Schools across North Derbyshire have found this year's A-level results day a very "strange" experience and unlike any they have known before.
Despite this, there are record highs for A* and A grades with 27.9% - up from the previous record of 27% in 2011. There are also increases in the number of A* to C grades indicating a more lenient approach.
Some students had arranged to attend schools and colleges and collect their results with suitable social distancing and one-way systems.
While others had their results sent via email but were inviting students to get in touch or call in if they were unhappy with the outcome.
Nationally, it has been estimated that 36% of entries had a lower grade than teachers predicted and 3% were down by two grades after exams were cancelled in May and June because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Several schools are set to appeal some results and are shocked that exam boards have scaled down the grades teachers had originally assessed.
In 2019, schools and colleges across Derby and Derbyshire celebrated some record-breaking results - something that will be harder to establish this year.
Some experts were predicting that the clearing process for people to secure places at university could be very busy as many students cancel planned gap years to take advantage of study during the continuing pandemic.
An anticipated fall in overseas students at British universities is leaving many extra places to be filled.
Around 70 staff and students were taking calls on the University of Derby hotline - 01332592020.
University vice-chancellor Professor Kathryn Mitchell, said:
"For many students uncertain about next steps, clearing may well be an excellent opportunity to find a place at the right university.
"Whether students have done better or worse than they expected, if their gap year plans are on hold, or they think it's not a great time to get a job, Clearing hotlines like ours at the University of Derby can give young people the options they need.
“My advice to applicants is to make sure they are well-informed about the courses and universities they are interested in, and they have all the details at hand they will need to secure their place.
“Our hotline will be open for the next few weeks, but it is important to get in touch as soon as possible to be able to choose from the widest possible range of courses.”
Here's how some of our areas Derbyshire schools fared (this list will be updated when we can):
Anthony Gell School
Sixth form students at Anthony Gell School were given various options as to how they wished to receive their grades this year, with half of the year group opting to come into school to pick up their envelopes.
Anthony Gell’s centre assessed grades coped well with the rigour of the exam board’s standardization process.
The vast majority of students at the school have therefore received grades, which their teachers believe accurately reflects their ability in a wide range of subjects.
Head teacher Malcolm Kelly said:
“The students have responded incredibly well with all the added complications this year and can be very proud of their achievements.
"They are an extraordinary year group who have completed their studies during extraordinary times. These young people have a wide range of talents and have proved once again just how good they are.
"They have fantastic futures ahead of them, and we are very proud of what they have achieved.”
Almost all the students were successful in getting a place at their preferred university. Other students had opted for alternative pathways post sixth form and have successfully gained places on higher level apprenticeships.
Brookfield Community School
Teachers at Brookfield Community School said their achievements had been ‘outstanding’ as many teenagers won places at university or apprenticeships.
Head of sixth form, Sarah Metcalfe-Murgatroyd, said she was
“I am extremely proud In what has been an unprecedented and extremely anxious year, our students have shown tremendous resilience, positivity and determination,”
"It was an absolute pleasure to see them all again today as they collected their results and a joy to see them still actively supporting each other through this very difficult time.
The school says the following students deserve special recognition for their achievements: Fraser Martin, Callum Barber, Jacob Guntley, Thomas Bacon, Cate Davey, Juliet Wornes, Lily Barnes, Rebecca Haines, Kate Ames, Alexandra Thurman, Olivia Hamshaw, Tom Lane, Michael McGregor, Jessica Hall, Joel Nadin and Victoria Ruck.
Chesterfield College students had plenty to celebrate when they collected their final A Level and Vocational results today.
With a 100% A Level pass rate and 76% of students receiving A*to C grades, along with a record number of the highest grades of A* to B, many students have secured their first choice university places.
Megan Ward achieved an A in Psychology, A in English and a C in Criminology
“My psychology grade is exactly what I expected and I’m so happy with the A in English because I was predicted a C, it’s great to see my hard work over the last two years has meant that I’ve shot up two grades. I wasn’t too stressed until last night, I couldn’t sleep until 2am but I just kept trying to tell myself not to worry about it because I can’t change what’s on the paper.
Hannah Murphy, achieved a C in History, C in English Language and a B in English Literature. She explained:
“I’m really, really happy with my results. It’s been a long nervous wait but I’ve been saying to myself, what will be, will be, it’s out of my control with no exams to sit. Studying A Levels has been tough, but being at college has been great. My tutors have been really supportive. I’m now looking forward to studying History at Sheffield Hallam University.
Connor Knowles, got three distinctions* in Level 3 Applied Science and a C in A Level Biology. He told us:
“It’s certainly been different this year waiting for the results, obviously I never expected that I wouldn’t be sitting any exams, I guess it was just left up to fate.
Dronfield Henry Fanshawe School
The percentage of A* - A increased to 28.7 per cent, a three-year high, while more than 85 per cent achieved A* - C, which is significantly above the national average of 78%.
According to the school, however, there have been some ‘unusual outcomes’ which will be appealed against over the coming weeks – in line with the national picture.
The school has announced this year’s year 13 cohorts have achieved ‘some very pleasing examination results’.
According to the school, of particular note at A-level were the achievements of Georgia Davies, Abbie Thompson, Charlotte Bramall, Shannon Foss, Alicia Hill, Matthew Markatis, Erin Flanagan, Ife Babatunde and Maisie Hine, among others. Siobhan Calton, Molly Creswick, Luke Jackson, Justin Stimson, Kelsie Willers, and Narissa Darby all achieved distinctions in vocational qualifications.
Alison Burgess, acting principal at Eckington School, said:
“We are delighted with our A-level and vocational results this year and are immensely proud of the achievements of all our students.
“Everyone has had to work extremely hard over the last two years to achieve these outcomes.
“Students and staff have achieved results that do themselves, and the school, great credit.
She added: “Eckington School allows all students to be academically challenged and to ultimately flourish in a caring and supportive learning environment.