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“Beacons among your peers, shining lights in society”: Headmaster sees a bright future for prize-winners at Senior Awards

Senior Awards is always an important event in the QE calendar, and, although arrangements for this year’s celebration were different because of the coronavirus, the unique situation did not make the achievements of the prize-winners any less significant, said Headmaster Neil Enright.

“Indeed, I would argue rather that it underlines them,” he told boys in the Main School Hall, adding: “We have gathered this afternoon, despite the challenges, because you are deserving of this recognition.”

Senior Awards was split into two ceremonies to enable year group bubbles to be maintained, with boys from Years 10–11 coming to the hall first, followed later by the Sixth Form. Because of Covid restrictions, it was not possible to invite parents, the whole staff and the VIP guests who normally attend.

Collectively, the boys received more than 140 separate prizes. In addition to subject awards and prizes for extra-curricular involvements such as debating & public speaking and chess in each year group, there were awards for the boy making the best overall contribution to his year.

There was also a large number of special prizes for particular areas – The Queen’s College, Oxford, Extended Project Awards, for example – while in the Sixth Form, 12 prizes were given this year for commitment & service and nine for leadership & involvement.

The prizegiving was interspersed with a number of musical interludes, with the music being performed by the School’s senior musicians.

In his address, the Headmaster told the audience of prize-winners and a small number of staff: “To be part of this select occasion is particular testament to your motivation, dedication and resilience over the past year. You have not just coped with the circumstances caused by the pandemic but have continued to thrive.”

He reflected on how much had changed since the last such ceremony at QE: “Looking back, it now seems utterly remarkable that our Senior Awards event in March of 2020 was in fact so normal, given the extraordinary situation that was about to unfold, and has continued to develop ever since. Both education and everyday life have been disrupted in a way not seen in our lifetimes.

“But, with increasing confidence, we can say we are now emerging, slowly but surely, from the crisis phase and, perhaps, into a new era of regeneration and renewal. We have done things as individuals, as a School, as a community, and as a country, that we probably couldn’t ever have imagined. If we can do that in an unprecedented crisis, then why not after it too?”

As with previous crises – he mentioned World War II and the Great Fire of London of 1666 following the plague outbreak of the previous year – the Covid-19 pandemic could become an “opportunity for progress”, he said, pointing to the argument of 20th-century Danish economist Ester Boserup in reference to population growth and agricultural production that “necessity is the mother of invention”.

Citing the watchword of Captain Sir Tom Moore, “Tomorrow will be a brighter day,” Mr Enright continued: “Despite the undoubted challenges, today is already bright for you.

“I am excited to see what you can achieve with further growth. How you can be beacons among your peers and be shining lights in your communities, industries, and in society at large, in the years ahead.

“Congratulations on your awards. Enjoy them, celebrate them with your families, but also reflect on what you have put in to achieve them.

“With continuity in the character you have shown, I am confident that you will succeed in navigating the changing world and have every reason to be optimistic about your tomorrow.”

In his traditional vote of thanks, the 2021 School Captain, Siddhant Kansal, of Year 12, told his fellow prize-winners: “Despite it being a smaller ceremony than it would usually be, the achievements that we are marking, your achievements, are as great, if not greater than they would be in a normal year because of the challenges that have been faced along the way in this most extraordinary of years.

“All of us know how good the competition out there is. So, without being smug, we can be rightfully and genuinely proud at being chosen to be here today.”

The musical contributions for the younger two year groups were from: Year 11 trumpeter Theo Mama-Kahn, performing William Boyce’s Trumpet Voluntary as a processional; pianist Harishan Thevalingham, of Year 10, with Rachmaninov’s Prelude in G Minor; Jao-Yong Tsai, of Year 11, playing Brahms’ Sonata in F minor Op. 120 No. 1 Movement 1, and Arjun Patel, of Year 10, playing Richard Kershaw’s Tango Till You Drop on the saxophone as a recessional.

For the Sixth Form awards, the processional was Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks, performed by final-year saxophonist Khai Tran, who also played the recessional, Czardas by Vittorio Monti.  Year 12 cellist Raphael Herberg played Popper’s Tarantella, while Conor Parker-Delves, of Year 12, performed Prélude et Saltarelle by Robert Planel on the saxophone.  QE’s piano teacher, Tadashi Imai, was the accompanist.

