19 August 2020

Students at West Nottinghamshire College have been praised for achieving their qualifications in “this most extraordinary of years” after collecting their eagerly-anticipated A-level results today (Thursday 13 August 2020).

Speaking on A-level results day, principal and chief executive Andrew Cropley paid tribute to the ‘class of 2020’ for securing the grades to progress to university, an apprenticeship or employment despite their studies being disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw them complete their courses remotely through online learning and grades awarded by tutor assessment and awarding body moderation.

The college has announced an overall pass rate of 99.4% – which is 1.2% above this year’s national overall pass rate of 98.2% and a 0.6% increase on the college’s results last year.

  • There were 359 A-level entries at the college this year (2019/20) by 130 students;
  • The college achieved 100% pass rates in 14 out of 15 subjects;
  • One-third of all passes were at the ‘high grades’ of A*-B – an increase of almost 7% on the previous year;
  • Over two-thirds of grades were at A*-C, which represented a 3% increase on the year before;
  • In all subjects at least half of students achieved a grade A*-C;
  • Six students achieved A* grades, 33 achieved A, and 80 achieved B – meaning 119 passes were at the high grades;
  • English language recorded a 100% pass rate for the 15th consecutive year;
  • 21% of students that took the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) achieved A*-B.

Principal and chief executive Andrew Cropley said: “In this most extraordinary of years, I’m very pleased that our A-level results have improved and that the majority of students have achieved the outcomes they deserve. Congratulations to all our students who have received their results today. I’m thrilled that so many of them have done extremely well and will be taking up a place at their university-of-choice next month, or embarking on their chosen career from a position of success."

“Whilst the means by which results were derived were very unusual, students, their friends and families who have supported them, and their teachers, should be no less proud of their achievements."

“Although we are delighted that the number of students receiving high grades has significantly improved, we are disappointed that nearly one-third of the grades that we very carefully calculated have been lowered by the awarding bodies and we are urgently taking steps to do what we can to ensure those affected receive the results that they merit."

“Nonetheless, I’m sure all of our students are excited about progressing in their education and careers and I’d like to thank our teachers and support staff who have prepared them very effectively and we look forward to hearing about our students’ future journeys."

“I also commend all our students who have achieved really well in their technical and professional courses or in their apprenticeships. Many of those will also be going off to study on a higher education course or a degree apprenticeship.”

Students collecting their results outlined their next steps after college, and reflected on their experience of online learning throughout lockdown and how grades have been awarded this year.

Matthew Singlehurst, 18, from Mansfield, studied four A-level subjects, gaining A* grades in maths and biology, and As in chemistry and physics.

He said: “I feel great. I did really well, so I’m very pleased. I’ve worked really hard to get these grades."

“I revised most days and always did my home-work. I found learning online throughout lockdown much more difficult, especially staying motivated, with the distractions that come from being at home, but I made sure I knuckled down and got on with it."

“I feel all the hard work has paid off. With these grades I’m going to the University of Nottingham to study physics. I don’t have a particular career in mind at the minute; I’m just going to see what I enjoy at university and take it from there."

“I’ve enjoyed my time at West Notts – I found it better than if I’d gone to sixth-form. There’s more freedom, more choice, and my teachers have been good."

“I’m looking forward to telling my family how I’ve done in my results.”

Also studying four subjects was Patryk Swidnik from Shirebrook. 

The 18-year-old said: “I was so nervous this morning and now I’m overwhelmed! I got A* in maths, A in physics and B grades in chemistry and biology. I even said to myself earlier that if I got an A*, A and two Bs I’d be a happy man – and that’s what I’ve got."

“I want to re-sit chemistry and biology because I need A grades to study medicine at the University of York but I’m okay with that as I’m having a gap year anyway. I’m going to keep working and saving-up money and will do some extra studying as well, such as first aid and other healthcare-related courses. I want to become a consultant surgeon specialising in trauma, either in the Army or in a hospital."

“What really made me decide that medicine was the career for me was last year, on my way home from a night out, my friend and I saw a road traffic collision and we attended the scene and helped the victim until the ambulance arrived. It was a very harrowing situation but I loved stepping-in. “And even better, hearing from her some days later that she’d left from hospital and gone home to her two little girls – that was so very rewarding.”

Molly-May Burchell, 18, from Boughton, collected her results accompanied by her mum, for moral support – and was delighted to gain A grades in history, law and sociology.

She said: “I feel very happy and really glad I did the hard work."

“I was very worried about what grades I’d get. I kept reading newspaper articles saying grades could be lowered this year, which was quite stressful, so I’m very happy with what I’ve got."

“It means I can go to the University of Nottingham, which was my first-choice, to study history. Eventually I’d like to go into teaching, preferably as a university lecturer, possibly teaching abroad.

“Distance-learning was fun – I just sat in my bedroom doing college work! I found it easier than learning at college, because I was sat by myself studying, which worked well for me.”

Proud mum Jess Burchell said: “I’m over the moon for her – she’s worked really hard. With Molly-May being autistic, she’s coped really well with all the changes brought about by lockdown. I’m immensely proud. She absolutely deserves this.”

Nikita Joharchi, 20, from Mansfield also received the grades to get into her first-choice university.

She said: “I’ve just discovered I have A grades in all my subjects – film studies, English literature and psychology."

“I was hoping to have done a little bit better in English as I worked really hard in that subject, but it’s enough to get into university – I’m happy with that. So next I’ll be going to the University of York and studying English literature."

“During lockdown it gave me more time to concentrate on university reading. The University of York gave us about 16 books to read before the start of term and I got through most of them."

“After the initial degree I’d like to study a Masters in Viking studies, or even English, at York. I chose York because of the heavy influence of classical literature and old Norse history – it’s something I’ve been interested in since being a child. I’d like to go into research in the future.

“I think I’ll be celebrating with a pizza tonight!”

Read the full story here.

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