September 21


Our students’ stellar exam results this summer are even more astonishing in this context…

Talk in the media ahead of results days predicted that grades across the board were going to be lower than last year. After Covid grade inflation, the regulator wanted to get things back under control nationally. We were being prepared to expect a shock and independent schools were under particular scrutiny.  

And yet amazingly, our students achieved higher grades in this summer’s exams than they would have elsewhere: statistically, our students achieved at least a grade higher in more than two thirds of their GCSEs.  

The power to decide GCSE and A Level grades in 2020 and 2021 was put into the hands of schools. It may be tempting to believe that, when given this sudden unexpected power, schools simply did favours for their own students and inflated their grades. That was not necessarily the case, and certainly at Blackheath High we were fair, honest and scrupulous throughout. 

Should our grades have been even higher in those years? Did our students keep up with their competitors elsewhere? In 2020 and 2021, we asked students to focus on what is always the actual purpose of those qualifications: to allow students to progress to the next stage of their education. As it turned out, we saw greater numbers of top grades in those years, and our students also went on to their first-choice universities in record numbers. So yes, we did the best for them and those cohorts did not suffer. 

But more than that: because our grades had not been over-inflated during the pandemic, we had looked after our 2022 cohort as well. We knew that exams were always going to return at some point, and we wanted to maintain as much dependability and consistency as possible throughout the pandemic and beyond. This summer, grades were lowered nationally to half-way back to pre-pandemic levels, but our students’ grades were record-breaking. Our A Level cohort achieved grades A*-B at a rate which equalled our school’s highest ever; and our GCSE cohort achieved more grade 9s than in any previous year either with or without exams. 

Our students succeeded by focusing on what they needed to do, rather than focusing on the grades for their own sake. They reached their goals by maintaining the right momentum: concentrating on the steps they needed to take next and the pace they needed to maintain. This is always the way to succeed in learning, whatever the end assessment looks like. 

Visit our Results page on the website to read more about the fantastic grades our students achieved. 

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