At the heart of Urban Saints we want to see young people succeed. We want them to thrive and become all that God has created them to be.
One of Urban Saints' values is justice. It can be hard not to feel angry about the way that exam results have been handled this summer and all the subsequent confusion and disappointment that young people have had to go through, when all we want to do is to champion young people.
Read below the stories of two young people who have been affected by this situation.
To end the last two years in sixth form, particularly after recently completing our mocks and finishing our UCAS applications, with such short notice left many of us worrying not only about the current situation and the prospect of a full lockdown but also the detrimental impact this would have on our futures. A-levels have been our sole focus since our GCSE’s and for the majority of us, our career goals and futures rely on gaining a place at university and essentially these results. We weren’t given much information and many of our questions were left unanswered. It was a worrying thought that our futures now lay in the hands of algorithms and predictions. The mixed messages from the media and government officials themselves created additional panic, forcing a strain upon the mental health of young people. Particularly for those of us who felt that we didn’t achieve what we felt was our best in our mock exams for whatever reason, and had now lost the opportunity to demonstrate our full capabilities.
Before collecting my results, I was assured by the government that
we would be awarded with the grades that we rightly deserved yet upon opening my results it was clear that we were subject to unfair, disappointing and thoughtless grading calculation system. To see not only mine but other individuals results lowered by three or four grades by a system that certainly doesn’t know us on a personal level, in a way that completely disrespects the professional judgment of the teachers is nothing more than unjust. The government have let us down. Leaving school is a big step in life and perhaps the biggest step for some of us yet and not only have the government added additional pressures and stresses to this but have completely denied some students an opportunity and potential. It has left students in a flood of anxiety and sleepless nights, feeling like a disappointment and let down. It was explained to me that my results were lowered based on the previous achievement of the school, my class size, where I rank in terms of ability and the area I live in. We shouldn’t be made to feel categorised or undervalued, we are individuals with an equal opportunity to reach our goals.
Fortunately, our voices have been heard it has been recognised that the predicted grades are valid and we have been awarded the grades that we rightly deserved after two years of dedication and commitment. However, the damage has already been done. Those of us who have been through the clearing process have lost a space on the course they originally wanted, their opportunity has been taken by another student. If this was decided before the results were published then the stress and worry could have been avoided.
It was a really weird feeling not being at school for the last few months for the term. Normally I would be doing my GCSEs and no one could ever have predicted at the start of year that we wouldn't do any exams. Ending year 11 early was a relief in some ways as I didn't have to sit GCSEs, but at the same time it was very stressful as I didn't know how the government would handle awarding grades to students.
Recently when it came to A-level results, I became really angry and upset seeing how they were treated by the government. After being promised that the system for marking would be fair, students who were predicted very high grades were getting downgraded to C’s and D’s, which is very wrong. It made me so anxious about collecting my own results a week later in case I didn’t receive what I needed for college.
When they recently changed it so we would get our predicted grades from teachers, I felt a lot better as I was being awarded for my work and what I had achieved over the last year or so. I think the government could have handled it way better than they did by actually telling us from the start what their algorithm plan was and how it was going to work, instead of keeping it a secret until the last minute and then making a lot of students upset with their grades.
For more reflections on the issues surrounding this year's exam results from young people click here.