One of the south west’s fastest improving schools again celebrates excellent results but many students fall victim to unfair grading algorithm

By Jill Dando News

The King Alfred School Academy in Highbridge, Somerset has again produced excellent A Level results, with over 75% achieving A*-C grades, two years after its new leadership took the reins.

TKASA’s popular sixth form has now doubled in size due to its success and this year has again seen an improvement on its overall grades as well as some staggeringly brilliant individual stories.

This year Kirsty Atwell gained four A* grades and 1 A – one of the highest achievements in the country.

Anya Butler achieved 3 A* grades, and is now heading to her dream place at Oxford University.

We have seen some incredible results. Overall, it is a very positive day for the school. Over 75% achieved A*-C grades.”

Principal Nathan Jenkins

But amid huge national controversy about a new national algorithm designed to assess student performance, the academy fell victim to computer-based predictions based on statistics from three years ago – before the new leadership.

Thousands of pupils in across the country have had their A-level results downgraded from teacher estimates, after exams were cancelled because of the coronavirus.

The government decided instead to use a complicated computer algorithm tocalculate the grades – which penalises schools which have improved significantly such as TKASA.

The Academy today has already spent hours phoning universities and other places, as well as lodging appeals for numerous students who have been downgraded significant number of grades.

Principal Nathan Jenkins said: “We have seen some incredible results. Overall, it is a very positive day for the school. Over 75% achieved A*-C grades.

“It is disappointing that some students have been downgraded and in some cases over multiple grades. It has been very difficult for these students when they have not had the chance to show what they are capable of in their exams.

“However we have support at the school for those students that need it and the school will be appealing any grades than don’t appear to be accurate and the students feel are unfair.”

He added: “Overall this is an incredibly able year group and the results should be high, based on their abilities. However the system and some of the results recorded does not reflect this and we feel that some students have been disadvantaged through this system.

Katie Robinson said: “I could have done better but I am so pleased to be going to Cardiff Uni to study history. I got A B B. It was my second choice but I am happy and looking forward to starting there.”

Kirsty Atwell said: “I am so happy. I got 4 A* and 1 A. My favourite subject is art and I love the graphic design side.”

TKASA is an inspirational academy run by The Priory Learning Trust.