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A-level results day marks return to normality for Prior Park

This year’s A-level results marked a significant departure from the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and back to normality said the Head teacher of Prior Park, Peter Watts.

Mr Watts also highlighted the profound sense of achievement and a touch of disappointment that characterised the day.

“It’s back to normal really,” he told the Chronicle.

“Back to the normal that was five years ago before Covid.”

“There are lots of successes this morning. Lots of very excited students, lots of students who are delighted about where they're going to go now for the next steps in the educational journey.”

“There's a lot of excitement, there is also some disappointment.”

“We have been prepared over the last six months and increasingly in the last couple of weeks with news stories from the UK department for education are very keen to see return to grade boundaries before 2019 and that's happened.”

“So there are some students who have struggled to make their grade entry requirements for university and we are working very hard this morning in school to support those students through the clearing process.”

He added that over 50% of their students are going to their firm and insurance choice university and the remainder are being supported with pursuing further education routes.

The release of A-level results, which occurred simultaneously this year, was a marked improvement over the previous year's midnight release followed by delayed grade confirmations, the head teacher said.

Mr Watts also commented on the significant role of the clearing process in the modern A-level application journey.

He shared his candid opinion on the prevailing system which he called “antiquated”, advocating for a shift where students undertake exams before applying to universities.

This he believes would diminish uncertainty, ease administrative burdens for universities, and ultimately make it easier for students remove the emotion around the day.

“I think some of the disappointment that some students will feel today is based on what their friends in other year groups have experienced, which is inevitably a grade inflation due to teacher assessed grades or centre assessed grades,” he said.

“But the vast majority of students today can feel happy with their results and have confidence and certainty about what they're going to do next.”

Reflecting on the subjects that stood out this year, he noted a consistent level of excellence across all subjects.

"Across the board, really, we've had successes to share with our students," he said, highlighting the achievements of students in creative arts and English disciplines.

Mr Watts recognised the importance of student development and progress aside from grades.

“As much as you would want to celebrate high achieving academic performance. I think it's as important to celebrate development progress,” he said.

“We are particularly pleased today to celebrate with some students who when they started with us back in year seven and year eight were almost school refusers who didn't want to go to school and had a difficult experience in previous schools.”

“For those students come out of five or six years with us and get three good A-Level grades is as much of course to celebrate as it is at the top end where we've got students going off to Exeter or Bath.”

“We're still waiting to hear about a student who is hoping to get into Cambridge, to study Maths.”

Summing up his sentiments, Mr Watts said, result day is returning to normal.

He added this was also thanks to the persistent dedication of both students and educators.

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