GCSE results days are notorious for raising anxiety and stress, for both students and their teachers alike.
This year has been particularly difficult with the unprecedented addition of the COVID-19 pandemic and no exams. This left the fate of students’ grades being decided much more outside of their control.
A lot of students did not get the chance to end their school careers demonstrating the knowledge they had learnt and what they are capable of as individuals.
One student from Bath said: “I’m really saddened by the way I had to let go of sitting my exams. I know some students are relieved, but I would have liked the opportunity, for my own satisfaction, to have known what I could have achieved on my terms.”
Headteacher of King Edward’s School, Mr Martin Boden, said: “Although the unique circumstances this year led to the cancellation of summer exams, the results for our pupils are once again excellent and in keeping with the School’s tradition of outstanding academic performance.
“This is the first round of exams in which pupils have received only numerical grades, as opposed to a mixture of numbers and letters, making direct comparison with previous cohorts difficult.
“However, this year group’s evident academic strengths have been reflected in the 81% of grades awarded 9-7, equivalent to A*/A in the past, the fourth time in the last eight years that the 80% mark has been exceeded.
“I am so pleased that our pupils have received these outstanding results after what has been such a difficult and nerve-wracking time for them and so many other young people. They worked extremely hard over the two years of their GCSE courses, and I feel very sorry for them and their peers that they were unable to put all that effort into practice in the exams this summer.
“They should nonetheless feel proud of their achievements and can look forward with confidence to the next stage of their education, whether at King Edward’s School or elsewhere. I congratulate them on their success and wish them all the very best of luck in their next steps.”
Mrs Emma Yates, headteacher of Hayesfield School, said: “Having secured the title of ‘best school in B&NES’ by the Real Schools Guide for the second year running, we had equally high expectations for our GCSE class of 2020.
“It has been a tumultuous five months for our year 11 cohort, but today they were rewarded with the results that they have worked so hard to achieve.
“Over one quarter of students achieved a staggering 8 or more GCSEs at the top grades of 7-9, A and A* in old money. 88% of all students secured a Grade 4 or above in English and Maths, 70% secured a strong pass and a whopping 52 students secured Grades 7-9 in both of these key subjects.
“In total, 94% of students gained 5 or more standard passes at GCSE with 69% of all students gaining 5 or more strong passes, including in English and Maths at Grades 5 and above.
“I am so pleased to see such an exceptional set of results for an exceptional year group in these exceptional times. Our students have been rewarded with the results that accurately reflect their academic achievements.
“I know that many of our students were disappointed not to sit the exams they had prepared so well for but I am hopeful that today’s results have made them super proud of their achievements. I know that my staff and I couldn’t be happier for them.”
Mr Steven Mackay, headteacher from Oldfield School, reflected the same feelings regarding their cohort: “We were very pleased with the results for our year 11 and year 13 students.
“The results were in line with our high expectations for both groups of students.
“We had been confident that year 11 would achieve excellent results this year and their efforts over the last two years have be rewarded.”
Bath Academy headteacher, Mr Tim Naylor, is also pleased with the outcome for their students. He added: “We teach students with a wide range of abilities and we are pleased with our GCSE results of 72% grades 9-5. Sadly, the exam boards seem to be pushing the onus for any anomalies back at schools to deal with.
“For example, some of our A-Level grades were down by 4 levels and then corrected back to the deserved grade, which inevitably caused a lot of distress for some students.”
“Over the past few months, I have been continually impressed by our students’ support for each other, their sense of humour and unfailing positivity. This outstanding set of results is just reward.” Says Ms Cusack headmistress at St Gregory’s School.
“Every year the results and headline percentages only tell part of the story and none more so than this year. Whilst the grades demonstrate unequivocal academic success, behind the statistics and the politics there is always a young person who has achieved so much more, both inside the classroom and beyond.
“This year, almost 30% of all GCSE results were graded 7-9, an outstanding accomplishment that maintains the strong academic record at Saint Gregory’s. 70% of grades secured a strong pass with an impressive 88% of grades achieving a standard pass grade.
“Our year 11 students have absolutely earned these results, demonstrating their skills and talents throughout their GCSE studies, allowing us to submit compelling and well-evidenced Centre Assessed Grades to the exam boards.
“I am immensely grateful to all of our teachers who worked through an incredibly rigorous process of assessment and internal moderation to arrive at the grades.
“Our year 11 cohort have consistently demonstrated incredible determination, commitment and hard work. They thoroughly deserve their outstanding grades and I am extremely proud of each and every one of them.”
Cheryl Hughes, Community Reporter