STUDENTS across Sussex have been celebrating after receiving their GCSE results of their first exams since the pandemic began.
Schools across the city and county across the country reported better results than when they last held exams in 2019, with some – like Dorothy Stringer, in Loder Road, Brighton, and Seaford Head School – bucking the national trend and last year’s results improved.
Seaford Head Assistant Principal Jon Purdey described results day as his “proudest moment of the apprenticeship”.
He said: “For the way they have worked over the last five years, these young people fully deserve their incredible results and are now really well positioned for the future.”
Students didn’t let the morning downpour dampen their spirits as they partied with their classmates, with some heading straight to Reading Festival after receiving their results.
The students overcame the disruption in their studies caused by the pandemic to achieve results in the first formal exams in three years, which will help them enter high school, education and the world of work.
Eastbourne College pupil Zain, who achieved a 9th grade in all his subjects, said: “It has been a tough and tumultuous GCSE journey but I am grateful that the culmination of my hard work and the guidance of teachers has helped me have to reach all 9s. ”
The Roedean student Maria Veness attributed her success to the fact that she had to take many mock exams before she could get into eight 9th and one 8th grade.
The 16-year-old from Hove said: “Honestly it’s been really difficult to deal with all the uncertainty around the exams and all the homeschooling upfront which has really slowed down the pace of learning – it’s stressful being at a computer eight hours a day .
“I felt like I needed to have a little word to myself every Sunday about how to stabilize things for the week ahead and just deal with what’s coming my way.”
Maria also paid tribute to her supportive parents, saying: “I’m an only child and during lockdown I only had my mum and dad and nobody else.
“They were on furlough as they work in the airline industry so they were totally there for me and helped me tremendously and I’m really grateful to them for that.”
Stan Knight of Lewes Old Grammar School, celebrating reaching eight 9ths and two 8ths, credited his teachers for their efforts during the pandemic.
He said: “The pandemic certainly didn’t help, but somehow I managed to get into a rhythm and not let the upheavals prevent me from studying. The school and all my teachers have also been good at keeping things as normal as possible.”
Coupled with the Covid disruption, a student has faced the challenge of being treated for a cancer diagnosis just weeks before the new school year begins.
Srimukhi Kalakonda got the news a fortnight after her father was also diagnosed with cancer but managed to secure two Grade 9s, four Grade 8s and one Grade 7 despite undergoing surgery last summer.
Other students achieved amazing results and also achieved great success outside of the classroom.
Roedean student Rose Owens completed a 13-hour charity swim across the English Channel just hours after completing her biology exam.
The 15-year-old joined five other girls to raise £7,000, which will be used to support a group of Ukrainian refugee students starting at the school in September.
Meanwhile, England’s fastest 16-year-old Miles Waterworth secured a golden string of results with nine 9ths and two 8ths after becoming the U17 800m champion, representing England at the Schools International Athletic Board Championships this summer in Belfast.
The Brighton College student said he was “very happy” with his results and will now be in sixth form at the school to continue both his studies and athletics.
Brighton and Hove City Council deputy leader Hannah Clare congratulated the students and said they had done “incredibly well”.
She said: “You should all be very proud of everything you have achieved and I hope you look forward to what’s next.
“Young people who are getting results today have been through some very difficult times because of the pandemic. They have shown tremendous resilience and dedication.
“The staff of our schools, colleges and independent training providers have risen to the challenges they have faced and I am truly grateful for all their hard work.”
Nationally, the proportion of GCSE entries by students who received grade 4 and are considered a pass declined nearly four percent from a year earlier to 73.2 percent, but remained above 2019 levels.
However, the gap between the best and worst performing areas in England widened, with a 10 per cent difference in the number of top marks in the North East and Yorkshire – which was at the bottom of the table compared to London.
Schools Secretary Will Quince has insisted that closing the achievement gap is a “big priority” for the government, but Labor has accused the Tories of “failing” children because of regional disparities in outcomes.
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20759738.celebration-sussex-students-receive-gcse-results/?ref=rss Celebration as Sussex students receive GCSE results