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Summer examinations

2018 Congratulations to A-Level Students image

On 18 March 2020, the Secretary of State for Education announced that the summer 2020 AS and A level exam series would be cancelled in order to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Students due to sit the exams would instead be awarded a grade based on a teacher assessment of the grade they would have been most likely to achieve had exams gone ahead, based on a range of evidence and data, including performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment.

To ensure the process was fair, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) has put all school assessment grades through an external standardisation process to better ensure that grades are comparable between schools and consistent with past and future years.

Secondary leaders have reported that the process of awarding grades was incredibly difficult. They have worked hard to ensure that the grades they have awarded have been fair and represent the potential of each student. The grades a student receives may or may not be the ones that were given by their teachers.

Coucillor Dominic Boeck, West Berkshire's Executive Member for Education, Children and Young People said:

"One thing is clear however, and that is that students and teachers have worked extremely hard across West Berkshire and should be congratulated for their efforts. I very much hope that the grades and qualifications awarded allow our young people to move on through the next phase of their learning journey as they had hoped."

Jacquie Davies, Headteacher of iCollege said:

"Collaboration and support for learners leads to great success. Schools working with iCollege are celebrating with many students today. One learner from The Downs School, who has been supported has achieved an English A level which allows her to continue her education at The University of Winchester in September. Due to continued collaboration with iCollege and a number of education partners, another learner has achieved an A* in Philosophy."

Congratulations on receiving your qualification results this summer. For the majority of you, your results will help you take your planned next steps in to further study, training, Apprenticeship or employment. For others, you may now be considering a different pathway, or even be unsure of where to go next. As with previous years, there is always lots of support and guidance available to help you make the right decision. Whilst the way grades were awarded this year have been different, the value they carry are exactly the same as any other.  Further information can be found on Gov.uk.

Initially, you should discuss your results and possible options with those who know you best at your school, college or training provider. They will be able to discuss potential options, including progression on to further or higher education if you have narrowly missed out on required entry grades, achieved better grades than you expected or achieved less well than expected and want to explore options around retaking exams in the autumn. If you had already received an offer of further study, training, apprenticeship or employment, please contact your university, college, training provider or employer to confirm the place as soon as you can.

If you are still considering options, talk to your teachers, tutors and family, and take a look at some of the following:

  • further education - Newbury College offer a range of courses at various levels, including apprenticeships and vocational/technical pathways up to degree level and beyond!
  • apprenticeships and traineeships - West Berkshire Training Consortium offer a range of employment focussed programmes including Great Start, traineeships, new enhanced traineeships and apprenticeships
  • careers advice - along with your school, college or training provider, the Careers and Enterprise Company will be offering support throughout the summer, including the My Choices resource.  A series of webinars and projects delivered locally offering young people and parents/guardians tailored information and support

These are just a few suggestions to get you started. There are other options available to you, such as volunteering.

Remember that not all decisions need to be made on the day itself and you will have plenty of time to find something that is right for you. Make the time to talk to others, particularly if you are feeling overwhelmed by it all. There is always someone to talk to, such as Time to Talk West Berkshire or the NHS for further advice on mental health support.