East Devon GCSE students told ‘walk tall, you should be proud’ as schools and colleges celebrate results

Praise has been heaped on GCSE students celebrating results in East Devon, who have been told ‘walk tall – you should be proud’.

Months of uncertainty came to an end on Thursday (August 20) when students collected their results after being prevented from sitting exams when the Government called a halt on the assessments because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Schools and colleges across East Devon today celebrated their students’ hard work and commitment, and spoke of their pride in how pupils had coped in the face of adversity.

Exmouth Community College said it was ‘delighted’ with the grades achieved by its students, while Sidmouth College said its pupils were ‘a credit’ to the college and ‘a remarkable group of young people’.

Students at Honiton Community College were told to ‘walk tall’ by staff proud of their achievements.

Clyst Vale Community College, at Broadclyst, said it was celebrating one of its best sets of GCSE results ever.

The King’s School, in Ottery St Mary, said its students’ results were ‘a cause for celebration’.

The Government said GCSE students from East Devon, and across the country, received centre assessment grade from their school or college.

Exmouth Community College said 15 per cent of GCSE entries were at Grades 8 and 9; 30 per cent were at Grades 7-9; 72 per cent at Grades 5-9 and 87 per cent at Grades 4-9.

College principal Andrew Davis said: “Within these grades there were some exceptional individual performances at all grades, particularly where certain individual students have worked so hard with their staff to fulfil their potential and overcome their own personal barriers and challenges.”

He said the decision by the Department for Education to use Centre Assessed Grades was ‘the correct one’.

Mr Davis said he was ‘proud’ of his A-Level and GCSE students ‘for the mature and dignified way that they have dealt with these challenging circumstances’.

He said: “On this basis, we strongly believe that our students richly deserve these grades that they have received today which recognise and reward the efforts of those students over time and provide a really strong foundation for their next steps.”

He added: “It is important to recognise that the students receiving these grades have had an exceptionally hard time throughout the lockdown period with missing key events such as their prom, leavers’ assembly and have missed out on the opportunity to prove themselves through the examination system where we know that for many they will have done well.”

Mr Davis said: “There is no doubt in my mind, or that of all the staff who, over weeks, were involved in the production and moderation of these grades, that our students deserve every single one of them. They earned them.

“Students and their families should be exceptionally proud of their achievements and know that the grades their children have achieved are hard won and the result of large amounts of effort over the past two years by both themselves and our staff.”

Sarah Parsons, Sidmouth College Principal, said staff were ‘devastated’ students were robbed of their chance to sit their exams, adding today’s results deserved to be celebrated.

She said: “This remarkable group of young people have been a credit to themselves and Sidmouth College – not only during the last five months but over the past five years.

“The qualities that they have shown, commitment to their studies, positive attitudes to their learning, resilience, determination to succeed, and desire to aim high, have meant that they are today finally able to see the rewards of this hard work.

“We were devastated that our students were unable to sit their final exams and missed out on the opportunity to showcase their knowledge and skills within the formal examinations.

“The results that our students have received today are a true reflection of their potential and should now be celebrated.”

Staff at Honiton Community College said its students deserved praise and should ‘walk tall’ and be applauded for their GSCE results, saying the centre assessed grades were ‘arguably a fairer way to portray the true potential of students’.

Head of Year 11, Tom Skelding, said: “Each and every one of our students should feel incredibly proud of how they have coped in the face of such adversity and in years to come reflect on what has been the strangest of times.”

Clyst Vale Community College students were praised for their ‘brilliant results’ and celebrated achieving more top grades 7-9 than ever before.

The college said almost all GCSE subjects improved on last year.

A Clyst Vale Community College spokesperson said: “The class of 2020 has posted the highest ever progress score in the college’s history, including both English and Maths, and a significant rise compared to last year.

“Our students achieved more top grades 7-9 than ever before.

“Almost all GCSE subjects improved on last year.

“There were some excellent individual results for students who would undoubtedly have done as well or even better if they had sat their exams.”

Richard Gammon, The King’s School headteacher, at Ottery St Mary, said its students’ GCSE results were ‘a cause for celebration’, and urged pupils to put the uncertainty of the past few months behind them.

The Government said students who received their A or AS level results last Thursday (August 13) are to be reissued their centre assessment grade.

If students’ calculated grades were higher than the centre assessment grade, their original calculated grade will stand.

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