Hatfield school investigates concerns over GCSE science grades

Onslow St Audrey's headteacher Michael Harpham.

Onslow St Audrey's headteacher Michael Harpham. - Credit: Archant

A Hatfield school is investigating GCSE results in double science following complaints that grades were dramatically lower than predicted.

According to figures shown to Onslow St Audrey’s pupils, around 90 per cent of the class failed the subject with a U despite many of them having been predicted much higher.

Two parents, both of whom wish to remain anonymous, have contacted the Welwyn Hatfield Times saying that their children believed much of the material in the exam papers had not been covered in class at all.

One pupil had achieved a BB in her mock exams and an A* in her coursework, but on results day got a DD.

This was the highest grade awarded in that class.

The pupil had needed at least a C to be able to continue onto her chosen subject at A-level.

“My daughter was horrified - she’s just hit rock bottom,” said the parent.

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“She revised so much. Lots of them did.

“I’m panicking and I know a lot of the other parents are panicking too.

“We don’t know where to turn.”

Another child achieved a B/C in the mock exams but got a U on results day.

Her mother said: “I know she worked hard because I revised with her.

“She came home from the exam and said there was nothing in the exam sheet that she had revised, which leads me to believe that they weren’t learning the right curriculum for the exam.”

Both parents called for an investigation into what happened.

“I’d like to either hear an apology or the fact that they’ll regrade the papers.

“An investigation is the least they can do,” said the mother.

Onslow St Audrey’s is an academy so is not regulated by Hertfordshire County Council.

In March this year, Ofsted gave the school an overall grade of “needs improvement”, with inspectors recognising that the school had recently been through a significant period of change.

The mother of the pupil who got a D says that the school has not yet given her child an answer on what action to take now.

“The school wasn’t any help on the day the results were put up,” she said.

“I’m just really concerned that the school is completely dropping the ball massively.”

Headteacher Mike Harpham said: “In the summer, our Sixth Form students enjoyed very successful results, with considerably more achieving the higher grades than in previous years, especially in BTEC qualifications.

“Similarly, our Year 11 students produced a number of success stories in their GCSEs.

“We had a 100% pass rate in the triple Science course with three students achieving two A’s and an A*, however, the achievement in the double Science award did not match the high standards we set of ourselves.

“As a result, we are now investigating these results.

“It would be inappropriate to comment until this process has been completed, but once it has, we will be taking the necessary steps to ensure all of our students achieve their full potential across the curriculum.”