Information for university and college admissions teams
Onslow St Audrey's is a small, non-selective mixed comprehensive school in Hatfield, Hertfordshire. We currently have 827 students on roll, 110 of whom are in the sixth form. Thirty nine percent of our pupils are disadvantaged, twenty percent have special educational needs and twenty four percent have English as an additional language. At the end of Year 11, between forty and fifty percent of the cohort will transition into our Sixth Form with the rest going to college largely to progress onto vocational courses that we do not offer. We are part of the Welywn and Hatfield Consortium which allows our students to study a range of subjects off-site within four of our neighbouring schools. Traditionally, between 70% and 80% of our students in Year 13 go on to study at undergraduate level, although this is increasing as our numbers in the Sixth Form also increase. We have had one successful applicant to Oxbridge in the last five years and around 10% of those who go to university each year, take up places in Russell Group institutions.
We offer both academic and applied general Level 3 courses with many students opting to study a mixed programme which has led to very successful outcomes. We currently offer extended certificates and diplomas in OCR Sport and Exercise as well as BTEC Business although others are offered by consortium schools. On site, we are able to provide an A Level pathway for those looking to study STEM subjects at undergraduate level.
The current Year 13 cohort have had considerable disruption to their learning due to the covid-19 pandemic. The following are ways in which their education and preparation for Level 3 examinations has been affected:
- Around 11 weeks’ learning in Year 12, was interrupted. Although the school was able to transfer all learning online and attendance to these lessons was very good, the impact of the lack of face to face teaching is significant particularly in terms of exam preparation.
- The cancellation of GCSE examinations in 2020 has resulted in students being underprepared for the terminal A Level examinations in June 2022 and vocational examinations in January 2022. The impact of not having experienced formal summative assessments is likely to be significant. This may impact on pupils who are prone to anxiety and stress, who may not have developed the skills to deal with this pressure.
- This has been exacerbated by the fact that the second of the three assessment windows in Year 12, fell during lockdown in February 2021 and so assessments were carried out at home rather than in formal conditions at school.
- The end of year 12 examinations on which predicted grades were based, were conducted shortly after a period of isolation for almost fifty percent of Year 12 students meaning that they were unable to gain fully from face-to-face preparation for these examinations. This has led to some students underperforming.
- Pupils did not get the opportunity to undertake the usual work placements coordinated by the school. While some have sourced their own experiences, or taken part in virtual work experience, many have missed out. This is particularly concerning for candidates applying to vocational degrees, especially Medicine,
- The period from March to June is often used to prepare pupils for the university application process, and a number of visits from universities and employers had to be cancelled. Online provision was made, and well received by many. However, there is a concern that those hampered by circumstance, or perhaps needing some personal encouragement, missed out on these important experiences,
- University open days have this year been offered virtually. While this affords opportunities never before available in terms of access, less proactive pupils may lose out.