PUPILS across Dorset are celebrating receiving their A level results after seeing out their last months at college in lockdown.

However, revelries have been overshadowed by the downgrading of results due to algorithms used by exam board.

In England, over a third of entries had a lower grade than teachers predicted and three per cent were down two grades, in results for exams cancelled by the pandemic.

Yet, many students from the 22 sixth form colleges in Dorset achieved the necessary grades to confirm their places at university and higher education courses.

After the exam boards’ standardisation procedures, Bournemouth School had an average A level points score of 41 compared to 42 last year, with 43 per cent of entries being graded A* and A, and 89 per cent graded A* to C, compared to 49 and 90 per cent respectively last year.

Headmaster Dr Dorian Lewis said: “Whilst on the surface, our overall results appear to be very good, the standardisation process has been grossly unfair to a number of individual students in a range of subjects.

“We contend that this government-led debacle has been detrimental to both. Our young people deserve better.”

Bournemouth Echo:

Magna Academy are celebrating an impressive set of results, with 100 per cent of students achieved A* to C grades in their A Levels and BTEC equivalent and three quarters of the school’s leavers have successfully gained places at university.

Headteacher Natasha Ullah said: “These are excellent results by any comparison and congratulations are due to students and their teachers who have worked tirelessly to ensure this success is possible. This is a fair reflection of their efforts, despite such turbulent times.”

Four students from Lytchett Minster schools managed to secure places at Oxford and Cambridge after achieving glowing results, while the school revelled in their strongest A level results for years.

Headmaster Andrew Mead said: “The fact that their exams were cancelled should not take anything away from their achievements; we know our students would have much preferred to have been able to show what they were capable of in the examination hall.”

Bournemouth Echo:

The Bourne Academy is delighted with another set of highly positive Sixth Form results, with 21 per cent of students gaining a place Russell Group Universities and 18 per cent of students going on to study medical careers, the highest ever number going into medicine.

Principal Mark Avoth said: “This has been an unbelievably tough year for our Year 13s – they have had so much to endure during the global pandemic and we just want to say how extremely proud we are of their grit and resilience.”

Parkstone Grammar have recorded some exceptional individual awards, with Eve Crocombe, Sophie Edwards and Bella Moore all achieving A* grades across their A Level subjects.

However, the school are using the appeals process to support students who have fallen short of their necessary grades.

Headteacher David Hallsworth said: “We are once again delighted with the performance and application of our students at A Level in what has been like no other year ever experienced.”

Ringwood School were pleased to welcome back students to the school to collect their results, with designated time slots for results collection enforced, as well as restrictions around who is able to come on site and strict social distancing measures.

Bournemouth Echo:

“This has been a school year like no other, and unsurprisingly this has been a results day like no other”, said Headteacher Leanne Symonds.

She added: “Given the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the 2020 results, headline figures will not be published this year.”

The overwhelming majority of pupils at Talbot Heath School have been successful in attaining their first-choice university, including tennis star, Esther Adeshina, who has secured a scholarship in America.

Head of Sixth Form, Anne Klemz said: “Our Upper 6 have showed real grit and resilience in these unprecedented times, and I am delighted that the majority have got into their first-choice universities.”

Bournemouth School for Girls saw an overall increase in A level results with 74 per cent of grades at A*-B.

Headteacher Alistair Brien said: “Congratulations to all students collecting their A level results, we are proud of all their achievements.

“However there remain some anomalies as to how final grades have been arrived at which appear unfair to a number of individual students which could potentially impact on university places.”

Bournemouth Echo:

The Bishop of Winchester Academy have achieved a 100 per cent pass rate for all A level and BTEC entries, with 90 per cent of students cementing their place at their first-choice university.

Headteacher Paul McKeown said: “All students should be recognised for demonstrating determination and resilience in the face of extreme adversity during these unprecedented times.”

St Peter’s Catholic School in Bournemouth are celebrating some impressive results, although they have said there is a disparity between the awarded grade and what our tracking suggests the student would have achieved in a normal year. 

Bournemouth Echo:

Headteacher at St Peter’s Catholic School Ben Doyle said: In a year like no other, the vast majority of our students are delighted with the results they have been awarded as they are a true reflection of the effort they have consistently applied to their studies combined with the expert teaching they have received from their skilled and dedicated teachers.  

The A level results from The Grange School show the students to be working in the top 25 per cent of students nationally for these qualifications, including Health and Social Care students who achieved a 100 per cent Distinction* to Merit grade for their Level 3 Extended Diploma qualification.

Head of School at The Grange School Liz Garman said: “The Grange School is pleased to celebrate another set of excellent Level 3 BTEC results.

“This is particularly significant in a year where education has been so disrupted by unprecedented events, however, despite all of this our students managed to achieve excellent results.”

Bournemouth Echo:

Students at Poole Grammar School had mixed emotions after opening their results after being were seen queued up outside the school with face masks on to collect their grades.

