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GCSE results: Reaction from Medway

Students from across the Towns are receiving those all important GCSE results today.

The Class of 2020 had already put up with unprecedented disruption, and that was without the row over algorithms.

Gabriella Leitourgi - happy with results at the Thomas Aveling School, Rochester
Gabriella Leitourgi - happy with results at the Thomas Aveling School, Rochester

Teenagers in Kent and Medway collecting GCSE results today are to be given the marks their teachers think they would have got should they have sat exams, as the fallout from results continues.

Staff and pupils at Chatham's Greenacre Academy adopted a"business as usual" approach during lockdown, despite the confusion over exam results and challenges over the last few months.

The Walderslade secondary school ensured that education was delivered to all children, providing written papers for the large percentage of children without computers or internet access.

It also ensured pupils were properly nourished, raising money to prepare and deliver food parcels for the most vulnerable.

Following last week’s mix-up over A-level exam results, today heralded the GCSE results that will help to determine the futures of thousands of teenagers throughout the UK.

Top marks - (from left) Euan Kemm,William Bunyan and Jack Burnham
Top marks - (from left) Euan Kemm,William Bunyan and Jack Burnham

Head teacher Shelly Bridger said: “It’s always a nerve-wracking experience every year for the teachers and students when they receive their GCSE and A-level results but this year has been exceptionally difficult because of official indecisiveness, last minute changes and most of all, enormous added stress for our students who were expecting to sit exams.

"We have been exceptionally thorough in delivering grades, ensuring cross checking and accountability for any official level of marking.

“Everyone has worked so hard throughout their GCSE courses and lockdown as well, and we are very pleased with the dedication and determination of our students.

“Results are now all centre assessed grades. We went through several stages of moderation and standardisation of our professional predictions and feel the students have now been rightly awarded grades by those who know them and their capabilities best.

“This has enabled them to secure the most accurate grades so that they can look forward to their future careers or continuing education.

Star pupil James Campbell
Star pupil James Campbell

"While BTEC and CTEC results are still to come, a number of our students have achieved outstanding results, including: James Campbell, Kyle Ladbrook, Houssien Majid, Byron Osiyemi, Harry Parker, Aiden Smith, Owen Summers and Sam Weller.

"We wish them all well and every success on their journey into adulthood and their chosen careers."

At the Will Adams School in Gillingham, it was another successful year in exams.

Assistant head teacher Susan Wade said: "We have seen great results especially in art and English.

"Our students have worked extremely hard this academic year. We would like to celebrate Shannon Martin’s results as she worked tirelessly both in and out of school, and has achieved 12 qualifications with a grade 6 in art and really deserves her success.

"Three of our students have completed a course in multi skills at Catch 22 in Maidstone, and we have had success in our new DT department with four students achieving a level 2 qualification."

Shannon Martin at the Will Adams School, Gillingham
Shannon Martin at the Will Adams School, Gillingham

Months of uncertainty ended ended at Rochester's Thomas Aveling School with scores of pupils delighted with their GCSE results.

After last week's mix-up with A-level grades, which led to a dramatic government U-turn, many of them had been anxious their marks might be lowered.

But the smiles on their faces as they trooped out of the secondary in Arethusa Road after the socially-distanced certificate presentation said it all. The school also gave them a "Leavers" hoodie as a keepsake.

Deputy head Louise Holden praised the "inspirational" Year 11 group for working so hard in challenging times.

Mrs Holden said: "It has been like no other year and a bit subdued. But we have had a good turnout this morning from both pupils and teachers who came along to celebrate their success."

Deputy head, Louise Holden at the Thomas Aveling School, Rochester
Deputy head, Louise Holden at the Thomas Aveling School, Rochester

She said a higher than usual number had decided to stay on at sixth form.

She said: "We were able to give places to everyone who applied for sixth form. They have adapted well, considering the circumstances.

"I think many have decided to stay on because of the stability. They feel safe here and the teachers faces are familiar."

Among the top-achieving pupils was Mia Cook, 16, who picked up 10 passes.

Proud mum Serina was with her to share her joy, along with her other daughter Demi, eight.

Serina, who is currently studying for a nursing degree at Christ Church, Canterbury, said: "It's been hard enough for me, so what must it be like for a 16-year-old?"

The family were planning to celebrate with a trip to the beach and a bag of chips.

Mia, who admitted to being a "little overwhelmed", is going on to take A-levels in chemistry, biology and psychology.

Alfie Calder, 16, was equally delighted with his results which mean he can now go on to study applied science, health and social care and psychology.

He said: "After all that has happened and with what happened with A-levels last week, I feel the pressure has lifted."

Gabriella Leitourgi, 16, said: "I'm really pleased. I did better than expected. I have faith in our teachers."

She is going on to take A-levels in textiles, sociology and media.

Head teacher Paul Jackson said that in December, mock grades were the highest the school had seen from a year group and therefore it was no surprise that the final results were also the best the school has seen.

He added: “I am really pleased for the students – they thoroughly deserve the grades they have received today and which set them up for a bright future.

