This year and this A Level results day have been more challenging than ever before. Schools North East want to congratulate all of our students and schools for their hard work this year.
Here are some of the school stories from the North East:
St Bede’s Catholic School & Byron Sixth Form College
St Bede’s and Byron 6th Form College are extremely proud of our students who have endured and overcome a very challenging period in their lives. We are delighted that their hard work and commitment has been duly rewarded and feel they are fully justified in receiving the truly excellent results awarded today.
St Bede’s has a 100% pass rate, with 28% of A level grades at A-A* and 87% at A-C with an average grade of a B. Vocational subjects were all awarded a Distinction star or Distinction with the exception of two merits. Many of our students are now able to progress onto highly competitive courses at some of the top Universities.
Excellence in specialist 6th form teaching and individually tailored support has secured the future ambitions of our students ,who rightly refuse to be defined by this pandemic. We wish all of our students the very best of luck and congratulate them on achieving the superb grades we believe they are entitled to receive.
Pupils of notable success are
Holly Mason A*, A*,A studying History at Durham University
Grace Hunt A*, A*,A studying Engineering at Sheffield University
Ben Tilley A*,A,A studying Physics
Chelsi Cleet Distinction Star, Distinction, Distinction studying Business and Finance at Northumbria University.
Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust
Today students in our four secondary schools received their A Level and BTEC results.
We are absolutely delighted for our students in doing so well across our secondary schools. It has been a year like no other. Students have faced huge uncertainty since March and have had to manage the pressure of a disrupted final term.
It’s a tribute to the dedication and resilience of our students that their ongoing hard-work across the academic terms has resulted in them being able to achieve such good A-level results under difficult circumstances. These grades will allow our students to make the next big choice in their lives, of further study at university or of taking a more vocational route into work.
These positive results are also a tribute to the supportive community ethos we engender across all our schools. The first cohort of students from St. Aidan’s Catholic Academy and St. Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy to study as one sixth form for the duration of their course saw more than half achieving A*-B grades. Meanwhile St. Wilfrid’s RC College in South Shields has continued to build on its strong record of success and we are thrilled that St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy in Hebburn achieved its best ever set of A level results. Our partner school, St. Bede’s Catholic Comprehensive and Byron Sixth Form College in Peterlee, soon to join the trust, achieved a fantastic 100% pass rate.
Our staff have risen to the challenge during this difficult period and will continue to support students in the coming weeks, particularly any detrimentally affected by the system put in place for this year, by assisting them through the appeals process.
Durham Sixth Form Centre
Students at Durham Sixth Form Centre are celebrating success today following the publication of results, marking yet another year of excellent academic and personal achievements.
This includes a 100% A-Level pass rate, with the average A-level grade of a grade B- and almost 60% of A Level entries being awarded a grade A*-B.
Vocational results are very strong, too, with over 97% of students achieving Distinction* or Distinction grades.
Mrs Ellen Beveridge, Headteacher, commented:
“This has been a very strange year for us all, however, it is important at this time of uncertainty that we do not allow the wider situation to overshadow the exceptional successes of our students at the end of their two year courses. I am incredibly proud of our Year 13 students, and the resilience that they have shown throughout this period. Whilst I am disappointed that their time at Durham Sixth Form Centre was cut short, on behalf of staff and governors, I wish them every success and happiness for their futures. These successes have enabled students to take up their places at university, including some of the top universities; on prestigious school leaver programmes; or on higher-level apprenticeships.”
Amongst the many Durham Sixth Form Centre students celebrating outstanding results today are:
Results: A*, A*, A*, A*
Subjects: Law, Politics, Psychology, EPQ
Previous School: Oxclose Community Academy
Results: A*, A*, A
Subjects: History, Law, Literature
Previous school: The Academy at Shotton Hall
Results: A*, A*, A*, A
Subjects: Economics, Mathematics, Physics, Biology
Previous school; Whitworth Park Academy
Results: A*, A*, A*
Subjects: Classical Civilisation, Literature, Religious Studies
Previous school: Greenfield Community College
Results: A*, A*, A*
Subjects: Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics
Previous school: Tanfield School
Results: A*, A, A, A
Subjects: Psychology, Law, Sociology, EPQ
Previous school: Durham Johnston
Results: A*, A*, A
Subjects: Geography, Law, Literature
Previous school: Parkside Academy
Ponteland High School
This year we want to pay tribute to our wonderful Y13 cohort whose last year with us has been so blighted by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has resulted in school closures since mid-March and the cancellation of public exams; this was not the way we would have wished them to finish their five years with us. They have been fantastic ambassadors during their time with us and have added greatly to our school community and culture. They have been excellent role models for our younger students particularly this year when we welcomed Y7 and Y8 into our school.
We know that this year group was set to have a brilliant year and predicted to achieve better than any previous cohort; it is so disappointing that they were not able to do just that by sitting their exams and proving this beyond any doubt. In putting together Centre Assessment Grades (CAGs) and rank orders, staff were well aware of how well we expected this year group to perform and this was reflected in the data submitted to the various exam boards.
