‘Resilient’ students ‘wholeheartedly deserve’ improved grades, says Westminster headteacher

The Westminster Academy Class of 2020, before social distancing measures. Picture: Westminster Acade

The Westminster Academy Class of 2020, before social distancing measures. Picture: Westminster Academy - Credit: Archant

A Westminster school’s headteacher has praised the “resilience” of her students after they were awarded improved grades “which they wholeheartedly deserve”.

Westminster Academy, in Harrow Road, saw the results of its International Baccalaureate (IB) students lifted on Tuesday (July 17).

On the day the government U-turned so that GCSE and A-Level results were bumped up in line with teachers’ estimates – rather than an algorithm – IB results were also boosted.

Westminster Academy’s principal, Dr Saima Rana, said: “This cohort of students is among the most resilient I have ever encountered.

“After seven years of Key Stage 4 and 5 education, to lose the chance to showcase their knowledge in an examination is a huge disappointment, yet these students have never complained; they have continued to stretch themselves through their online classes, remain positive through enrichment activities and have even mentored our younger students online while the building has been closed.

“I am extremely proud of their success in these exams and wish them the very best with the exciting university courses, apprenticeships or careers they wholeheartedly deserve.”

Westminster Academy’s IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) students scored 36.25 points on average – surpassing the 2019 IBDP average of 29.65.

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Chaima Ouahil, a Westminster Academy pupil, said: “I’ve spent more time at school than at home over the last few years and it’s going to be really difficult to move on.

“I wasn’t expecting my results to turn out quite as well as they did so I’m really happy and really grateful for the efforts of all of my teachers.”

Chaima, who speaks five languages, will now take up her place at King’s College London to study international relations.

Following the government’s U-turn, Harrow Road councillor Tim Roca criticised Whitehall’s slowness to act, challenging why the decision on A-Level and GCSE grades wasn’t taken sooner.

Cllr Roca said: “The government must act immediately to restore the confidence of young people, parents, and teachers.

“Universities must honour offers to students as grades are revised and government must provide the funding needed to do so, and ensure that no student is treated unfairly as a result of this fiasco.”