Two head teachers have written to the Education Secretary saying they believe this year's grading system has "let pupils down".

Gus Lock and Rose Hardy, who lead The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School and Girls' School in Elstree respectively, have sent a letter to Gavin Williamson on the day tens of thousands of students received their A-level results.

Due to the pandemic, no exams took place this year, with students receiving calculated grades today.

But in England, nearly 40 per cent of A-level grades awarded on Thursday were lower than teachers' predictions.

In their letter to Mr Williamson, Ms Hardy and Mr Lock say: "We have been left deeply disappointed with the outcome of this summer’s A-level grading process. We feel strongly that the vagaries of the system have let pupils in England down.

"Results this year do not appropriately reflect the hard work of many pupils. The purpose of public examinations is to recognise, fairly, realistically and consistently, the standards that pupils are felt to have reached as a result of their sustained hard work and good teaching.

"Today it has become clear that, in many cases, an algorithm has generated results which do not do justice to students.

"In many schools and in many academic departments, the results awarded are not only much lower than the centre assessed grades, but actually well below any grades awarded in recent years."

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They go on to write later: "The last six months have been incredibly challenging for everyone – from those directly affected by the virus and everyone on the frontline, to those struggling to maintain their livelihoods in the face of economic collapse.

"The handling of public examination results is, we are very sad to say, yet another failure of those in authority to prioritise the interests of the young people they are meant to serve."

Mr Williamson has ruled out further changes to the grading system in the face of any exams backlash.

He told Times Radio today: "What is clear to me is there will be some youngsters, no matter how much we try to do in terms of this system to maximise the fairness of it, who don't get the grade they should have potentially have got.

"That's why we need to have a really robust system, that's why we've got the triple lock."

Mr Williamson said the triple lock would provide "robust grounds of appeal" and allow pupils to take exams later in the year if required.

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Gavin Williamson MP, Secretary of State for Education. Credit: PA

Despite concerns raised by the headteachers at Habs', pupils have once again achieved impressive results, with Habs' Boys' confirming 20 students have secured places at Oxbridge.

Over 40 per cent of the grades awarded were A* and close to 80 per cent with A* to A.

This is roughly the same as the school's 2019 results.

Speaking about his school's results, Mr Lock said: "The theme for recent school assemblies has been ‘resilience’ and that is exactly what our Year 13 pupils have demonstrated over the best part of five months.

"I am very proud of their character, strength and positive attitude. Whilst it is a great pity that they were unable to sit their public examinations this year, they have worked exceptionally hard during their time at the school.

"Warmest congratulations to our Year 13 pupils who, having endured and overcome obstacles during this unusual year, will no doubt go on to enjoy some quite remarkable careers and become the problem-solvers of the future."