Brighton and Hove’s secondary school heads have issued a GCSE results day joint statement.
It follows a year when schools were shut in March because of the coronavirus lockdown and exams were scrapped.
Since then, controversy has engulfed the way GCSEs were graded after qualifications agency Ofqual used a much-criticised algorithm.
Many teachers’ predicted grades were marked down by the algorithm – and some up – and if there is a difference, students will be given the higher of the two grades.
Brighton and Hove’s secondary heads said: “We write jointly to celebrate the hard work and resilience of year 11 students, as well as the professionalism of teachers and leaders across the city on this most unusual of exam result days.
“Grades have been issued to students not on the basis of exam performance but on the professional opinion and expertise of school staff.
“Staff have shown great integrity in issuing grades that they felt reflected the hard work and endeavour shown by students and all grades were carefully considered.
“Students have coped with huge disruption to their learning and the uncertainty over how they would be issued grades and what their progression to post-16 study would involve.
“It is not a day to celebrate the successes of individual schools. It is a day to celebrate the hard work, talent and skill of all of our year 11 students and all of our school staff.
“We are collectively proud of our students and proud of our staff.”
Green councillor Hannah Clare, who chairs Brighton and Hove City Council’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee, said: “After all our students have been through in recent months because of coronavirus, I want GCSE results day to be a time for our young people to finally be able to celebrate their achievements and move on positively to the next phase of their lives.
“I’m deeply saddened that they have been facing extra anxiety caused by the government’s catastrophic handling of the exam grading system.
“However, I am relieved by yesterday’s assurance that exam boards can only moderate grades up from the teacher assessments, not down.
“Results will be final for most qualifications but I’m appalled that BTEC students are now facing a further agonising wait for their results.
“Our young people all deserve results that are a true reflection of their abilities and the work they have put in.
“Our secondary schools have done an amazing job in uniquely difficult circumstances and I would like to thank them and the council’s education team for their hard work and creative approaches to new learning methods.
“If young people are unsure about their next steps, they can contact the council’s Youth Employability Service.
“It is providing advice and support on their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts until 7pm today @yesbrightonhove.
“Advisers will be on hand to answer questions and talk through options available.
“Students can ask questions using #yesbhgcseresults, tagging @yesbrightonandhove or by private messaging the service.
“There is a wide range of vocational courses available in the city for young people who do not wish to go on to study A levels.
“Apprenticeships offer opportunities to earn while you learn and get a strong foothold on the career ladder. For more information visit Find an Apprenticeship.”
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