Logo

Families brand Camden sixth form’s strict new A-level criteria as ‘madness’

PUBLISHED: 08:00 29 August 2014

Malcolm Wilson is one of many parents and family member who oppose the plans

Malcolm Wilson is one of many parents and family member who oppose the plans

Archant

Camden’s biggest sixth-form is facing a backlash over moves to bring in stricter A-level entry requirements after concerned families described the plans as “madness”.

Poll results

We asked online readers should La Swap tighten GCSE entry requirements in face of ‘tougher’ A-levels?

Yes 53 per cent

No 41 per cent

Undecided 6 per cent

La Swap sixth form consortium announced last week that pupils will need to achieve mostly B grades at GCSE as a minimum requirement to get a place to study A-levels from 2015.

Some families are outraged at plans which they say are purely motivated by a desire to improve the sixth form’s league table standing. La Swap insists the decision was made to ensure all its pupils are able to cope with increasingly harder A-levels, seen to be a result of government exam reforms.

Teacher Malcolm Wilson won firsts in two university degrees but said he would not have gained a place at La Swap based on his “mediocre” O-level grades. The 50-year-old will teach at a Hampstead primary from September, but asked that the school should not be named.

“I’d hope that heads of sixth forms would look for potential beyond grades, talk to the pupils and talk to their teachers in order to find out if these young people can excel, and by excelling I don’t just mean a nice set of A*s at A-level to enhance their place in league tables,” said the father-of-one, of Chorley Wood, Hertfordshire.

Prospective students at La Swap, made up of four Camden state secondaries, were previously able to get C grades at GCSE to sit three A-levels, and a mixture of B and C grades to sit four. From next year pupils will need to achieve mostly B grades at GCSE.

Sally Mothoni, 32, of Camden Town, is one of a number of concerned family members who fear the new policy will push out children whose parents can’t afford private tutors.

Ms Mothoni, whose two cousins attend Acland Burghley in Tufnell Park and William Ellis in Parliament Hill, both of which feed into La Swap, said: “We don’t want another Islington, full of gangs and teenagers with nothing to do. Camden is over that.

“In the league tables La Swap will have 100 per cent because private school children will study there. But it’s not fair on the local residents.”

Stricter entry requirements at La Swap are already in place for September’s A-level students. Pupils risk losing their place for September if they missed out on a C grade in English language or mathematics.

The school say the changes were made in the face of the A-level reforms, which will see students sit all exams at the end of a two-year course from 2015.

Headteacher Sam White said: “We don’t want people to fail. A-levels have become even more demanding.

“It’s not that we don’t want less academic students in La Swap. We are still offering courses for all students. We have got some entry requirements which we are holding to more firmly, and keeping them under review.”

Latest Hampstead & Highgate education news

Student, 17, debates Hornsey and Wood Green MP Catherine West on Brexit

A devoted remain MP was quizzed this week by a young Brexiteer during a politics summer school.

Q and A: South Hampstead High School headteacher Vicky Bingham

We spoke to Vicky Bingham about why she loves being headteacher of South Hampstead High School.

Campaign group formed to defend schools from education cuts hails impact of Camden and Haringey parents and teachers

A campaign group formed to defend schools from education cuts has hailed the impact of parents and teachers in forcing the government to better protect funding for students across Camden and Haringey.

Haringey families set to descend on Parliament Square for mass ‘protest picnic’ against school funding cuts

Parents are set to descend on Parliament Square on Sunday for a mass ‘picnic protest’ against school funding cuts.

Channing School headteacher conquers fears and raises £45,000 with skydive from 12,000 feet

The sky is the limit for the headteacher of an independent girls’ school who faced her ultimate fear.

Highgate School student has leadership skills tested as he takes on being headteacher for day

A Year 8 had his leadership skills tested after winning a competition to be Highgate School’s headteacher for the day.

Roll up, roll up: Highgate School summer fair kicks into gear

The Highgate School summer fair is kicking into gear on Saturday and the organisers reckon it is going to be the best one yet.

American School in London hoping to provide youngsters with summer of lifetime once again

Providing youngsters with the summer of a lifetime is the motivation for a St John’s Wood school which has been putting on camps for more than a quarter of a century.

Swiss Cottage School is one of country’s best after sixth consecutive ‘outstanding’ Ofsted

Swiss Cottage School has become one of a handful of schools to be given an “outstanding” Ofsted rating for the sixth time in a row.

Former refugees reunite at Chalk Farm school where they met

Two women who arrived in the UK as refugees have returned to the school where they became friends.

Students ditch smartphones and go back to basics in pioneering King Alfred School project

For one week in the summer term, 50 King Alfred School students camp outdoors with six teachers and form their own community.

Highgate Wood School, Fortismere School, Greig City Academy and Hornsey School for Girls star in Haringey awards ceremony

The future is bright in Haringey after a stellar array of school role models were celebrated.

What art education decline? Highgate School students pull off stellar exhibition

Despite widespread fears that art education is in decline, students at Highgate School have shown that there is plenty of appetite for the subject after a stellar exhibition.

From basketball star to debating champion: Haringey high achievers set for Jack Petchey awards

A basketball superstar, champion of debating and teenage interpreter are just some of the characters being rewarded for achieving great things in Haringey this year.

Concerns grow over Muswell Hill Library’s future

Suspicions a much-loved public library could be moved have led to anxiety for its supporters.

