South Tyneside students react to GCSE results day

South Tyneside students delighted to be given the grades they deserve but say they don’t feel as proud as they would have done had they sat their exams.

Thursday, 20th August 2020, 4:17 pm

The coronavirus outbreak meant students across the country weren’t able to sit their exams. And following A Level results chaos, a series of U-turns meant GCSE students in in England have now been awarded the higher grade of either their teachers’ assessment of the moderated grade.

Some students at Hebburn’s St Joseph’s Catholic Academy feel they would have felt a greater sense of accomplishment had they been able to sit their exams – and wish they could have had the chance to prove they could achieve more.

St Joseph’s student Emma Swinney was graded eight 9s and two 8s on Thursday morning (August 20) and will study geography, chemistry and maths at A Level with the hope of studying to become a paramedic at university.

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Poppy Doherty, Billy Maher and Emma Swinney who all attend St Joseph's Catholic Academy

"It’s weird because you’re really happy about it but you don’t feel as proud as you would if you’d actually sat the exams,” said the 16-year-old.

"I’m happy for myself but I don’t feel the same sense of achievement I would have had.”

While Poppy Doherty, 16, who was graded nine 9s and an 8, said: "It’s been quite stressful because we didn’t know how we were going to get the grades. I have enjoyed all of the time off but I’d rather have sat the exams. I would have had a bigger sense of accomplishment.

"I’m going to stay on here to do my A Levels in maths, further maths, chemistry and law.”

Students at Harton Academy celebrate their GCSE results

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But without exams students didn’t have a chance to rise above expectations.

Billy Maher, 16, who was graded one 7, six 6s, one 5 and one 4, said: “I’m happy. I think I could have done better if I had a chance to sit the exams. It’s annoying but there’s nothing else I could have done.”

St Joseph’s Catholic Academy’s headteacher Peter Mitchell said: "We welcome the government’s decision to award pupils with their Centre Assessed Grades for both GCSE’s and A-levels. The CAGs have been subject to a robust and rigorous standardisation process and provide a much better reflection of the ability of the students than a mathematical algorithm.”

At Harton Academy, grades in English and Maths commensurate with previous years and the headteacher is confident they would have been achieved had students sat their exams.

Sir Ken Gibson, executive headteacher, said: “Despite the immense challenges presented to schools in this unprecedented year in terms of A level results last week and GCSE results today, I can honestly say that I am immensely proud of every single student.

"The results, which have been issued today (although some are to be finalised next week) have been a true and accurate reflection of the students’ natural ability, incredible work ethic and honest determination."

At St Wilfrid’s RC College, teachers have congratulated the success of all students including Hannah Ebberson, who received nine 9s in nine and an 8 grade; Beverley Gonsalves, who achieved six 9s and four 8s grades; and Amanda Taylor who received six 9s and four 8s grades.

Acting headteacher Mark Price said: “They have shown great resilience during the unprecedented challenges they have faced in recent months, we are incredibly proud of what they have achieved academically and the young people they have become.

“The success of our students would not have been possible without the ongoing contributions of our whole school community; teachers, support staff, parents and carers, all of whom have supported, encouraged, prompted and challenged each student to be the best they can be.”

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