"Many will be staying in our sixth form – they knew this several months ago as we assured them we would honour their teacher grades when it looked like there would be a moderation process. Others are going to college and a small group are starting apprenticeships.

"We want them all to keep in touch with us and let us know how bright their futures are turning out to be – they are a great year group and we wish them well."

At King’s Rochester, pupils are celebrating another year of outstanding GCSE results.

When schools were forced to close in March, pupils were able to continue their studies seamlessly using the school's remote learning programme.

More than 31% of all grades are in the top 9-8 (A*) bracket and 50% at 9-7 (A*-A).

Former Cathedral chorister Oliver Davis was delighted with his straight run of 11 grades 9-8 (A*) including 9s in biology, chemistry and physics. Classmate Luke Stringer achieved 10 straight 9-8s (A*) including 9s in religious studies, English literature, English language and mathematics.

Jude Leigh and Scarlett Surgeoner achieved straight 9-7s across their subjects including 9s in design and technology and computer science for Jude and a 9 in Latin for Scarlett.

Chinese boarder Neo Yang celebrates 10 grades 9-8 (A*-A) and Daisy Xia returns to Cyprus with 10 grades 9-6 (A*-A). Likewise, scholars Phoebe Revell and Lily Sheppard were both over the moon with their 10 grades 9-7 (A*-A).

Individual departments also have cause to celebrate. Art and Design achieved more than 30% of their results at grade 9 and the recently refurbished computer science department realised 62% at 9-7. Drama achieved 62% at 9-7 and modern foreign languages over 60% at grades 9-7 in French, German, Russian and Spanish.

With music so strong at King’s, all pupils achieved at grades 9-6 including nine (A*) for Edward Hyde, 2016 BBC Radio 2, Cathedral Chorister of the Year. Alongside his studies he has also performed as a soloist at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and at the Royal Albert Hall, as well as playing with the Royal Academy of Music Junior Department.

Ben Charles, principal of King’s Rochester said: “2020 has been an incredibly difficult year. I am very proud of the resilience and determination our pupils have shown, both in their approach to their academic work, but also in the face of lockdown life in general.

"Today’s excellent results are well-deserved and I am enormously grateful to the staff for guiding them through these last two years of study, and the last five months in particular."

There were congratulations all round at St John Fisher Catholic School in Chatham.

Head teacher Dympna Lennon said: "I am proud of all our Year 11 students, who have achieved some brilliant results in a very challenging year for them. These outcomes are proof of the wonderful working relationships between our excellent staff and students. I look forward to seeing what they will achieve in two years’ time when they graduate from SJF’s sixth form."

Head of Year 11 Stephanie Morris said: "Congratulations to our Year 11 students on their results. These are testament to the resilience and determination that they have demonstrated, not only during the global pandemic, but throughout their time at SJF. It has been a pleasure to be their head of year."

Among the high-achieving pupils were: Natalia Ziolkowska (three grade 9s, five grade 8s, two grade 7s); Brendan Gosha (four grade 9s, two grade 8s, one grade 7, one grade 6, one grade 5); Inioluwa Falowo, (two grade 9s, four grade 8s, two grade 6s, one grade 5); Lois Samper-Moore (two grade 9s, three grade 8s, two grade 7s, two grade 6s); Muntaha Ahmed (four grade 8s, three grade 7s, one grade 6); Zizi Igiehon (one grade 9, two grade 8s, one grade 7, four grade 6s, one grade 5).

Across the year, 14% of all grades were grades 7-9, 48% of all grades were 5-9 and 67% of all grades were grades 4-9.

Rainham School for Girls welcomed Year 11 students back to school to collect their GCSE results.

In what has been a challenging year for students who left school in March knowing that their exams had been cancelled, they could finally see the results of their hard work.

Head of School Vicky Shaw said: "We are pleased with the results overall but, what has mattered most this year is that our students have exam results that reflect their efforts over the previous two years.

"I am pleased that, eventually, our students have been awarded a fair set of exam results.

"In this extraordinary year, it is not appropriate to make comparisons with previous years or cite special individual performances, but to celebrate the performance of all of our pupils."

Cllr Martin Potter, portfolio holder for education and schools at Medway Council, said: “Hundreds of young people across Medway will receive their GCSE results today and I hope they will be happy with their results.

"I am pleased that earlier this week the government listened to young people and schools across the country and that the results will be based on teachers’ predictions, unless the computer algorithm gave a higher grade.

“If you are unhappy with your results, or are unsure of what to do next we would encourage you to talk to your school in the first instance.

"Our Information Advice and Guidance team is also available to provide support and guidance to young people in Medway, including writing a CV, career advice and applying for further education.

Cllr Martin Potter welcomed the changes to results. Picture: Medway Council
Cllr Martin Potter welcomed the changes to results. Picture: Medway Council

"We know this year has been especially challenging for children and young people but they have adapted incredibly well.

"I would like to wish all of Medway’s young people who have received exam results this year the very best as they enter the next phase of their education, start an apprenticeship or begin full-time employment.”

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

If you missed last week's A-level coverage, click here

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