Against a chaotic backdrop of exam cancellations and changing guidance on grading, it is pleasing that the vast majority of our pupils received the grades they rightly deserved. Our own process for deciding Centre Assessed Grades was rigorous and realistic, allowing for holistic professional judgements that placed the individual at the centre of our thinking. We are delighted that the pupils’ potential and our teachers’ efforts were reflected in the final outcomes for two strong cohorts studying either the IBDP or A Levels in the Sixth Form or (I)GCSEs in the Fifth Form.

Throughout almost the entirety of the summer, outgoing Director of IB Kirstie Parker worked tirelessly to ensure pupils were awarded the scores (out of 45) they deserved, as has been characteristic throughout her outstanding leadership of the IB since 2015. Kirstie rarely gave the IBO a break, advocating tirelessly for pupils. We will never know for sure but it is people like Kirstie who will have forced the IBO to pause, think and reassess their position which ultimately saw a number of pupils access higher scores as a result of the coursework they completed.

At the end of a difficult period, Bradfield pupils returned an average of 36 points. This equalled the College’s record to date albeit our own internal forecasts suggested that had pupils sat exams in May they were very likely to surpass this. Nevertheless, 36 points is significantly higher than the worldwide average of 30 points. Nearly a quarter of the cohort secured 39 points whilst 84% of pupils scored between 5 and 7 points in all of their subjects. Well over three quarters of IB pupils had their places confirmed at either their first or second choice university, leaving to read everything from Biochemistry to Business Management. Edinburgh, Imperial, St Andrew’s and Durham were the favoured UK institutions this year while overseas destinations include McGill in Canada and The University of California, Los Angeles.

Mirroring the successes of the IB group, 90% of our A Level pupils gained places at their first or second choice universities. A strong, ambitious cohort left the College this summer with over three quarters of grades between A* – B.

The most common university destinations for this year’s leavers are: Exeter (10); Nottingham (8); Edinburgh (8); Newcastle (11); Nottingham Trent (8); Cardiff (7); Bristol (6); Oxford Brookes (6); Durham (5); Loughborough (5); Sussex (5); Leeds (4); Warwick (3); Kent (3); King’s College London (3). This year three pupils left to read Medicine, one to study Neuroscience, one Nursing and another into Osteopathy – a good representation of healthcare professions. International destinations include Boston, IE Madrid, McGill, Montana, Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, St. Gallen, Wake Forest, Union College, UC San Diego and UCLA.

Our Leavers of 2020 had a torrid time following cancelled examinations in March, months of speculation around grades, and most recently the bruising experience of algorithm-generated grades. The way that they have conducted themselves throughout this period therefore is testament to their individual and collective character.

This year’s entrants into the Sixth Form proved to be one of the strongest year groups ever at GCSE. Impressively, over two-thirds of GCSE grades awarded to this cohort were graded 9 – 7.

Bradfield’s process for deciding on Centre Assessed Grades for last year’s Fifth Form (and A Level pupils) was one rooted in integrity, guided by the parameters laid down by OFQUAL in the spring but centred on the individual. Having had control of their own destiny taken from them with the cancellation of public examinations in March, we know the year group will be hungry to prove by themselves – for themselves – just what they are capable of in their chosen A Level or IBDP courses.