a most unusual and challenging academic year has finally come with the release of GCSE and A Level results for students across the country.  Both Aldenham and Dame Alice Owen’s Schools have done admirable work throughout the year, delivering education to their students in the most challenging of circumstances.  However, the uncertainty surrounding exam results, what they mean and how they will impact individual students resulted in a very different atmosphere on results day to those our schools are used to, as the Headmaster of Aldenham School, James Fowler, notes:

“…as you might imagine the mood around the students this morning was very different from that in previous years, where individual relief or delight that their actual performance has been recognised is a cause of celebration, being replaced with a questioning of the system. You can add to this also a sense of instability that this is not the end of the story since so much uncertainty still pertains about whether these are their final grades. It is not a happy picture for these young people.  Celebrations were inevitably muted.”

There is much still to be decided and changes are ongoing, so it is very difficult to report on the success of our schools at this time.  However, we do know that Dame Alice Owen’s excellent track record served them well, with 99% of all GCSEs being awarded Grades 9-4 (32% being awarded Grade 9s), as well as 98% of A Levels receiving grades A*-C.  Aldenham School were pleased to report that 80% of their A Level students would be able to progress to their first choice university, with the majority of the others able to go on to second choices.

Sadly, the successes of this year are somewhat overshadowed by the frustrations and sadness of those students who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in difficult situations, questioning how their futures will unfold.  Despite all of the uncertainty, what we do know for sure is that the staff at both of our schools will continue to work tirelessly to support all of their students, whatever their circumstances, and we commend them for this.