Testing, testing! QE on track for a safe and smooth return to classes

Preparations for a safe return to lessons at the School this week are running according to plan, with sixth-formers experiencing a smooth start to the new testing programme yesterday.

Years 12 and 13 were the first at QE to benefit from the asymptomatic testing programme that is clearing the way for classroom learning to start for all year groups on Thursday.

In line with Government instructions, all pupils taking part in the programme are being tested before returning to School for lessons, so that any positive cases can be taken out of circulation before they have the opportunity to mix with each other and with staff.

Volunteers have rallied round, working alongside members of staff to make sure all 1,250 boys can be tested in time.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “Testing all our pupils is a major logistical exercise, and one that, of course, has to be conducted in Covid-safe conditions.

“It is certainly a challenge, but I am pleased to report that the first day went without a hitch, with the operation running both calmly and efficiently.

“Although the testing is not compulsory, I am most encouraged to see that the participation rate is very high indeed, which will certainly aid the effectiveness of the programme in protecting all students and staff.”

Pupils are all being given specific times to attend over the first half of the week, with Years 9–11 due in for their first tests today and Years 7 and 8 on Wednesday.

In the meantime, QE’s programme of remote learning continues, with boys following a full timetable at home using the School’s eQE online learning platform and MS Teams.

They will have their second and third tests from Thursday onwards, once they are back in lessons.

The group of volunteers involved in the programme spans the Elizabethan community, including parents, former members of staff and other friends of the School.

“Some are giving up significant amounts of their time over the course of the in-School testing programme, for which we are all very grateful,” said Mr Enright.

“These volunteers are working alongside members of staff, with everyone trained for their respective roles.”

“It was, of course, great to see pupils back on site today – a foretaste of Thursday, when we look forward eagerly to seeing all the boys back in lessons here.”

 

QE’s 39 Oxbridge stars shine in the shutdown

As QE focuses on continuing to deliver a first-class education in the midst of a second national lockdown, news that no fewer than 39 pupils have won offers from Oxford and Cambridge has brought welcome winter cheer to the School.

The figure is second only to last year’s all-time QE record of 40 Oxbridge offers and comes after final-year boys have had to wrestle with months of turmoil and uncertainty because of Covid-19.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “Theirs is a truly stellar achievement, achieved in the face of considerable uncertainty and additional challenge. I congratulate these 39 pupils on their hard work and application and I salute my colleagues who have done so much to make possible their success.

“As QE teachers labour tirelessly to maintain a full timetable to our customary standards in a virtual classroom environment, and to ensure that the complex process of university applications proceeds smoothly, this wonderful news is confirmation of the success of those efforts at the very highest levels.”

The places awarded are at a wide range of colleges, from the biggest of all in terms of the number of undergraduates, Trinity at Cambridge, to the much smaller St Benet’s Hall at Oxford. The subjects being studied are varied, too: those chosen include Economics, Engineering, Law, Mathematics, Medicine, Modern & Medieval Languages and Natural Sciences.

Mr Enright was joined by Assistant Head (Pupil Development) Michael Feven and Head of Year 13 Helen Davies for a special celebration with the Oxbridge boys in a video meeting using Microsoft Teams. The group, pictured top, was so big that they could not be fitted on to a single screenshot.

“I happily acknowledge the debt owed by these pupils to their parents and other family members who have supported them, and, in fact, I urged the boys in our video meeting to express their gratitude for this.

“Of course, it is important to recognise that not everyone who applied to Oxford and Cambridge was successful,” Mr Enright added. “A number of outstanding candidates have missed out on offers and will understandably be disappointed.”

“But offers from other sought-after universities are continuing to come in for these and for other boys. Year 13 as a whole are making great progress with their offers and support for them will continue throughout the UCAS process. We hope that everyone will receive an offer from a top-quality institution at which they will thrive and be happy.”

QE has a University admissions Support Programme – or USP – which is supported by many Old Elizabethans, especially through the online QE Connect alumni platform. Special arrangements were made this year with, for example, many old boys conducting online mock interviews for sixth-formers.

Mr Enright thanked the many alumni who have supported current pupils with advice and interviews through the pandemic.

“This year’s leavers will soon be the next entrants to our thriving alumni community, and I trust that they will similarly step up to help out future generations of Elizabethans, giving back to our community.”

Building on Distinction: QE sets out priorities for the next four years in new plan

Queen Elizabeth’s School today launches Building on Distinction – a detailed plan establishing the School’s priorities for development from 2021 until 2025.

