• Tue. May 21st, 2024

Pictures from GCSE results day 2022 at Cheney School and St Gregory the Great


Aug 25, 2022

In a world of leaderboards and league tables, Rob Pavey is a breath of fresh air.

For the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Department for Education will publish its school league tables based on this summer’s GCSE results.

That decision proved unpopular with some headteachers, with the Association of School and College Leaders saying four in five polled earlier this year were against the move – citing the two years of disruption that had been faced by the GCSE class of ’22.

Mr Pavey, headteacher at Cheney School, was more sanguine.

“I just don’t care,” the teacher of two-decades told the Oxford Mail.

“The national league tables will say what they say. Everybody looking at them knows this is the first set of exams after two years.

“The point is the kids have come through this [pandemic] unscathed, with no significant learning loss and they’re going on to the right next steps – and where they would have gone anyway.”

Unlike the Year 11 cohorts of the past two years, the 271 pupils undertaking their GCSEs at Cheney School in 2022 faced the traditional exam season – rather than receiving teacher-assessed grades.

Reflecting on the school’s performance, Mr Pavey said: “They are very similar to the A-levels. In other words they are totally sensible and the grade boundaries have done a pretty good job in mitigating the disruption of the last two years. They are as they should be, and they allow the kids to go on to the right next steps.”

Asked what message he has for Cheney’s class of ’22, the headteacher said: “Everything is absolutely fine. You’ve seen that if you keep your head and are sensible, things work out.”

Down the hill and across the Cowley Road, pupils at St Gregory the Great Catholic School – now named Greyfriars – were celebrating with their friends.

Jadon Otim, 16, received a starred distinction in business studies. He has hopes of going on to study medicine. “I want to help people in the world,” he told the Oxford Mail.

Serena Sotgiu, also 16, was yet to open her envelope – nervous about what it might contain. “Hopefully, I want to do forensic science,” she said of her plans for the future. “I just find it interesting – and I love solving crimes.”

The youngsters’ headteacher, Lyndsey Caldwell, was busy welcoming her pupils at the front doors to the cavernous sports hall where the teenagers were picking up the envelope containing their grades.

“It’s my first results as head teacher here. I’m so pleased that they’ve had the opportunity sit [exams in person] and go through that process. It’s a better process than the last two years,” she said – adding that she was ‘so proud’ of the pupils.

“I love teaching. I think teaching is the best job in the world.”

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward