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Schools are rightly proud of their GCSE results, so why not publish them in full and shout about it

In a week of encouraging GCSE results from our local schools, some schools have chosen not to publish their results in full, out of ‘respect’ for the unprecedented challenges faced by students and teachers alike. We believe this is a mistake.

Given the U-turn over teacher assessments and the downgrading debacle, there are already concerns that this year’s cohort were being ‘written off’.

Not releasing results exacerbates this – and deprives parents of vital information about those schools.

Ultimately, some people are always going to question the validity of results when exams have not been sat, but the government’s chaotic approach has only worsened this problem.

There is a lack of trust and belief in the system – Ofqual’s chief has resigned while education secretary Gavin Williamson stays in post. Amid this shambles, the lack of detail around attainment from individual schools leaves parents and prospective students in the dark.

Although this year has truly thrown up a raft of challenges that could never have been expected, part and parcel of taking exams is that it’s not just about the best you can bring on a good day, but what you bring on a bad day.

Students have taken exams and continued their schooling through gruelling personal and circumstances long before COVID-19.

For some students, lockdown will not have been as difficult as other experiences in their life. Others will have had an unbelievably tough five months. How they dealt with this will, in part, be due to how the school responded to the crisis.

Southwark’s schools are understandably proud of what their students have achieved, so perhaps now is the time to publish their results in full, and really shout about it.



  1. Or perhaps it is time to abolish GCSE. 16+ is no longer the end-point of education and GCSE’s only use is to suggest appropriate next steps for students. Better education systems around the world manage this transition by guided choice.
    And it is definitely time for a rethink on all exams. For a long time, researchers have found consistently that in many subjects markers disagree on their scores, as much as 40% of the time according to exam boards. Where exams are necessary, they have to be complemented by coursework and moderated teacher assessments, both of which were in use until recently. For 2021 they will be essential.

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