As young people across the UK receive their A level results, a council has praised students, schools and colleges for their dedication during challenging and unprecedented times.
Durham County Council recognises that this year’s A level results are born out of a unique set of circumstances and many students cannot mark the day as they would have liked.
With students unable to sit their final exams due to the coronavirus pandemic, teachers in England submitted predicted grades to exam boards. The boards then took into account data from previous years to adjust the marks, with the aim of ensuring consistency. However, the process has resulted in some young people not achieving the grades they had hoped for.
In County Durham, A level results are in line with last year, when the average grade was a B minus. Applied General and Tech Level results have improved slightly, with the average grade now a Distinction compared to Distinction minus.
This is encouraging but disguises discrepancies between schools and individual pupils, and the council understands some headteachers will be appealing results on behalf of pupils where there is evidence of their grades being moderated down for no apparent reason.
Cllr Olwyn Gunn, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for children and young people’s services said: “On behalf of the council I would like to let everyone who has received their A level results know how incredibly proud we are of you all.
“Whatever grades you received, please be assured that we are working hard to ensure there are opportunities for you to follow your dreams in County Durham as we recover from the impact of the pandemic.
“Support is available, and I would encourage anyone who is unhappy to seek it out. It is more important than ever that we look after out mental health and wellbeing.”
Cllr Gunn also extended her praise and thanks to schools, colleges and sixth form centres across the county, adding: “This has been an immensely challenging time for schools and colleges, which have had to adapt quickly to implement new arrangements.
“This is on top of the pressures of continuing to run schools for the children of key workers and those with additional needs, while supporting the majority of pupils remotely.
“We are so grateful to all education providers for their hard work and commitment to children and young people in County Durham. There are still challenges ahead and we will do everything in our power to support schools and colleges when the new academic year begins.”
Those looking for careers advice can find out about the council’s apprenticeship programmes and adult learning and employability courses at www.durham.gov.uk/jobsandcareers
The mental health and wellbeing community Kooth is offering support to young people via its website www.kooth.com and social media channels, @KoothUK on Facebook or @Kooth_UK on Instagram.
The charity Student Minds is also offering support and guidance online at www.studentminds.org.uk