All 18 pupils in the top set for GCSE Mathematics gained A* and A grades in their examinations taken in March. They are now studying for Additional Mathematics which provides an excellent foundation for A-level. Particular congratulations must go to Sean Cuddihy, Alex Hancock and Winnie Lei for achieving the three highest grades overall. Along with many of their classmates, they will go on to achieve the top A* grade at A-level.
|Pelayo Martinez Garcia-Maurino||372||A*|
Thank you to everyone out there who has sent me encouraging feedback over the Headmaster’s blog and I thank you in advance for your continued support!
A small number of parents have asked why the Royal Hospital School has not submitted public examination results to media league tables. It’s interesting to note that the number of schools choosing not to submit has been rising year on year to around 30% of ISC (Independent Schools Council) schools. When asked the question, more than two thirds of members of the Headmasters’ & Headmistress’ Conference (HMC) representing the most prestigious independent schools, said they were in favour of the ultimate abolition of the league tables. Whilst I understand the point of view of many parents being given the choice as to whether they wish to consult these tables and compare schools like for like, I feel that I should outline why we have made this decision.
Firstly, as is the case with many boarding schools, the Royal Hospital School is not highly selective in terms of its entry requirements; which means that we have a mixed ability cohort taking examinations. I feel quite strongly that it is unfair to compare our pupils who have achieved their own personal best, with the headline results of very highly selective schools. We pride ourselves on educating the whole person and do not wish to be compared to exam factories that do not challenge the most able or realise the potential of every pupil. That is why the currency by which we measure academic success is value added. For the record, it is interesting to note that Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has already muted the notion of having value added league tables. This is an initiative which I would fully support!
Furthermore, the accuracy of marking, and recent changes to grade boundaries, has resulted in a great deal of re-marking taking place and the results originally submitted and published are undoubtedly going to change for many schools, including RHS.
As you know, it is my aim to unlock the potential of every child at the Royal Hospital School, no matter what their ability. In order to do so, they must be looked at as an individual rather than as part of an overall statistic. Whilst one pupil may achieve a whole clutch of As and A*s, another will have done equally well for him or herself for achieving 5 Cs and a B grade.
The former school teacher and novelist, Alan Judd, wrote a very interesting article in Friday’s Telegraph in which he asserted that; whilst Michael Gove is to be commended for attempting to restore rigour and integrity to our discredited examination system, he also needs to address modern marking methods. The massive expansion of children sitting public examinations has meant that there has needed to be a larger number of examiners to mark and increased number of papers. It is interesting to note that when I started teaching, in order to be considered to become an exam board marker, you had to have had five years of A level teaching experience under your belt. However, in this modern era, most markers are young teachers; the requirement now being that they only have to have spent three terms teaching in the past three years with a degree or teaching qualification in the subject they are examining, to qualify for consideration for exam board marking.
Having been an examiner myself, I have long since argued that the dumbing down of our examination system has had a lot to do with the exam boards’ desire to create assessment criteria for the convenience of those marking the papers and flawed marking criteria have contributed to the dumbing down of our exams system.
In Friday’s Telegraph article Alan Judd cites a case at Eton College where a brilliant History candidate achieved a mystifying U in his chosen subject. Tony Little, the Headmaster of Eton, sent this pupil’s papers to tutors at Oxford and Cambridge who graded it a high undergraduate standard. The paper was then returned and marked by the History teachers at Eton, according to the exam templates produced by the examination board, and found that the examiners were right; he had used the facts to construct an intelligent argument, but that didn’t count!
Unless examining regimes change, Michael Gove’s new English Baccalaureate Certificate will not restore integrity and rigour to our examinations system. Education certainly is a complicated business!
The Royal Hospital School is a coeducational boarding and day school for 11 to 18 years olds set in 200 acres of Suffolk countryside overlooking the River Stour. http://www.royalhospitalschool.org
Academic Scholar Alistair Green, who joined the Royal Hospital School in Year 7, has achieved an excellent set of grades; 9A*s and 2As as well as an A in the free-standing higher level maths qualification, Additional Maths.
Alistair’s family are based in Portsmouth and his father is a Commander in the Royal Navy. As a result of his father’s job, Alistair and his family have had to relocate many times, particularly, while Alistair was at primary school. Before joining the Royal Hospital School he had attended three schools in less than a year and that was the time that Alistair’s parents decided that this was both unsettling and disruptive to his education. The Royal Navy recognise this can be a problem for services families who need to move with their jobs and as a result they can help by way of an allowance which enables the children to go to boarding school providing continuity to their education.
The family chose the Royal Hospital School for the balanced and full education it provides and also for the excellent pastoral care providing a stable and a nurturing environment. With these exceptional results Alistair will go onto to study Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Music in the Sixth Form at the Royal Hospital School. Well done Alistair.
Other pupils who have performed particularly well are:
|Charles Wuidart Gray||A*A*AAAAABBB|
The Royal Hospital School is a coeducational Independent boarding and day school for 11 to 18 year olds set in 200 acres of Suffolk Countryside. http://www.royalhospitalschool.org/