Probe launched into free school’s exam results

Atherton Community School

Atherton Community School

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WIGAN borough’s first free school has launched an investigation after poor exam results over the summer.

A number of parents lodged complaints about their children’s unexpectedly low AS grades that they gained at Atherton Community School which has now agreed to look into the marking and determine what went wrong.

While the school produced some good A-level results, with 94.1 per cent of exams producing A* to C grades, and a massive 70.6 per cent being A* or A, some pupils achieved results worse than anticipated in the external exams set for the lower sixth.

In a statement released on its website, a spokesman for the school, which was formed with just year seven students in September 2012 and a sixth form that opened in 2013 following the closure of the state-run Hesketh Fletcher High School, defended its achievements.

The statement read: “We acknowledge the frustration of the students and their parents, and deeply regret any disparity between the predicted grades and actual results.

“However, the excellent work of the staff, the high standards of the school, or the outstanding results achieved by many pupils in this year’s exams must be noted.

“Although it appears that some pupils did achieve results lower than anticipated in the AS level exams, others actually attained the predicted grades or even above.

“It also needs to be said that the school has a good track record in working with students who have disappointing AS level exams and bringing them to the point where they achieve good grades in their subsequent A-level exams.

“Nonetheless, we take very seriously the disappointment expressed.”

Chairman of governors Chick Yuill said: “I have set up an immediate and thorough internal investigation into the alleged discrepancies between predicted grades and actual results.

“We will use this as an opportunity to improve and refine our systems and practices to ensure that we always give our students the highest quality teaching and learning experience.”

And executive principal Elizabeth Haddock added: “We remain committed to offering a high-quality Sixth Form experience and look forward to welcoming students when the new term begins.”