High-flying Northumberland students in Amble celebrate A Level results - but headteacher hits out after downgradings

A Level students at James Calvert Spence College in Amble have chalked up a string of A grades.

Friday, 14th August 2020, 11:11 am
Updated Friday, 14th August 2020, 3:07 pm

Top of the class was Sebastian Bilacz who secured an incredible three A* grades in physics, maths and further maths. He now plans to go to Durham University to study physics and astronomy.

Ella Duffield achieved an A* in biology, A in French and an A* in beography and intends to go to the University of Edinburgh to study geography.

Amelia Davis got an A* in history, A in French and B in English language and now plans to go to the University of Leeds to study linguistics and French.

A Level students at James Calvert Spence College in Amble.

Patrick Ong secured an A* in maths, A in further maths and a B in physics and now intends to study accounting at Newcastle University.

Charlotte Stott managed AAB grades in geography, chemistry and biology and now plans to study physiotherapy at Sheffield Hallam University.

Neil Rodgers, executive headteacher, said: “A Level results day at James Calvert Spence College is quite different today. We have tried to retain as much ‘normality’ as possible and being a relatively small sixth form has allowed us to continue to welcome students to receive their results in person, with appropriate social distancing measures in place.

“Being a Sixth Form with a Year 13 cohort of just 41 students enables us to judge our students’ performance accurately, with our Centre Assessed Grades (CAGs) the result of lots of hard work from subject teachers, and checks and balances from school leaders.

Ella Duffield and Amelia Davis.

"We collated that information and compared the data to last year, to ensure our predictions were in line with our school performance. We are confident that the grades we submitted to the exam boards were fair and representative of the exam results each student would get in their exams, had they been able to sit them.

“It is, therefore, highly disappointing to see that around 75% of our students have had at least one of their grades lowered. They deserved better.

"As a mathematician, I understand the need for a statistical model to be applied – where would we be if every teacher assessed every student as an A* candidate? But, as a headteacher who cares immensely about the students I’ve watched grow, mature and work incredibly hard, I am devastated that many of our students haven’t received the grades they would have achieved under exam conditions.

"We will work with them to ensure the appeals process is followed and they get the grades they deserve.

Charlotte Stott.

“That said, the vast majority of our students received grades that enable them to leave us and attend their first choice of university. I am extremely proud of every one of them and their magnificent achievements.

While it’s always sad to say goodbye to our students, all the staff at JCSC wish them good luck for the future knowing that they leave us as well-rounded young adults, ideally prepared for whatever life throws at them.”

Northumberland County Council has applauded the work of the county’s students with many celebrating their achievements in what has been another good year for schools.

Dean Jackson, director of education said: “Young people in Northumberland have continued to amaze me; how they have continued their studies at home, returned to school if able, supported others throughout the pandemic and now collecting results that they have not sat exams for, but instead are being awarded based on their previous assessments and work in school. It is a lot to deal with and you should all be proud of yourselves.

Sebastian Bilacz.

“I know how important A Level results day is for you, and what it means for your next steps whether that is in further education, starting an apprenticeship or getting a job and I wish you all the best in your chosen path.”

Due to COVID-19, results are based on information submitted to the exam boards which has been moderated nationally.

For many this could mean their expected progression is less certain than if they had had the opportunity to sit examinations in the traditional way. Students are advised to speak with their school to discuss their grades and what this means for them moving forward.

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