Grenfell school head's tribute to 'incredible' pupils on A-level results day

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The headteacher of a secondary school near Grenfell Tower today paid tribute to his “incredible” pupils as they received their exam results. 

Students at Kensington Aldridge Academy sat their tests as the housing block continued to burn. The school lost four current and one former pupil in the fire in June, which killed more than 80.

Today, AS-level students collected their results — with almost a quarter achieving A or B grades.

Headteacher David Benson said: “We tried to bring as much order and discipline to the situation as we could. I’m not going to lie and say it was smooth.

“It was very, very difficult and very, very challenging. There was the emotion of the situation and deep concern for the members of the school community.

“Children have one chance in life at education, these were important examinations and we had to keep going. It was so difficult that half-term after Grenfell and so sad in so many ways.”

One pupil, who helped Grenfell Tower residents in the hours after the blaze then sat an A-level exam, said he was disappointed by his results.

Rory Walsh, 18, spent the night coordinating relief efforts for families before sitting the poetry exam, part of his English literature and language A-level.

He received a D, along with Ds in film studies and AS-level media studies. He said: “I feel a bit gutted. I was hoping for  more, especially as I was supposed to get special consideration. I thought it would have been at least a C.”

Mr Walsh made a one-hour trek from North Kensington to Richmond College, Twickenham, to sit the exam, but said everything “went blank” when he put pen to paper.

“I wasn’t going to go at first but family and friends were saying, ‘Just do the test, at least you can say you attempted it,” he added. 

Asked if he would make the same decision to help again, he said: “Definitely, a grade’s not worth more than that. I don’t want to play the victim. The people in that building, they were cheated, whether it was from life or the opportunities or doing their best.”


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