Headteacher Andy Baker said: “Although unusual times and circumstances, we congratulate all our boys on their significant successes, and thank our staff for their hard work and care in awarding accurate assessment grades.”

St. Edward’s Sixth Form congratulated their students and teacher for their “resilience and commitment” as pupils received their A Level and BTEC results.

Headteacher Michael Antram said: “Amidst the many success stories there are naturally, under the current circumstances, adjustments to results that we will be challenging in the case of a small number of students.

“However, today is about affirming the achievement of our Sixth Form community, who have weathered the Covid-19 storm so brilliantly.”

More than 500 A level students at Brockenhurst College received their results with the overall pass rate at 97 per cent, and over 70 per cent achieving A* to C grades across all subjects.

Principal Di Roberts CBE said: “This has been an exam and results season like no other due to the impact of Covid-19.

“I am proud of our students for the way they have accepted the unique circumstances posed by the coronavirus pandemic, and I wish them every success in the future.”

Twynham School students collected their A-level grades today despite not having had the opportunity to sit exams, with an unprecedented number of students who have gained Oxbridge places as well as places on the highly coveted degree apprenticeships at top employers such as JP Morgan.

Headteacher, Jy Taylor said: “We are incredibly proud of all of our students. Not just for the way in which they have met the specific challenges of the awarding process but by their approach to the Covid-19 crisis since March.”

Milton Abbey in Blandford achieved an impressive set of results at the end of a really challenging year, with a 100 per cent pass rate in both A-Levels and BTECs and 86 per cent of A-Level grades at A* to C grade.

Judith Fremont-Barnes, Head of Milton Abbey School, said: "The Class of 2020 have achieved an excellent set of results.

"With the pandemic disruptions to their education this year, and the considerable negative press around this year's results process, it is a really gratifying outcome to see the vast majority of our students comfortably meeting their offers for ambitious higher education choices.”

A level candidates at Bournemouth Collegiate School have all gained a place on their chosen university courses with near record breaking results this year, a third of grades were at A* and A, and over 80 per cent at A* to C.

Bournemouth Echo:

Headmaster Russell Slatford said: “I am sure the story is not over, and whilst we are delighted with their results, the uncertainty around the final grades remains and I have little doubt that we will see further improvement in the coming weeks and months as some grades are challenged.”

Half of year 13 students at Ferndown Upper School received top grades of A*, A and B, with over 99 per cent of students passing.

The school is very pleased with the results for its STEM subjects, particularly Mathematics, where 50 per cent of students achieved the highest grades of A* and A, and in Further Maths were 100 per cent of the students achieved A* or A.

Headteacher Philip Jones said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank both the students and their teachers for all of their hard work and dedication.

“This has been a very challenging year for the students and they have responded brilliantly. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our students the very best for the future.”

Bournemouth Echo:

Almost a third of sixth form results at The Arnewood School in New Milton were A Level grades of A* or A, and well over a half of the results were B grade or better in the year when no exams were taken due to Covid-19.

Headteacher Nigel Pressnell said: “We are delighted with another outstanding year of results.

“Because an algorithm is less able to make nuanced judgements than people are, there were a few students who received grades that were unexpected.

“But there is an appeals process and we’ll use that to do what’s right by our students.”

Sixth Formers at Queen Elizabeth School in Wimborne achieved outstanding results in their A Levels and BTEC courses. However, some results were unexpected given the process undertaken this year.

Headteacher Katie Boyes said: “The results are the best we have ever had and demonstrate the consistent and sustained improvement in the school.

“We are thrilled that so many students have achieved the grades needed to go to their preferred university or start their apprenticeship."

Bournemouth Echo:

In contrast, students at Highcliffe School are feeling aggrieved by the exam board-determined A Level and BTEC results which they are unable to influence by sitting exams this summer.

Whilst the majority of students were pleased and relieved by their final grades, some were disappointed to find their grades arbitrarily downgraded.

Headteacher Patrick Earnshaw said: “Students who really improved academically from their GCSE results during their time in our Sixth Form seem particularly affected by the algorithm, as though the boards failed to understand students can and do improve over time.”

At Poole High School sixth form, 80 per cent of students achieved their first choice university place with more students than ever securing places in Russell Group universities. 

Headteacher Paul Gray said: "Most striking however this year, has been the way in which the whole community has bonded with a fortified sense of purpose. The character and preparedness that our sixth form students now have for future challenges is a credit to the efforts of so many."

The Blandford School said 23 per cent of grades awarded were A*- A; 65 per cent were A*- B; 84 per cent were A*- C and 99 per cent were A - E. 

Headteacher Sally Wilson said: "These figures continue to reinforce the very good quality of education provided at the school and a culture of learning which reaps positive results.  More specific details regarding individual performance will be published at the start of September once the latest guidance from OFQUAL has been considered and the outcome of any appeals has been received."