Clyst Vale students are amazing. Through no-one’s fault, our Year 11 students have been robbed of all of the rites of passage they might have expected. They have been left in limbo for five months. So their level of maturity when collecting their results today was a joy to behold. Of course they were frustrated and annoyed that vocational results have been withheld, but philosophical in that this will mean a fairer, accurate and hopefully better outcome.
It’s hard to describe the atmosphere. It was definitely positive and pleasant, but there was also a huge sense of release from the stress built up over the past five months (we hadn’t seen them in school for exactly five months). There weren’t the highs and lows of a normal exam day, with the whoops of delight from an over-achiever and tears of deep disappointment from others, so it was perhaps a little muted. Interestingly, there was still the nervousness we all remember when we have collected results, and it was great to see how supportive of each other students were.
Bearing in mind that students had not had a normal end of year, we were anxious to make Results Day as normal, friendly and relaxed as we could. Many parents came along, and there some brilliant conversations between students, parents and my colleagues. The reason Clyst Vale students are amazing is because their parents are, too: the vast majority understood that the College has done the best we could in challenging circumstances. I mentioned it for A-level results day, as well, but we pride ourselves on being open, approachable and always trying to build the best relationships possible. This is invaluable when we are in difficult times, as now. And we were not only saying goodbye to students, but to some families who have been associated with Clyst Vale for a very long time. We did not hang on to the name “Community College” without reason.
It’s not a normal year, but we are enjoying one of our best sets of results ever. As I have written elsewhere, the class of 2020 has posted the highest ever progress score in the College’s history, including both English and Maths, and a significant rise compared to last year. Our students achieved more top grades 7-9 than ever before. Almost all GCSE subjects improved on last year. There were some excellent individual results for students who would undoubtedly have done as well or even better if they had sat their exams: Abigail Sansbury earned an astonishing nine grade 9s among her results, Jack Eynon six and Daisy Norris five. They each achieved at least nine top grades 9 to 7, as did Rio Acland, Dulcima Ball, Amelie Brooks, Ben Folland, and Megan Newbery. These are brilliant results by any standards. Seventeen students achieved six grades 7-9, which is comparable to a “good results” year. It’s not just the high-flyers: there are excellent individual results for many other students who have overcome health, emotional and/or family issues to achieve good grades for them, and one of the greatest pleasures is seeing a student who has battled with complex special needs their whole life bursting with pride because they have achieved GCSE grades. This is the most important point of all. If nothing else, covid has demonstrated that exams are much more about students’ plans, hopes and dreams than performance indicators and league tables.
We must hold fixed in our minds the achievements of these young people, and celebrate those achievements in extraordinarily difficult circumstances. Well done, Year 11 ! And the very best of luck for the future !