The 32-page strategic vision plan redefines the School’s existing mission to produce young men who are ‘confident, able and responsible’ to ensure that pupils are equipped with all the attributes they need to thrive and lead in the fast-changing, and sometimes unpredictable, world of the 2020s.

The document, which is being sent to parents and other members of the School community today,  includes ten priorities for the School to follow, as well as a more detailed look at what will be required to fulfil the mission and deliver on the priorities.

A new video been produced in which Headmaster Neil Enright and a selection of pupils together set out the qualities of the modern Elizabethan, as defined by the plan.

Mr Enright said today: “I am pleased and excited to be able to launch our new School Plan. As the name, Building on Distinction, suggests, we started drawing up this plan from a position of strength and pre-eminence. We are proud of our heritage: the period covered by the plan includes the significant milestone of our 450th anniversary in 2023, while our more recent past has been characterised by great success which has seen QE become firmly established as one of this country’s leading academic schools.

“To maintain and further amplify such success, we must continue to move forward. At the heart of the ambitious vision in the new plan is a fresh consideration of what it means to be an Elizabethan, looking at the combination of traditional qualities and new skills that our leavers will need to flourish in a global environment characterised by both crisis and opportunity. Our answer to that includes kindness, resilience, inclusivity and a commitment to the greater good of society, alongside attributes such as intellectual poise and broad, analytical thinking.”

Preparation for the new plan began some time ago. A major consultation exercise with parents was conducted last winter by independent consultancy RSAcademics, while current pupils were also consulted through internal surveys.

“I was delighted by the highly positive outcome of the research, which helped shape our thinking as we formulated the plan,” said Mr Enright.

The ‘ten priorities’ section in the middle of the plan is a distillation of the thinking of QE’s Governors and Senior Leadership Team about what must be done in order to accomplish the mission.

The School will seek, for example, to encourage ‘intellectually rigorous activity’ while also celebrating boys’ ‘diverse skills, talents, and achievements’.

The final portion of the plan looks at the commitments that will be required from all departments of the School and across the Elizabethan community, including parents and alumni, in order to enable the vision to be fulfilled. The areas covered range from ‘excellence and advancement on merit’ and ‘valuing and seeking inspiration from our heritage’ to ‘operational efficiency’ and ‘sustainability’.

In recognition of the importance of QE’s long history, the plan document is punctuated with panels detailing key episodes and developments at the School over the past 450 years.

The launch of Building on Distinction was delayed for a term in order both to focus on meeting the challenges posed by Covid-19 and to reflect on how QE’s experience in this crisis could inform its contents.

“However,” Mr Enright said, “we have not, and will not, let the present situation dominate: we continue to look ahead to secure the long-term success of the School and to deliver the very best education possible for current and future pupils.”

QE’s “remarkable consistency” saluted as it is crowned Parent Power’s leading state school

Queen Elizabeth’s School once again heads the influential Sunday Times Parent Power survey as the country’s top state school.

As Alastair McCall, editor of Parent Power, points out, QE has now “occupied the top spot for five of the past seven years”.

He also highlighted the “remarkable consistency” of two London schools – QE and its independent sector counterpart, St Paul’s Girls’ School – in maintaining their positions at the top of their respective league tables. If both state and independent league tables were combined, QE’s results would place it squarely among the handful of élite independent schools.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “Our now-regular appearance at the top of the Parent Power table is testament to the outstanding teaching of my colleagues, to the sustained hard work of our pupils and to our unceasing determination to achieve excellence in all areas of School life.

“I would say that our academic performance, combined with our superlative extra-curricular activities, our careful pastoral support and our commitment to ensuring Elizabethans go on to make significant contributions to wider society, mean that QE is not only remarkably consistent, but consistently remarkable, too.”

With this year’s A-level and GCSE examinations cancelled because of Covid-19, the Parent Power league tables were based on 2019 results, but the 2020 statistics were, in fact, even better than the previous year’s, with a record 99.6% A*–B pass rate and a 9.3% increase in the number of A-levels awarded an A* grade to 54.6%, which is another School record.

The announcement of the Parent Power results comes only a few weeks after the Good Schools Guide (GSG) praised QE highly in its latest report, concluding that it provided “one of the most inspiring learning environments we’ve ever come across”.

