TWO schools which celebrated their best A-Level results ever have still slated the government's new-style exam system.

King Alfred’s Academy in Wantage and Wallingford School both said they would sacrifice their record achievements last week to be able to give children a broader education, less focused on passing a few exams at the end of two years.

Wallingford headteacher Wyll Willis also said that, because the Government had tipped the scales to make sure this year’s results averaged out as comparable to last year’s across the county, the only way his school could get its best-ever results was because schools elsewhere were doing worse.

Among the schools which fared worse last week was Didcot Sixth Form, which said it had 'learnt a lot' from the experience to plan for the future.

The comments come as pupils get ready to open a second set of reformed exam grades on GCSE results day tomorrow.

Mr Willis said: "We have put in mountains of extra effort over the past two years, training teachers and monitoring departments every term: to an extent this year has been measuring how well schools can adapt to change, and I’m not sure that’s fair.

"This system suited us, but I don’t want to crow about our results because that will undermine the struggle other schools have had.

"There will be headteachers now feeling absolutely awful and that’s in part to do with the reformed system and not down to teaching at all."

The changes to A-Levels and GCSEs were both instituted in a set of major reforms by the then-Education Secretary Michael Gove in a bid to make exams 'more rigorous'.

GCSE students opening their brown envelopes tomorrow will be the first to find out how they have fared in a new-style system for English and maths.

Like with the A-Level reforms, the new style – which is now being rolled out to all other subjects – ditches coursework and regular assessment in favour of one big test at the end of two years.

GCSEs will also now be graded from 9-1 rather than A* to G, with the top grade of 9 harder to achieve than an A*.

This change also only affects English and maths this year, with other subjects to follow from 2018.

King Alfred’s Academy head of sixth form Tim Lawrence last week said the new approach was forcing teenagers to specialise and narrow their horizons.

He said: "The thing that makes our post-16 education different from the rest of the world is how much we force students to specialise, and we have basically now made it even more specialised.

"America and Europe have much broader curriculums right up until the age of 18.

"We are a large and successful sixth form, but this new system will make it much harder for a lot of sixth forms, especially the smaller ones."

Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran, who is the Lib Dem education spokeswoman, said the reforms had been rushed through.

She said: "It’s destabilising for schools, they don’t know where they stand.

"They have done an incredible job at keeping up with changes the Government has thrown at them.

"Students are fully aware they are guinea pigs and have done their best.

"The Government needs to bring in changes far more slowly and listen to teachers, who didn’t have time to come up with good resources."

See page 4 for a full report on local schools' results, and see the Herald website for GCSE results on Friday.