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Re-sit students told they will not get their new exam grades

Private candidates using Hampstead School's 'exam centre' to miss out

29 May, 2020 — By Tom Foot

Hampstead School in West Hampstead

A-LEVEL retake students at a West Hampstead school have been told they will not be awarded grades this summer.

While this year’s sixth formers will get a grade based on teacher assessments and coursework after their exams were cancelled, those enrolled for re-sits at Hampstead School’s “exam centre” have been told a verdict cannot be fairly reached. Those coming back for another exam are regarded as “private” candidates, having left the school in Westbere Road but then agreed to come back to do re-sits.

In a letter to students, headteacher Jacques Szemalikowski’s letter said: “The key point is that I would need to have the same confidence in the centre assessment grade and rank order position of a private entry as for all other students. Having spoken with my colleagues, this is not possible or achievable. Therefore I regret that Hampstead School as a centre will not be able to submit any private entries what­so­ever for the Summer 2020 examination season.”

Shad Omar, one of the “private candidates” who have been told he will not be graded, has an offer to study at Sheffield University based on getting his grades. He said he had already sorted out the finance and accommodation.

Mr Omar, 19, said: “They are essentially saying they can’t rank me because I haven’t been at the school this year. But this is not what other exam centres are doing for private candidates. The guidance is open to interpretation.”

He added: “I’ve been at Hampstead since the age of 11. It’s not as if they don’t know me. I have a relationship of over seven years at the school.”

A statement from Ofqual, the national examinations office, said: “When we published our information document on April 3, we said that exam boards can issue calculated grades to private candidates for whom the head of an exam centre can confidently submit a centre assessment grade and include the student in their centre’s rank order.

“So that the grading process is fair, the head of centre must have the same level of confidence in the grade and rank order position as for all other students. It is vital all grades are determined using a robust and consistent process.”

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