The GSG reviewers noted, too, that when the national coronavirus crisis struck in the spring, QE had not only been quick to provide boys with extensive online education, but had also progressively improved what it offered. The School rapidly learned how best to use IT to offer stimulating lessons alongside interesting extra-curricular activities and strong pastoral support in the unprecedented situation of a national lockdown.

Mr Enright added: “We have continued to flex to the ever-changing coronavirus situation this term, ensuring that the academic progress of our pupils, their pastoral support and enrichment are maintained. Our established eQE remote learning platform has served us well, particularly as we have integrated it with Microsoft Teams and deployed other specialised online technologies to meet specific needs, such as SchoolCloud’s Parents Evening Video Appointments.”

In his commentary on the Parent Power results, Mr McCall further highlighted that both QE and its fellow table leader, St Paul’s Girls’ School, provide single-sex education. “They provide an alternative for parents when the vast majority of schools are co-educational,” he said. Mr McCall added that single-sex schools continue to do well generally in Parent Power.

“One of the most inspiring learning environments we’ve ever come across”: The Good Schools Guide verdict on QE

Queen Elizabeth’s School shines brightly in the latest report by the influential Good Schools Guide, with reviewers praising everything from public examination results – “right in the top branches of the academic league table tree” – to music, sport and drama.

The extensive review, written in GSG’s characteristic conversational style, is based on the result of reviewers visiting the School, interviewing Headmaster Neil Enright and speaking to current parents. Schools are not charged for entry in the selective guide and cannot pay to be included, leaving its reviewers free to report as they see fit, whether good or bad.

In its summary of QE, entitled “The last word”, the GSG writers state what they feel makes the School special: “Speculating, hypothesizing, synthesising – it’s all part and parcel of life at QE, where they cream off the most gifted and talented boys from miles around. For hard-working, aspirational boys in the top 10 per cent ability range, it will almost certainly feel like coming home.

“A place where boys can expect to get carried away with the collective will to learn both in and outside the classroom, the result of which is one of the most inspiring learning environments we’ve ever come across.”

Mr Enright welcomed the review’s publication: “This is a very positive review indeed, which captures many of the things that make Queen Elizabeth’s School a state school like no other. It is always gratifying to read third-party appreciation of what we are doing, particularly from an organisation such as GSG, whose reviewers do not mince their words if things are not up to scratch!”

The report, which is now available to GSG subscribers on the organisation’s website, gives an up-to-date view, noting that when the national coronavirus crisis struck in the spring, QE reacted quickly and well, but also learned from it, with IT, co-curricular activities and pastoral support all rapidly adapted to the unprecedented situation.

After outlining the highly competitive admissions process, the report notes that nearly all leavers go to Russell Group universities, with 40 heading to Oxbridge and 32 studying Medicine in 2020, and points out that many of those going to Oxford or Cambridge are the first in their families to go to any university at all.

Noting the importance of setting and of regular testing at the School, the reviewers turn to teaching and learning: “In the lessons we sat in on, the pace of learning took our breath away but what impressed us even more is that how it’s clearly cool to voice wacky ideas and this leads to boys feeling able to take risks in their learning.”

Academic enrichment is highlighted, with reviewers praising the rich array of clubs and societies offered, while also covering academic symposia with girls’ schools and the frequent competition successes in disciplines ranging from robotics to Economics.

The review sets out the large number of music ensembles and the high performance standards in concerts, while the plans for QE’s new Music School also receive a mention.

The popularity of drama, the “intellectual approach to Art”, the wide fixture list in sport and the broad range of trips offered are all covered.

The behaviour of the boys comes in for a special mention (“among the most courteous we’ve met – they take polite to a whole new level”), while the pastoral support, including the fact that all staff are trained in the area of mental health, is highlighted.

There is even a mention for alumni, with reviewers lauding QE Connect, an online networking platform that links current pupils with old boys happy to help in areas such as providing work experience and intern placements, mock interviews and mentoring.

Laying foundations for a bright musical future at QE

A major milestone in the project to build a new, multi-million pound Music School at Queen Elizabeth’s School’s has been reached, with the first ‘concrete pour’ at the site.

Selected staff and pupils were on hand to celebrate the arrival of the concrete mixer – the first of some 150 lorryloads due at the School over the coming months!

Headmaster Neil Enright, who was among the group witnessing the historic event, said: “It is exciting that the construction phase of this major project is now well and truly under way.

“While the Covid-19 pandemic has inevitably caused a few complications, we have been very keen to press ahead with this project: it represents not only a significant investment in our facilities, but is also a sign of our confidence in the future at this difficult time.