Q and A: The Cavendish School headteacher Jane Rogers

In our latest question and answer feature for Ham&High Education, we interviewed The Cavendish School headteacher Jane Rogers.

Teenager dies after being found unresponsive at Hampstead Garden Suburb school

A teenage girl has died after being found unresponsive at her school.

Hampstead child psychiatrist pens parental guide to help build kids’ self-esteem

A child psychiatrist believes that having conversations with your children from a young age is vital in building their self-esteem.

Time running out to bid on your favourite from the Camden School for Girls anonymous art competition

Time is running out to bid on the Camden School for Girls anonymous art auction.

New headteacher determined to lead Portland Place School into new era

A new headteacher has taken up his position at the helm of Portland Place School.

Frank Barnes School rides wave of transition and bags another ‘outstanding’ Ofsted

A Camden school for deaf children has been rated “outstanding” by Ofsted once again, despite moving to a new site and losing a long-serving headteacher in the space of a year.

Placard-wielding Haringey families protest against funding cuts at Highgate Wood and Alexandra Park

Placard-wielding families have ramped up the pressure on campaigning politicians with a series of protests across Haringey’s parks.

Highgate Library ‘being sacrificed’ in possible move to Jacksons Lane

The introduction of plans to relocate a 110-year-old library to a nearby arts centre has been met with resistance by users.

Army of Muswell Hill Primary School students, parents and teachers take on Highgate Woods charity walk

An army of schoolchildren, staff and parents have raised £2,000 by taking part in a sponsored walk around Highgate Woods.

Portland Place School students share social media expertise with Victoria Derbyshire on BBC show

A trio of Portland Place School pupils were invited to the BBC to share their expertise on social media.

Fears grow in Highgate over 110-year-old library’s future home

Visitors to a library which could move from its Highgate home after 110 years have called for a rethink.

Woodside High School working with Muswell Hill energy group to install solar panels on sports hall roof

Woodside High School is working with a Muswell Hill energy group to put up solar panels in a bid to save around £63,000 in electricity bills over the next 20 years.

Camden protest assembly in response to funding cuts cancelled after Manchester Arena attack

A Camden ‘big assembly’ scheduled to take place this afternoon in response to funding education cuts has been cancelled in the wake of last night’s attack in Manchester.

Camden and Haringey parents descend on parks for protest assemblies against school funding cuts

Camden and Haringey parents are descending on parks this week for protest picnics and assemblies against school funding cuts.

Funding, academies and SATs: Haringey politicians debate education issues at St Mary’s Primary School in Hornsey

Funding for education in Haringey came under the spotlight last night as politicians, teachers and parents came together for a ‘question time’ style debate in the run up to the General Election.

Inspirational Highgate Wood sociology teacher lauded by high-flying ex-students at Oxford University

A Crouch End secondary school teacher has been honoured by Oxford University for the inspirational role he played for two of his former students.

Heartlands High School staff and students take on River Thames challenge ahead of trip to Ghana

An army of 115 staff and students from a Wood Green school have completed a 26-mile walk along the River Thames.

Michael Gove debates Brexit at South Hampstead High School

In the run up to the General Election a former leadership candidate for the Conservative party took to the stage at South Hampstead High School for a lively debate with students.

Can you answer these SATs exam questions designed for 11-year-olds?

Hundreds of 11-year-old students across Camden, Barnet and Haringey sat their SATs exams last week - but how would you fare?

Politicians to be quizzed about funding cuts at St Mary’s Primary School in Hornsey

Politicians are set to be quizzed on funding cuts to schools across Haringey in a series of Question Time style evenings.

Highgate School considering ‘gender neutral’ uniforms as students question identity

Highgate School is considering bringing in ‘gender neutral’ uniforms in response to students questioning their identity.

Hasmonean High School, Islamia Girls’ School and UCL Academy come together for inter-faith programme

Students from different backgrounds have been brought together in a programme designed to empower teenage girls.

Campaign at Camden School for Girls launched to promote music education for young people

A campaign to raise awareness of the importance of music education for children is hitting all the right notes.

Crouch End social enterprise sees homeless people getting creative ahead of King’s Cross photography exhibition

A photography exhibition is opening up in King’s Cross on Friday featuring work by homeless people living in hostels across north London.

Fleet-footed Eden Primary School students gearing up for Crouch End fun run

The benefits are endless for a group of fleet-footed youngsters taking part in running sessions before school.

Headteacher of ‘outstanding’ Fortismere School resigns

The headteacher of a Muswell Hill state school which has established itself as one of the best in the country has announced that she will be resigning at the end of the summer term.

Fortismere School determined to play pivotal role in supporting students struggling with mental health

A Muswell Hill school is pulling out all the stops to ensure it plays a pivotal role in supporting students who are struggling with their mental health.

Argyle Primary School students take to stage with cast members of STOMP at Ambassadors Theatre

Camden children took to the stage today with the cast of hit production STOMP as part of a campaign to encourage exercise across the borough.

Camden teachers cycling length of wall that divides Palestinian West Bank and Israel

A group of Camden teachers have challenged themselves to cycle the length of the separation wall that divides the Palestinian West Bank from Israel.

Headteacher lauds staff and students at Hornsey School for Girls following Ofsted report

A headteacher has lauded her staff and students after the latest Ofsted inspection at Hornsey School for Girls.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

2017 © Archant Community Media Ltd

Terms and conditions | Cookie policy | Jobs at Archant