Staff worked diligently and professionally to provide CAGs and rank orders that would do justice to our students and reflect the outcomes we felt confident in predicting for them. This process has been understandably time consuming and has included many professional conversations between colleagues before grades and rank orders were finalised and submitted to exam boards by senior leaders.
The overall picture this year for the school is in line with previous years with 25% of all grades awarded A*-A or equivalent; 50% A*-B and 70% A*-C. On one hand this is welcome but it also means that the national standardisation process has failed to take account of the strengths of this particular cohort. Our experience has been that where individual subjects have had small cohorts there has been little or no change to the CAGs submitted by the school whereas subjects with more than 6 students have experienced changes, often significant changes. In larger subject cohorts we are left with the feeling that CAGs were simply ignored with final grades being awarded based on a statistical model that considered the rank order and not the CAGs.
The late decision to include Mock Exam grades within the appeal system is bizarre but will be welcomed by a number of our students as approximately 55% of them will see an increase in at least one subject grade, assuming that the appeal system, as yet unclear, affords them this reprieve. The concern about using Mock Exams is that they are conducted in very different ways across schools. For example, some schools have 2-3 Mock Exams in Y13; some have open book Mock Exams; some have external invigilators, some don’t; some have strict exam conditions, some don’t. To suggest that these grades are somehow more relevant than the CAGs that have been submitted is an affront to schools.
We know that many of our Y13 students will be celebrating today, deservedly so, but these celebrations will also be tempered by concern for their fellow students who may have to deal with some initial disappointment. We know that they will all overcome any obstacles in their path and go on to achieve great things. We wish them well in their future careers and lives.
Royal Grammar School, Newcastle
Like their peers across the country, Upper Sixth Form students at Newcastle Royal Grammar School received their A Level results earlier today. As in previous years, students have achieved outstanding results, outstripping both local and national averages.
85.0%1 of grades were A*-B and 28.2%2 of grades were A*.
Of the 167 Upper Sixth students entered for A Levels this year, a staggering 65 students achieved all A* and As, narrowly surpassing the success of their 2019 predecessors (64 students). 14 of these students gained a full set of A*s, again surpassing their 2019 predecessors (12 students).
In particular, we are immensely proud of the 15 means-tested bursary holders, who this year collectively secured 49 A Levels across 17 different subjects. Five of these students secured all A*-As, with one securing four A*s. Means tested bursary students, who represent 5% of the RGS student population, are all exceptional young people, from families who would not be able to attend the school without the philanthropic support of benefactors.
The stats above, do not account for any adjustments still to be made, where published exam results will be increased to meet mock exam grades, as announced by the Government on 12th August 2020.
These A Level results continue the school’s outstanding trend that has seen RGS Newcastle consistently ranked 1st in the Sunday Times’ top independent schools in the North of England.
Geoffrey Stanford, Headmaster, said:
“While there have been understandable nerves about this year’s A Level results, particularly following the government’s announcement on Monday, overall our have students received grades which reflect RGS’s continued exceptional results, sustained over previous years.
We had high expectations for this particular cohort, who broke all RGS results records when they sat GCSE’s two years ago. Given the strength of these students, there will undoubtedly be some who are disappointed with their Centre Assessed Grades being adjusted due to this year’s unique calculations. We have been looking closely at both the aggregate results and individual circumstances where appeals may be justified and will do our best to ensure that our students have not been unfairly disadvantaged. However, overall our students should be immensely proud of what they have achieved and we wish them the best of luck for the future.”
UTC South Durham
Sixth Form students at UTC South Durham celebrated their A-level results on Thursday 20th August 2020. All students passed their A-levels and equivalent qualifications, and every student has secured or is in the process of securing employment, an apprenticeship (higher or degree), or a place of university.
Principal Tom Dower said: ‘We are delighted for all our students and wish to congratulate them on their results. The results are testimony to the hard work of our exceptional students and commitment of our teaching staff.
This year has been difficult for many of us, but particularly for students in Year 13 who have faced a great deal of uncertainty with regards to their education and future. We are incredibly proud of their academic achievements, but also of them as the confident and driven young professionals we have seen them become.’
A number of students have secured apprenticeships with companies based in the North East, including Joe Allen and Oliver Trowell who are joining civil engineering company Costain, Stephen Henry is now working with BTS Fabrications, and Will Barker has joining Teescraft Engineering as an engineer in quality.
Kirsten Parr, who studied Maths, Further Maths, and Physics, is due to start a degree apprenticeship with accounting firm Ernst Young in Newcastle, and Felicity Nkomo is due to start with international design company Hanson as a degree level design apprentice. Other students are have secured employment further afield, including Finn Trewhitt who is working as an Installation Engineer in Italy.
All students who applied to university were successful and all are going to study STEM degrees: Jack Clarke is going to study Engineering at York University, Tom Shepherd is heading to Loughborough to study Product Design Engineering, Ben Miller and Sam Hall have secured places at Northumbria to study Mechanical Engineering and Foundation Engineering respectively.
This year, as exams were cancelled because of the pandemic, students’ grades were based on teacher assessments, supported with evidence of their work which was submitted to the exam boards.