Updated: Maelor School and Coleg Cambria students receive their A Level results
Hundreds of students across Wrexham are waking up this morning to the results of their AS and A Levels.
The circumstances around this year’s results have been exceptionally unusual, with exams cancelled earlier this year when the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Instead an “alternative way” to grading A Level and GCSE students was put in place.
Concerns have been voiced that it will result in a repeat of what happened in Scotland, where many pupils were unhappy that they had been awarded lower grades than they had been predicted.
However Yesterday Education Minister Kirsty Williams announced that A Level grades in Wales cannot be lower than a student’s AS grade.
The minister also confirmed that “all appeals will be free for Welsh students, to ensure there is no financial barrier to ensure learners feel their exam grades are fair.”
The results in Wales for A, AS level and the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate (ASCC) have increased in Wales but are broadly similar to recent years:
* 29.9% achieved an A* or A for A level, up 2.9 percentage points from 2019.
* 22.2% achieved an A for AS, up 1.9 percentage points from last year.
* 22.6% achieved an A* or A in the ASCC, up 1.1 percentage points from last year.
* 98.6% achieved A*-E at A level compared with 97.6% in 2019.
* 91.4% achieved A-E at AS level compared with 90.0% in 2019.
The number of A level qualifications entries in Wales continues to fall, standing at 30,448 this year compared with 31,483 in 2019, a decrease of 3.3%. There has been a steady decline since 2015 when 36,034 A level qualifications were taken.
At the Maelor School, Penley over 80 Year 13 A level students received their results from The Maelor Sixth these in unusual circumstances.
Headteacher Simon Ellis commented “There already has been, and will be, plenty of discussion about the way in which grades have been calculated this year.
“What I do know is that this year group have proved themselves to be dedicated, hardworking and resilient in very challenging circumstances.
“Whether they have been with us for the past seven years or joined from another secondary school at 16, their approach to their studies means that they deserve to achieve the very best grades.
“The results are yet again outstanding and reflect the sixth forms performance over the past five years. We will be following their careers closely as they progress either through university, training or employment and I know their approach to the recent situation has made them adaptable as well as academically strong.”
“Director of 6th Form Mrs Penny Ellwood said “I am delighted with what this year group have achieved, and to have done it in these circumstances is remarkable.
“We will continue to support them to access their preferred university or apprenticeship over the next few weeks. They deserve to be congratulated and know that despite their examinations being cancelled, they have earned every grade awarded. I look forward to the day that we can celebrate together at our rearranged prom.”
Speaking this morning, Ms Williams said: “I want to send my very best wishes to everyone who receives their A-level, AS, Welsh Bacc and vocational qualification grades today.
“Due to the many changes we’ve had to make this year in exceptional circumstances, you’ve had to make many sacrifices.
“But you have every reason to be proud of all the work you’ve done, which will serve you well, and proud of the determination you have shown to overcome this challenging time.
“I hope you get the grades you’d hoped for, and you can continue with your educational journey in the autumn. Although many of you will be pleased with your results and excited for your next step, if you didn’t get what you’d hoped, there’s plenty of options & advice on Working Wales.
“Best of luck, and best wishes for the future.”
Coleg Cambria retained its position as Wales’ leading further education institution with an overall pass rate of 99.7 per cent.
However, with national uncertainty over grade changes in past days the college is focused on supporting students whose marks may have been adversely affected.
Despite the Coronavirus impacting upon programmes and courses at Deeside Sixth Form Centre and Yale in Wrexham, learners were able to complete their studies in lockdown thanks to the actions of caring staff using innovative technology, video conferencing and online platforms.
Many will now go on to university and their future careers, to the delight of Cambria’s Chief Executive, Yana Williams.
“The way our students met the challenges of COVID-19 was truly inspiring,” she said.
“They may not have had the opportunity to sit exams and finish the curriculum onsite, but behind closed doors continued to work hard and achieve excellence.
“These results reflect their hard work over the last two years, and though there is still some caution due to events nationally, we are here with any support and advice they need in the days and weeks ahead.”
Ms Williams added: “We continue to prepare for the next academic year and look forward to welcoming new students to the college this autumn.
“The most up to date information on when and how we plan to open will be on our website and social media channels over the coming weeks.”
Among those celebrating stellar results was Yale student Imaan Khan, who is off to study Economics and Management Studies at Cardiff University after achieving A*s in Business and Welsh Baccalaureate, an A in English and English Literature, and a B in Economics.
The Wrexham site’s Student of the Year Delyth Roberts overcame Crohn’s Disease to secure A*s in History, Geography and English and will now attend the world-renowned Corpus Christi College at the University of Cambridge to take History.
Joining her in the city will be Abby Cooper; the 18 year-old, from New Brighton, near Mold, is to take Natural Sciences after receiving four A*s and an A in Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Further Maths and the Welsh Baccalaureate. She enjoyed her time at Deeside Sixth Form Centre and thanked lecturers for their encouragement.
Others to secure the grades they needed were:
Charlotte Hawkins (Yale) with an A* in Welsh Baccalaureate, As in Maths and Biology, and a B in Chemistry. Charlotte, from Wrexham, will study Medicine at Cardiff University after overcoming Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and being inspired by the doctors who helped with her recovery.
Matthew Barnes (Deeside) who received an A* in Media, an A in English and a B in Politics to get him a place on the Politics and International Relations degree at the University of Sheffield. Matthew, from Flint, has been keeping Calon FM listeners entertained during lockdown with his popular Sunday radio show.
Katherine Williams (Deeside) is off to Cambridge to study Classics after achieving an A* in Maths with Cambria, taking her overall total to two A*s and two As.
Emily Baines (Yale) can pursue her aspirations to become an orthotist following A*s in Maths, and Chemistry and As in Physics and French. The Marford 18 year-old will take Prosthetics and Orthotics at the University of Strathclyde – ranked second in the UK for Medical Technology.
As well as students entering higher education, many will begin advanced apprenticeships with industry-leading organisations.
Principal Sue Price said the college has made strides forward and will learn from past months.
“Since March we have been in unchartered territory, but we quickly and safely ensured our students would continue to receive a first-class education and the best possible care and support,” she said.
“Whatever obstacles we face they will always be our number one priority – congratulations to you all, we wish you every success in the future
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made this a very challenging year for everyone involved in education,” said Chief Executive of Qualifications Wales, Philip Blaker.
“The cancellation of exams meant that we had to find an alternative way of awarding grades to enable learner progression. The method we have chosen is meaningful, robust and has been carefully thought through to be as fair as possible in the circumstances, protecting the value of results.
“We’ve been sharing our approach and guidance throughout this process with schools, colleges, learners and their families and we’ve also been listening.
“We consulted widely on this year’s grading plans that attracted thousands of responses, more than half from young people, which helped inform our thinking before finalising the process for awarding grades and the appeals arrangements.
“We have also regularly shared information to help people understand how grades are calculated.”
Mr Blaker said that Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, had issued a Direction to Qualifications Wales on 12 August, requiring the regulator to pay due regard to a new policy that A level learners should not receive a grade in a subject in Summer 2020 that is lower than their corresponding AS level grade.
“This rule is being introduced after the initial release of results by WJEC to schools and colleges,” said Mr Blaker.
“Therefore, learners receiving their A level grades should look at the grade awarded to see if it is the same, higher or lower than their AS level grade in that subject.
“If the grade is the same or higher, then no action is required. If, however, the grade is lower it will be replaced with the same grade as that received for the AS level – revised grades will be issued by WJEC as soon as possible.”
Top image: Billy Clubbe . A*A*A*A and is going to St Andrews to study Physics
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