The Angmering School A Level results: students react to unprecedented day
Students at The Angmering School have reacted to the most unprecedented A Level results day in living memory.
Last year, students thronged to collect that envelope and slip of paper that could determine their future. But it was a different scene this year at the school in Station Road, Angmering, with orderly queues, social distancing, masks and hand sanitiser to collect results. Read more: This is how A-Level grades were calculated in 2020 - and the new triple lock system With exams cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic and news that large swathes of results were being downgraded, students had an anxious wait to find out if they had made the grade. For Louis Saunders, 18, from Bognor Regis, the pandemic not only affected his A levels - it also stopped him competing in the Paralympics in Tokyo. The boccia player, who is on Team GB, still managed to get an A* in Biology, having spread his studies over three years so he could train for the games. He said: “Now I’m focused on performing my best at the 2021 games, and getting the grades really helps me do that by taking the stress away.” Louis plans to take his history exams in the autumn. Sahema Noor, 18, from East Preston, was one of the school’s high achievers, getting an A* in sociology and As in maths, computer science and the extended project. She said: “I was really surprised, because from some people’s reactions I thought I wouldn’t have done as well. But I got my predicted grades.” News of the cancellation of the A Level exams ‘threw her off’, she said: “I was revising so hard, and then the next day they were cancelled. I was so confused with what to do with my spare time.” Instead, Sahema chanelled her energies into helping her brother, who has autism, to revise for his GCSEs. She will be taking a gap year before studying banking and finance at the University of Leeds. Regarding the Government’s announcement that students could choose their mock exam grades instead as part of a last-minute ‘triple lock system’, Sahema said: “Mocks aren’t standardised around the country, so I don’t think that will work.” When Fin Panton decided to retake his second year of A levels this year, little did he know his plans would be scuppered by a global pandemic. But it was a happy ending for the 19-year-old from East Preston, who got an A* in further maths and As in maths, economics and physics and will be applying for university next year. “I honestly thought I might have to do the October exams they are offering, but I’m really pleased,” he said. William Towler, 18, from Angmering, secured a place at Oxford to study maths with two A*s in further maths and French and an A in maths, having already achieved an A* in computer science. Despite the A grade not meeting the entry requirements, William said Oxford is being flexible this year with its admissions due to the pandemic. “I will probably appeal to get the maths to an A*, because that is what I would have got in my exams,” he said. He planned to celebrate with a takeaway. Oliver O’Toole, 18, from Angmering, got the highest results in the school with A*s in maths, further maths, physics and chemistry, and will be studying engineering at Cambridge. Anna Mantle, 18, from East Preston, got an A in dance, and Bs in geography and English literature. She said: “I was really surprised actually, because I didn’t know what to expect as it was out of my hands. But I was really happy with my results; I feel like they reflect me and my hard work.” Anna said she was ‘really sad’ when the news initially broke that exams would be cancelled, as ‘all that information in my brain was literally wasted’, but came round to the idea eventually. “Everyone’s in the same boat across the country, so it will be fine,” she said. Meghan Swales, 18, from Angmering, got an A in dance and Bs in English literature, art and the extended project qualification. She was ‘relieved’ and ‘really pleased’ with her results, which will allow her to study fashion media at Solent University in Southampton. When asked if the Government could have handled this year’s A Level results differently, she said: “In my opinion, I think they should have just gone with the teacher’s grades, because they have worked with us the whole way through college and they know more than anyone what we are most likely to achieve.” Bradley Cobden, 18, from Angmering, got Bs in photography and art, and a merit in media. He said he was partially relieved that he did not have to do the two 15-hour exams in his art and photography courses, but would have liked to have been able to make a final piece he could keep. If he had any advice for the class of 2021, who also have been affected by coronavirus, he said: “Trust your teachers, because they do fight for your grades.” Tony Kerrison, head of sixth form, said staff were ‘very proud of our students and their achievements this year’, adding: “It has been as fair as it possibly can be. However, there have been a few anomalies where we have a handful of students where their mock results didn’t reflect the work they have been doing this year and we really have no grounds to appeal. “We feel our hands are tied.” Regarding the October exams, he said: “The challenge with that is because they have been away from school for so long, they will have lost a lot of knowledge; to regain that quickly will be very difficult.” See all the latest results from schools in West Sussex on our live blog here.