“Indeed, while we have extensive precautions in place to keep everyone here safe from the virus, we are trying, so far as is possible, to ensure it is ‘business as usual’ for our boys, our focus remaining firmly on providing them with the best possible education.

“If all goes according to plan – Covid-permitting! – we should be able to open the new building during the 2021 Autumn Term.”

The £3.5m-plus project received the go-ahead in 2019 after the Department for Education accepted the School’s £2.2m bid (comprising a £1.2m grant and £1m loan).

Completion will involve substantial financial support through the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s, thus continuing a long record of FQE backing which has been instrumental in ensuring the School has been able to open a succession of new facilities over the past 25 years.

The purpose-built Music School complex will provide essential support for QE’s booming Music department – until lockdown began earlier this year, there were more than 20 ensembles at the School, with over 160 boys singing in the Choir.

It will feature a new performance venue and a number of much-needed teaching and rehearsal rooms. In addition, the two-storey building will provide additional assembly space to accommodate QE’s lecture programme, as well as a covered atrium for boys to use at break times.

The School’s new Deputy Head (Operations), Tara O’Reilly, said: “The site has been ‘prepped’ and ready for building work to start for some time, so it is good to see the area now full of machinery and to be able to watch the construction team from our contractor, TJ Evers, who are all working hard to break ground and put in the foundations for the new building.”

Watching the concrete pour alongside the Headmaster and Ms O’Reilly were Director of Music Ruth Partington and Music teacher Caroline Grint, together with two of the School’s senior musicians, Year 12’s Raphael Herberg and Conor Parker-Delves, both of whom have just started their A-level Music studies.

Raphael said: “We are very excited about the new Music block,” while Conor added: “We are really glad this is happening for our Music Department, and that future QE students will get to enjoy it.”

Welcome back! A smooth start to the new academic year

Pupils and staff at Queen Elizabeth’s School have made a successful start to the term, taking in their stride extensive measures introduced to keep them safe from the coronavirus.

All 1,250 pupils are now back, with normal levels of attendance reported and lessons well under way.

The new Year 7 boys came in on Wednesday for a special induction afternoon that included an assembly with the Headmaster, Neil Enright, with their Head of Year, Tom Harrison, and with the 2020 School Captain, Ivin Jose. They also had time in their form groups and were taken on a familiarisation tour of the site. These youngest Elizabethans are enjoying their first (non-contact) games afternoon today.

The rest of the year groups started yesterday and have already had their own assemblies and pastoral time to welcome them back.

Mr Enright said: “These are extraordinary times, but I am pleased to report that all is well and everyone is in. After last term’s remote learning through our eQE digital platform, the boys and their teachers are quickly getting up to speed in the classroom and on the sports field again, with productive learning taking place from day one.”

“Everyone is settling in well to new routines, adapting to a new timetable to accommodate social distancing and to lunch being served in multiple venues, for example.”

Mr Enright added that while staff and boys are being urged to remain vigilant, he has so far been impressed at everyone’s willingness to comply with the new measures and take responsibility for keeping the community safe, in line with QE’s anti-Covid-19 slogan, Play your part, help control the virus.

“The next few months are, of course, uncertain locally, nationally and internationally, but I am pleased that all here is running smoothly and am, therefore, cautiously optimistic as we set a steady course for the rest of the term,” Mr Enright concluded.

Ready, steady and good to go!

Queen Elizabeth’s School today begins the final countdown to the start of the new academic year next week, when all 1,250 boys will be welcomed on site.

The School, which celebrated extremely strong results at both A-level and GCSE this month, has prepared extensively and systematically for the September return to classes.

To help families get to grips with new measures to counter the pandemic, the School is today publishing its 35-page Back to School Guide containing details of its three key messages – Please, keep your distance, Wash your hands, and Catch it, bin it, kill it.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “After a great deal of hard work, we are now ready to welcome the boys back to a School that has been extensively adapted in order to keep everyone safe during this pandemic.

“It will be great to see boys from all year groups back here again and to welcome our new Year 7 intake as they embark on their QE education.

“While our teachers showed admirable flexibility and great professionalism in successfully delivering remote learning during last term’s lockdown, they are now very much looking forward to getting back into the classroom.

“I also know that, for their part, many of our pupils cannot wait to catch up with their friends. I am sure they will soon get back into the swing of lessons and start enjoying our exciting extra-curricular activities.”

