“We deserve these grades” - Southmoor Academy students celebrate bumper GCSE results

Southmoor Academy students have been celebrating a bumper set of GCSE results and have stressed “we deserved the grades we got”.

Thursday, 12th August 2021, 3:12 pm

Over 85% of pupils attained a grade 5 and above (high old grade C) in English with 80% achieving the same benchmark in Maths.

Over a third of students achieved Level 7 to 9 grades in English with just under a third attaining the same top grades in Maths.

Two of the school’s top performing students were Jonathan Cowgill and Adil Hussain who both attained a staggering nine grade 9s.

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(left to right) Jack Stead, Thea Sloanes and Nieve Howat, all 16, react to seeing their GCSE results.

Jonathan, 16, who now plans to study biology, psychology and German at A-level, said: “I was part excited and part nervous when I came in this morning and I was really shocked when I saw my results.

“I was lost for words.”

Adil, 16, added: “I was really nervous coming down to school this morning as I didn’t know what to expect.

“It has been a really challenging year with the disruption of Covid and not being able to attend school.

Star pupil Adil Hussain, 16, celebrities achieving nine grade 9s.

“We were expecting to sit our exams and then it changed and so some of the assessments we sat at the start of the year, and didn’t think were important, were suddenly going to count towards our final results.”

This year once again saw the curtailment of final exams due to the Covid pandemic with marks awarded based on teacher assessments.

With the national picture showing a record breaking 77.1% of students attaining grade 4 and above - the equivalent of an old grade C - and 28.9% achieving the top grade 7 to 9 band, concerns have been raised about the inflation of grades.

However after 18 months of lockdowns, remote learning and Covid isolations the students believe their achievements in such adversity should not be questioned.

Nieve Howat (left) and Estelle Onwuka, both 16, celebrate attaining grade 8s and 9s in their GCSES.

Adil said: “I would rather have sat the exams. I’m sure some people will think we don’t deserve these results but it really wasn’t like that.

“We’ve had to work really hard in challenging circumstances and have sat exams and assessments across the year.”

It’s a sentiment shared by Nieve Howat, 16, who attained six grade 9s, two 8s and a 7 and is now going on to study biology, chemistry and geography at A Level.

She said: “I was really happy when I opened my envelope and saw my grades. A lot of people will think the grades are inflated because it was down to the opinion of the teacher.

Nieve Howat and Jonathan Cowgill, both 16, opening their GCSE results.

“This is not the case.

“We had to take exams and assessments across the year to provide evidence to get these grades.”

Classmate Jack Stead, 16, who attained five grade 8s and five grade 9s, added: “With all the uncertainty school has been a real rollercoaster of emotions.

“There might have been a spike in the number of grade 8s and 9s but under the circumstances I don’t think this makes our achievements any less significant.”

One student who contracted Covid and had to isolate for 14 days was Estelle Onwuka, 16, who attained an impressive seven grade 9s and three grade 8s.

Estelle said: “I was so happy when I opened my envelope and saw my results - I just screamed out loud.”

Deputy headteacher Sammy Wright was "thrilled" with the students' results. Picture by Peter Davison.

Deputy headteacher Sammy Wright said he was “delighted” with the results and was keen to stress the “rigorous” collection of evidence and moderation process which had taken place in the awarding of grades.

Mr Wright said: “I’m thrilled with the students and the fact they did so well and immensely pleased they got the results they deserved.

“It has been a gruelling year and after the challenges the students have been through these results are at least as well deserved, if not more so than previous years.”