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Havering Sixth Form announces review after students protest unjust grades

Parents and pupils gathered outside the college today to demonstrate against the A Level results (Credit: Julia Abazari)

Students have held a protest outside Havering Sixth Form College after their grades were allegedly downgraded “without justification”. 

Last week, hundreds of pupils studying maths, history, psychology and philosophy were left outraged after discovering their A Level results had been dropped by one or two grades by senior staff at New City College during the last stage of moderation. 

They have held multiple protests outside the college calling for their results to be reverted to either their predicted grades or teacher assessed grades. 

Havering Sixth Form College said it has extended the deadline for students to use its appeal process by one week. 

“Any student who feels that they have been awarded the wrong grade really must alert the college through our appeals process to make sure of a quick and efficient resolution,” said a spokesperson for the college. 

“In subject areas where higher numbers of students are questioning their grades, the group will be reviewed.”

Julia Abazari, 18, from Dagenham, was predicted three As but given two Cs in philosophy and history. 

“In my final exams, I achieved 165/200 and 85/100 for history,” said Julia. 

“Against the official Edexcel grade boundaries, I achieved an A, but the school is adamant my grade is a C.” 

Matthew Cornish, 18, from Hornchurch, explained no one in his philosophy class got an A and only one person was given a B despite many of them getting As and A*s in other subjects. 

“It makes no sense,” said Matthew. “Even if you’re doing a normal distribution curve there is at least one A*, a few As, majorly Bs and Cs, and a few Ds. 

“At the end of the day, we’ve got one person who has got a B and the rest who are normally working at an A level are suddenly being given C grades which makes no sense.”

Julia explained how she thinks this happened: “The leadership team at New City College decided there were too many As, or the grades were inflated, and without looking at any student profiles, without discussing it with the teachers, reduced the grades a couple of days before. 

“The teachers weren’t aware the grades were changed so you can imagine the angry emails they got and that’s when everyone realised what happened.” 

Julia has missed out on a chance to go to her first choice of university which was the London School of Economics. She may also not be able to go to her second option, the University of Exeter, if the appeal process does not work quickly enough. 

Matthew will also not be able to go to his first choice, the University of Birmingham, and may have to fall back on his second choice. 

He explained there is currently a major problem with the appeal process as it forces students to prove their results are inaccurate. 

“We don’t have the data,” continued Matthew. “They didn’t tell us what we got in our March exams, they didn’t tell us what we got in our May exams. They haven’t shown us the papers, they haven’t shown us what our teacher said. 

“I’ve asked for a subject access request but it is going to take 30 days. The closure time for my university to accept my appeal is Tuesday, 31 of August. That is two weeks away. I don’t have 30 days.

“They’re dragging their feet and it’s going to cost people grades. How am I meant to argue my case when I have no evidence and nothing to back me?” 

Both Julia and Matthew believe there should be a “rewind” to either their predicted grades or teacher assessed grades.

They are concerned universities will believe their C grades are inflated due to the national increase in A Level results when the opposite is actually true in their case. 

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