As well as producing the 35-page guide for pupils, staff and parents, the School has embarked on a wide range of measures to keep everyone safe from the coronavirus. The boys will be in year group ‘bubbles’ that will gather in their own allocated playgrounds during breaks and lunchtime. One-way systems have been introduced and the timetable has been adjusted to incorporate staggered lunchbreaks, all helping to minimise congestion in corridors and communal areas. Additional staff have been trained in First Aid and arrangements made to boost cleaning in the School, particularly on high-contact surfaces, such as door handles.

“We are confident that we have effective measures in place to mitigate the risks posed by Covid-19,” said Mr Enright. “We are now asking all boys and their families to be steadily diligent and individually responsible in following the rules, in line with our new anti-coronavirus slogan, ‘Play your part: help control the virus.’

“Of course, we recognise that many families have gone through difficult times in the past few months and some people may well feel a degree of anxiety as we come back together as a School. Moreover, the pattern of the coming months is unpredictable, both locally and all over the world, and the measures we have taken may have to evolve in line with changing official advice.

“I am, however, confident of this: if we work together as a School and as the wider Elizabethan community, QE will successfully get through this hugely challenging period and emerge successfully on the other side, just as we have done before at other critical junctures in our 447-year history.”

Terrific at the top! Highest grades surge as Queen Elizabeth’s School records a great GCSE performance

Boys at Queen Elizabeth’s School put in an exceptional performance at GCSE this year, as the results announced today reveal.

The proportion of pupils achieving levels 8 and 9 – both equivalent to an A* grade under the old system – rose to 82% from 79% last year. This increase was driven by a marked improvement at the very top, with 61% of all GCSE grades at QE being at level 9.

With no GCSE examinations taken this year because of the coronavirus, today’s confirmed results are instead the product of the national moderation process. They show either the grade predicted by an algorithm devised by examinations regulator Ofqual, or, following a Government change in policy announced earlier this week, schools’ own predictions (Centre-Assessed Grades, CAGs) – whichever is higher.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “Given the exceptional circumstances, it is difficult to compare 2020 results with previous years, but it is nonetheless worth noting that, taken at face value, these GCSE results are our best-ever at QE, better even than last year’s record-breaking figures.

“We are pleased that the boys in Year 11 have been justly rewarded for their efforts over the past two years, and I heartily congratulate them and their teachers: their results reflect great application, genuine ability and true scholarship.

“Many are forecasting that the late policy change will result in huge grade inflation nationally, but here at QE there is a strong correlation between the School’s CAGs and the algorithm, both at GCSE and A-level. Very few of our A-level grades were changed, compared to approximately 40% of grades changed nationally last week, and, at GCSE, there is, in fact, a slight increase in the overall figures as a result of the application of the algorithm.

“We have thus avoided much of the turbulence experienced in other schools and colleges. I am grateful to colleagues for their assiduous application of the moderation system that was sent out to schools in April. The stability we have seen in our results, with so few grades having to be changed, reflects the care with which the School approached the task given to us, the robustness of the data we drew upon, and the integrity of the staff involved.”

There was a strong performance in subjects across the board at QE, with, for example, almost three-quarters of the 185 boys in the year group (74%) achieving a 9 in Mathematics, and 85% of the individual science GCSEs (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) also receiving the top grade. Those opting to take Latin, a subject re-introduced at the School in 2012, truly shone: of the 33 boys taking it, 31 (94%) received a 9, with the remaining two awarded an 8.

“The boys can move into the next phase of their education with confidence,” said Mr Enright. “They are now well placed for Sixth Form study – taking with them a very strong set of grades, as well as the benefit of having used their lockdown time productively. They spent the time on bridging work set by their teachers focused on subjects they are planning to study at AS and A-level, on various online work experience schemes, and on taking Eton College’s Eton X programme, which gives a systematic introduction to all the key components of academic research.

“The continuity of their studies will also be aided by Simon Walker again staying with them as Head of Year. He has worked with the year group since they were in Year 10. We look forward to seeing them back in the classroom in September.”

There is, concluded Mr Enright, a clear lesson to be drawn from recent events:  “One thing that should be evident from this summer is the value of exams in providing the most objective judgement available and for the opportunity that they give for young people to show what they can do and differentiate themselves from their peers across the country. All will be hoping that exams can take place as normal next academic year.”