Students received their A-Level results today at the Gibraltar College, Bayside and Westside schools.
Despite the challenges and disruptions presented once again by the COVID-19 pandemic, the examination results at the three Government institutions who deliver A-Level/Level 3 courses have improved when compared to previous years, with an overall pass rate of 97% achieved across the three institutions.
After the cancellation of the summer examination session, all examination centres were asked by UK examination boards to assess students using a range of tools, for teachers to be able to award students with teacher assessed grades. Our schools devised a series of assessments in order to ensure teachers could assess students’ performance accurately and provide examination boards with collated evidence which justified the teacher assessment grades awarded.
This academic year will have been an extremely challenging year for students and teachers. Not only did students and teachers work through a second lockdown and subsequently, upon return to school, find themselves navigating a wide array of Covid-19 safety protocols and measures, but their academic year culminated with the intense work stream of the completion of assessments and the collation of evidence for the awarding of the Teacher Assessed Grades.
We would like to take this opportunity to praise our students for adapting to all the changes and revised ways of working that have been brought about by the pandemic these last 2 academic years, and for working with their teachers to complete their courses to the best of their ability despite the challenges and new ways of working. Today is a day for celebration for many, as they reflect on their hard work these last 2 years and acknowledge the fruits of their labour. We are very proud of their achievements and commend them for their resilience.
We would also like to thank all school staff in our secondary institutions profusely, for working very hard with their A Level/Level 3 students to guide them through the changing landscape and for ensuring they enabled and supported students to do their very best through the incredibly different assessment process. Our teachers and schools also found themselves in unfamiliar and daunting territory and the process required by the examination boards was complex and thorough. This was by no means an easy feat and required countless hours of preparation, marking and moderation. Once again, our teachers have responded superbly to the demands outlined by the examination boards and have facilitated pathways to success for our students.
We also recognise the role played by parents and carers, who have supported these young people through the most challenging period in our community’s living memory. We thank parents for working with schools in the best interests of these young people whose day it is today.
It is also important to remember that whilst the A level/Level 3 students’ journey culminates with the completion of these qualifications in the last 2 years of their school career, there will be many other teachers who have supported these young people at different stages of their learning journey, and we thank everyone who has played a part in each student’s journey, at each stage of the way, from Nursery and Reception, through all the Primary years to the early years at secondary and GCSE/Level 2. Every individual involved in the learning journey of these young people has helped to contribute, guide, support, nurture and develop them along the way.
This year sees students in our three secondary institutions having secured 652 pass grades, each one representing an individual story and learning journey. Of note also, is the large number of students, 27 in total, who have attained three grade As or above, giving them the status of Gibraltar Scholar. This year sees an unprecedented number of students attaining this status and we congratulate them all on their achievements.
Teachers in schools as well as staff at the Department of Education, are on hand to advise, support and provide guidance and assistance to all students, both those who have secured a place at University and those who may be continuing to seek a place through the clearing process or who may now find themselves looking at other options.
Minister for Education, John Cortes, congratulated both students and teachers on their hard work and efforts. He said: “I am as you can imagine extremely pleased at our results – a reflection of the hard work put in by students and teachers in this difficult and highly disrupted year. So my congratulations to those who achieved what they wanted and encouragement to those who did not. The future is ahead for all of them and they will all get all the support that they need.”
The Director of Education, Jacqueline Mason commented, “this year our schools and college have seen unprecedented high results. It has been a challenging journey for these students, who were our last cohort to sit formal public examinations as we have known them, when they sat their GCSE. In the 2 years subsequent to this, as a result of COVID, they have had to adjust to various forms of home learning which our dedicated staff have endeavoured to deliver. There has been a lot of talk in the UK media about “lost learning”. In Gibraltar, we have been in the privileged position to have reacted proactively to COVID as a community. The learning, and more importantly, life lessons that these students are taking away from this period will set them up for life. They have proved that they are adaptable in their learning and have learned to think outside the box. We should look at these amazing results as a culmination of life lessons that we have all lived through as a community in Gibraltar. To triumph in this way and achieve such a high number of high grades is certainly a cause for celebration for these students, their parents and for our hard working staff.”