GCSE successes after a year of turmoil

August 20 2020

HEAD teachers have praised the hard work and perseverance of GCSE candidates who received their results after an "incredibly challenging" year.

With exams cancelled, Year 11 pupils had been in suspense since March, wondering how assessment of their work up to that point would be translated into results.

And there was confusion when the system for deciding results was changed at the last minute by regulator Ofqual, following an outcry over A-level marking. An algorithm for comparing results nationally was ditched in favour of teachers' assessments.

At Bristol Metropolitan Academy in Fishponds, staff said the results achieved by Year 11s were "a testament to their hard-work and perseverance".

Principal Cameron Shaw said: "We had the largest turnout of students and staff ever on results day. Students and staff were able to come back together as a community for the first time since March and share in this long-awaited moment.

"Lock down has been incredibly challenging for everyone in the country and specifically for this cohort of students, who have faced so much uncertainty and speculation."

At Bristol Brunel Academy in Speedwell, staff said they were "incredibly proud" of the dedication and hard work of the Year 11 pupils, more than half of whom are going on to study post-16 qualifications as students of the Cabot Learning Federation, which runs the school, in September. Principal Jon Jones said: "This has always been an exceptional year group. We celebrate the successes they have achieved in their exam grades and also look back on their time with us, where they have been outstanding in their political interest, drama performances, sporting success, friendship groups and positive attitudes.

"Of course, I want to thank our students for being so fabulous! I also want to pass on a special ‘thank you’ to our parents and carers who have been supporting our youngsters at home during lockdown on the emotional roller-coaster of the past few months."

At Fairfield High School, principal Nick Lewis said he was "extremely proud" of Year 11 pupils, adding: “Well done to all the students who have achieved the grades they were hoping for. Perhaps more importantly, I want to congratulate all our young people who have shown such maturity and resilience during this emergency.”

Head student Alice Towle said said it was a pity that her year group had missed their exams, seen their Prom postponed and been denied the chance to experience results day in school together.

She said: “Our teachers have been fantastic, checking up on us by phone and email."

At independent Colston’s School in Stapleton, "an exceptional set of GCSE results" saw 55% of grades awarded at 7 to 9 and 30% of students achieving grades 7 or above in all of their subjects.

Headmaster Jeremy McCullough said: “We were confident that we knew our students really well, and would be in a strong position to ascribe Centre Assessed grades that would closely reflect those they would have achieved had they been able to sit their exams.

"We are therefore comfortable that these impressive grades reflect their huge endeavours in the classroom and at home during lockdown."