Deputy Mayor Bramble and Mayor Glanville visited students at BSix College today.
Photograph: Hackney Council

Hackney’s education chief has paid tribute to pupils who collected their A-level results today amid national concern over the way this year’s grades have been handled.

With exams cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, students’ results were produced by a computer algorithm which took into account factors such as their predicted grades and their school’s past performance.

However, many have been left disappointed after figures showed around 40 per cent of grades fell below teachers’ predictions.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended the process earlier today, calling it “robust”.

But Richard Brown, headteacher at local Urswick School, said: “I fear that exam boards have concentrated too much on looking at historical
data and so have got themselves into a muddle.”

Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Hackney’s deputy mayor and cabinet member for education, said the council is keeping an eye on developments.

She added: “This has been a really difficult time and I know that a lot of students may be feeling a mixture of emotions today. We share national concerns about some of this year’s outcomes and we are monitoring the situation.

“I’d urge anyone who needs support to speak to their teachers, an adviser from Prospects or our Hackney Works team, who are all ready to help and advise them.”

Despite the challenging circumstances, there were some fantastic achievements from students in the borough.

BSix College’s Mia Clarke is off to study history at Oxford after gaining A*AA.

She said: “I only got three GCSEs studying in the Pupil Referral Unit, so today I feel very happy. I was worried recently but now I can relax until I start.

“I want to have a career to do with diplomacy like in the United Nations, because my family comes from former Yugoslavia so it’s something I have always found quite interesting.”

Cardinal Pole student Helena Boateng achieved AAA to earn a place at Cambridge, with fellow pupil Joel Owusu-Ansah securing A*A*B and heading to Kent to study medicine.

Anisa Zaman from Clapton Girls’ Academy was delighted with her A*A*A, which saw her win a place at London School of Economics to study geography.

She said: “We’ve been waiting since March for these results and the anticipation has definitely been building. Last week was really tough. I’m so happy just to have the results now.”

Cllr Bramble, who visited BSix College today with Mayor Philip Glanville, added: “I could not be more proud of the young people in Hackney receiving their results. They have shown incredible resilience over the last few months in incredibly challenging circumstances, and whatever they go on to do next, I want to congratulate them and wish each and every one of them success for the future.

“I’d like to thank our teaching staff, who have worked so hard to support pupils and also to provide their predicted grades. I’d also like to thank families who have supported young people during these unprecedented times.”

The council says schools and colleges are continuing to provide support and advice about careers and higher education, and that students should contact their school if they have questions about their results or their future plans. 

Young Hackney is hosting its annual Summer Careers Festival on Friday 21 August, where young people will be able to access free expert advice and guidance, and speak to professional careers advisers from Prospects. Local colleges and training providers will also be on hand to talk about the opportunities they are offering.

The festival will be a combination of face-to-face and virtual sessions.

For more information, visit younghackney.org/summer-careers-festival

For details about opportunities and training, head to hackneyworks.hackney.gov.uk

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