The Headmistress of Benenden School has congratulated this year’s A Level students for achieving a strong set of results despite two years of disruption.
A Level exams were once again cancelled across the UK due to the pandemic. Instead, students’ results have been determined by their schools based on evidence and internal assessments.
Headmistress Samantha Price said: “The students have thoroughly deserved these excellent grades. We always knew this was a strong year group who were likely to perform very well and pupils achieved the grades we would have expected.
“Nevertheless, it has been a very difficult two years for them; their entire A Level experience has been affected by the pandemic, although undeniably the fact that they were able to have a sustained education throughout – either online or in person – has certainly enabled them to achieve these results.
“Everybody should be very proud of their results and we must not let any controversy about this year’s results dilute the fact that these students have been able to achieve excellent grades against an extremely challenging backdrop.”
The system of awarding grades has been criticised this year for leading to higher grades across the country but Mrs Price said that at Benenden, the process had been extremely robust.
She said: “Our pupils went through a rigorous internal assessment process, which included judging each pupil on a selection of their coursework, class assessments and previous test performances in addition to sitting formal assessments in the Spring and Summer to gauge the level students were currently performing at.
“Even though public exams were cancelled, we wanted our students to go through that assessment process to give teachers as much information as possible on each individual’s skills and knowledge.
“It has been an incredibly robust and time-consuming approach and I would like to thank the teaching staff for the very careful and rigorous process they followed to award students grades and of course the students themselves for their sustained focus throughout this extraordinary year of disruption and uncertainty.”
As ever, among the statistics there were some wonderful individual success stories. Our top performer was Freya Ridgwell who earned four A* grades and an A.
Eighteen other students achieved clean sweeps of A* grades across the board, with 16 of these leaving Benenden with four A Levels at A*.
Benenden students are now off to leading universities around the world, with UK destinations including Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, Durham and Edinburgh. International courses are always popular at Benenden, with destinations this year including Yale, Stanford, NYU, Cornell, Columbia and one student will be embarking on the Dual BA Program between Trinity College Dublin and Columbia University.
Benenden has provided a comprehensive remote learning service for students during the pandemic. Every lesson went ahead, with all students joining remotely during nationwide lockdowns, and even when students returned to School many subjects continued to be taught in a hybrid manner, with some students present in the lesson and others joining remotely from overseas.
During the Summer Term, when public exams would normally be taking place, Benenden organised a special learning programme for the GCSE and A Level year groups. This programme involved academic sessions, practical courses, vocational qualifications and a programme of lectures.
The highlights included students acquiring skills in coding, car maintenance, nannying and childcare, bar and barista training, telethon calling, mindfulness, First Aid, sign language, food hygiene and undertaking a dissertation-style Extended Project.