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Results day for A-level students tomorrow

Archive image of A-level results day.

Students across Gibraltar will receive their A-level exam results tomorrow morning, with the Department of Education ready to offer support after UK exam regulators said there would be fewer top grades this year.

For many young students in this cohort this academic year has marked their first exam results day, after years of Covid disruption.

This cohort was unable to sit their GCSE exams due to the pandemic, with teachers tasked with providing teacher assessed grades which were used to determine their final grades.

Throughout the Covid disruption more top A-level grades were awarded. Last year more than a third (36.4%) of UK A-level entries were awarded A or A* grades, following the same trend in the two preceding years, namely 44.8% in 2021 and 38.5% in 2020.

By comparison, in 2019, the last summer before the pandemic, around one in four (25.4%) UK A-level entries were awarded A or A* grades.

Exams regulator Ofqual has said this year’s A-level results will be lower than last year, but they are expected to be similar to those in 2019.

Director of Education Keri Scott told the Chronicle the pandemic has provided an unprecedented and cohort-wide situation, but said teams of staff will be on hand to assist students.

She added that some students have experienced exams, with select courses sitting AS levels last year.

“Everybody in their cohort is in exactly the same position,” she said.

“There is sort of a consistency, if you like and it's not like our young people in Gibraltar are finding themselves in a position distinct to that which anybody else who has sat their A-levels this year will have found.”

She added that the schools have done as much as possible to give students a comparative exam experience.

“As schools, we prepare them so that they practice their exam technique,” she said.

“They can time themselves. They are used to what it feels like to sit in a big exam hall, but they won't have had the real experience.”

She added the Examination Board took that into account with different aspects of the examination process.

Ms Scott described how adjustments have been put in place within the examination process to try and give students them the best chance of succeeding taking into account the disruption that they have faced.

These protective features included extending the period of time between one paper and the next.

“They built in protective features that haven't existed in other exam sessions with a view to trying to take into account the disruption that these young people have faced,” she said.

“Now, whether or not that has the end outcome, we are not in a position to tell. The examination board has done what they have been able to so that's one set of protective features in terms of making slight adjustments with the exam themselves, and then they are also putting in protective features with regards to the grading.”


For students who do not meet their expected grades, another option is find a spot at a university through clearing.

Ms Scott has advised students to have all their UCAS information to hand, their UK identification number and to have researched courses they are interested in.

The schools will be open and available to support students throughout the process.

Bayside, Westside and the College will have teams of individuals ready to respond to all queries which include about university or other paths.

“Not everybody opts to go to university after A-levels and that is also an admirable route to follow, and one which for some people, university is not a step that they need to feel obliged to take,” Ms Scott said.

“Now, sometimes a gap here is helpful to people. So the advice would be to have everything to hand and to know that there will be ways forward for everybody, regardless of even if they've had disappointing outcomes.”

“School will be able to recognise and speak to them and give them advice.”

“This outcome, maybe it's not what you had hoped for, but it is quite in line with how you were achieving in February, March, April or clearly something didn't go well because you were achieving at a much higher level, maybe something went wrong on the day of the exam.”

She added her advice would be to make the most of the support teams that are in place in the three schools.

Senior Education Advisor, Melba Noguera, also pointed to the UCAS website where students can access further information.

Ms Scott also offered key advice for students to rehearse a mini-interview with a university.

“Many clearing opportunities will want to speak to them on the phone, so perhaps [students should] rehearse what they will want to say,” she said.

She said students should be able to answer questions like why they find themselves in a clearing position.

“Is that because they didn't get the results that they wanted? Or because they've applied at a later time? Or even somebody might get grades that are much better than what they anticipated and then find that they want to now change their course?”

She encouraged students to check their UCAS status on the tracker as soon as possible on results day.

Results will be issued electronically to students via email at 9am Gibraltar time, with school staff available to support students as from 9am.

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