AMID the celebrations of A-level results day 2020 head teachers hit out at the 'confusion and stress' caused by the controversy and speculation surrounding the system.

Following the cancellation of this summer’s A-level exams after the nation went into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year results have been based on calculated grades. As a starting point, the grades used teacher predictions of the results students would have achieved if the exams had gone ahead as normal.

For each student, teachers provided an assessment grade. Exam boards then standardised the results based on a process decided with Ofqual, the government’s body for regulating exams. On Wednesday evening, the Government announced pupils in England had the right to appeal - through their schools - to use the grades awarded from mock exam results if they are unhappy with the ones they have been awarded.

Rob Williams head at Malton School said: "There has unfortunately been much confusion over the process, which has only deepened in the last few days, has not helped the students, or their families, at a time of great stress as they wait to find out whether they will be able to pursue their career dreams.

“These students have worked very hard over the last two years. It is not their fault that we have had school closures and the cancellation of exams. The last few months have put added stress on to them and their families and I am incredibly proud of each and every one of them for what they have achieved.”

Nationally the proportion of A-level entries awarded an A grade or higher has risen to an all-time high, with 27.9 per cent securing the top grades.

But exam boards downgraded thousands of pupils across the country with nearly two in five or 39 per cent of pupils’ grades in England marked down, according to data from Ofqual which left many pupils and parents angry.

At York College chief executive and principal, Lee Probert, said: “There’s never been a more testing time to be nervously waiting for exam results. Our results reflect the high-quality work of a skilled and dedicated staff team, navigating a complex process. Whilst there is a lot of noise about the process for determining grades, our collective priority is our students and supporting them to achieve their progression ambitions.”

At Joseph Rowntree School, head, David Hewitt said: “We are rightfully proud of the hard work, dedication and fantastic character of the Class of 2020. They have shown themselves to be absolutely committed to their studies since joining the Sixth Form, and their response to the challenges posed by this year has been admirable.”

At Archbishop Holgate's CE School, head, Andrew Daly, said: "Whilst students should be extremely proud of their excellent academic achievements, the measure of their success and development goes well beyond this: both individually and collectively, they have consistently embodied the school values and have been excellent role models for the rest of the school community."

All Saints RC head, Sharon Keelan-Beardsley, said: "We are very proud of how our students and staff have responded to the challenges faced over the last few months. This year we have a record number of 10 students who have received Oxbridge places."

At Huntington head, John Tomsett, said: “Our young people have earned these excellent results after 13 years of hard work. The fact that the last three months were interrupted by the pandemic is immaterial to me. It has been a tough, uncertain time for many of us. I want our students to begin the next stage of their lives in the knowledge their results are utterly well-deserved."