New science teachers appointed after Hatfield School GCSE investigation

Onslow St Audrey's School in Hatfield.

Onslow St Audrey's School in Hatfield. - Credit: Archant

After disappointing double science GCSE results this summer, Onslow St Audrey’s school has appointed a new head and deputy head of science.

Michael Harpham, headteacher at Onslow St Audrey's School. Picture: Supplied by Onslow St Audrey's S

Michael Harpham, headteacher at Onslow St Audrey's School. Picture: Supplied by Onslow St Audrey's School - Credit: supplied by Onslow St Audrey's School

On results day this year, pupils taking Combined Science walked away with grades that were dramatically lower than they had been predicted.

According to figures shown to the pupils, 90 per cent of the class got a U, despite many of them having much higher predictions.

The highest grade achieved in the class was a DD, when the pupil had achieved an A* in their coursework and had been predicted a BB.

Two concerned parents 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.

Onslow St Audrey's School in Hatfield

Onslow St Audrey's School in Hatfield - Credit: Archant

The school also launched an investigation.

READ MORE: Hatfield school investigates concerns over GCSE science grades

In response to enquiries about the progress of the investigation, headteacher Michael Harpham said: “Following this summer’s GCSE results, an investigation was carried out into our Combined Science performance.

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“This highlighted concerns over the leadership and management and we have acted immediately to address them.

“A new interim head and deputy head of science have been appointed.

“They have taken all of the necessary steps to ensure that this year’s Key Stage 4 students, on the Combined Science course, are on track to achieve their target grades.”

Mr Harpham also later clarified that the previous head of science left by mutual agreement, and he confirmed that the correct syllabus had been taught.

Responding to the question of whether the pupils would be able to re-sit the exam, Mr Harpham said: “Unfortunately the structure of the system doesn’t allow for this to happen.”

One mother, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Welwyn Hatfield Times that her daughter achieved one of the highest grades in the class getting a DE, saying “it was really disappointing for her.”

At the time, she had considered hiring a tutor for her daughter for science, but her last grade prediction of a BC reassured the family.

She had not heard from the school about the results of the investigation.

When she was told the outcome, she said: “How come there was virtually no-one in the year that passed?

“They’ve replaced the tutor, and that’s great for this year’s Year 11s, but it doesn’t do anything for last year’s.”

Double science is the only subject that raised questions at the school, with 100 per cent of triple science pupils gaining a pass and 20 per cent of all pupils gaining a grade 5 (the equivalent to the old grade C) in maths and English.

Onslow St Audrey’s is an academy school so is regulated by the Onslow St Audrey’s Academy Trust, not Hertfordshire County Council.