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Pupils receive their A-level results in year like no other; grading u-turn after students' big day.

Byline: AARON MAYHEW aaron. mayhew@reachplc.com @essexlive

SCHOOLS across Brentwood, Wickford and Billericay celebrated students receiving their A-level results in unusual circumstances.

This year's results were based on a combination of predictions by teachers and historical averages, due to the Covid-19 pandemic preventing exams from being taken. The Government announced on August 11 that pupils could appeal if they had achieved a higher grade in their mock exams.

And then in another U-turn announced on Monday, the Government said students who had seen their grades marked down by an algorithm devised by Ofqual, would have their grades increased.

Almost 40 per cent of grades had been reduced from their teachers' predictions.

Due to the pandemic most schools did not ask students to come in to collect their results and instead sent them out by email.

But that was not the case at Becket Keys Church of England School, in Sawyers Hall Lane, Brentwood, where the process was "business as usual" and students went in to collect their results.

The school said social-distancing measures were observed and careful hand hygiene processes were followed. Plastic screens separated students from the teachers who gave them their envelope.

Head teacher Andy Scott-Evans said: "It was an exciting and emotional day, but one that the staff of the school did not want students to miss out on.

"This cohort has missed so much, this was one rite of passage that we were not going to give up on easily.

"I am incredibly proud of them all and have thoroughly enjoyed seeing them all today and hearing about the next steps of their educational journey."

Brentwood County High School (BCHS) said its A-level and BTEC results improved from last year, with highlights being one student with three A*s, two with two A*s and two As, and three students with one A* and two As.

One student said: "Whilst I am very sad to leave BCHS behind, I am very grateful for the young woman it has shaped me into. It made me stronger and more resilient, and certainly showed me how important it is to stand up for what I believe in.

"Leaving BCHS is bitter-sweet. I feel so blessed to have had such an amazing secondary school experience - BCHS will always have a very special place in my heart."

A spokesman for the Anglo European School in Ingatestone said: said: "Despite all that the world has thrown at them this year, [students] have accepted the outcomes with grace, resilience and a determination to make the most of the opportunities afforded them. Not only have they secured grades they can be proud of, but they have done so in the most trying of circumstances.

One of the school's top achievers was Marcel Afunyah, who gained two A*s in maths and chemistry and two As in further maths and physics.

Marcel has been accepted at Warwick University to study computer systems engineering and hopes to progress to research astro physics.

Students from Shenfield High School will be attending a range of prestigious universities such as Durham, King's College, London, and St Andrews and will be studying for a diverse range of degree courses.

Head teacher Carole Herman said: "Our students have had a very challenging time during the last few months with the opportunity to take their exams, and the usual rites of passage associated with the end of their schooling, taken away from them. We are as proud of our students as we always are.

"They have responded to these unprecedented times with fortitude and we hope that the grades that they have been awarded will allow them to go on to the next stage of their education and lives. We wish them every success for the future."

At Brentwood School 19 students got all A*s and As, with four off to Oxford or Cambridge, while 59 students are going to their first choice university.

Among the star performers was Joel Runevic, who achieved A*s in physics, economics, maths and further maths. Joel will be applying for a scholarship at a US university and said he explored his passions while waiting for his results.

"I was mainly working on 'Only-Physics', an international non-profit organisation that I set up with a few peers," he said. "During the summer, we've helped hundreds of students from all walks of life in ensuring that they are able to succeed in STEMrelated subjects."

Catherine Prior and James Willy both received three A*s and an A, and will be attending Newham College, Cambridge and Keble College, Oxford.

Beth Whiskerd received three A*s in German, Latin and Greek and will study, classics at Pembroke College, Cambridge, while Rachael White, who achieved an A*, A and B in English literature, history and religious studies, will study English language with literature at Pembroke College, Oxford.

Rania Milki achieved two A*s in economics and maths and two As in physics and further maths, and will be attending Imperial College London to study geophysics.

Headmaster Michael Bond said: "I'm very proud of the resilience and resolve of our sixth form students.

"It's been such a strange year and not how they expected to finish their time at Brentwood at all, but they've dealt with it admirably and have handled the last few months with maturity and positivity."

In Wickford students at the Bromfords School and Sixth Form College celebrated after 95 per cent of students earned places at their firstchoice university.

Head teacher Neill Dunn said: "I am exceptionally proud of our students today. Having missed out on so much in their final year of school, not least their final examination series, it was a pleasure to see so many bright and enthusiastic young people ready to embark on the next stage of their lives.

"Their optimism and positivity at such a difficult time is an inspiration to us all."

Maddie Thomas achieved two A*s and one B and is now off to Loughborough to study maths, while Jake Stevens will move on to Cardiff University to study chemistry. Alex Gear is looking forward to starting her career as an accountant with Grant Thornton after securing A*A B, Distinction*.

Laura Petch, head of sixth form, said: "We are really proud of our students today, and excited to set them off on their new adventures."

CAPTION(S):

A pupil at Becket Keys School

Bromfords School A-level students

A pupil at Becket Keys School

A pupil at Bromfords School

A pupil at Becket Keys School IAN DAVIDSON

Beth Whiskerd, of Brentwood School

Rachael White, of Brentwood School

Bromfords School A-level students

Catherine Prior, of Brentwood School

James Willy, of Brentwood School
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Author:AARON MAYHEW aaron. mayhew@reachplc.com @essexlive
Publication:Brentwood Gazette (Essex, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 19, 2020
Words:1113
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