For the past 2 years, summer examinations have not been able to take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, students were awarded grades using the evidence compiled by their teachers. As part of the return to summer examinations, boards in the United Kingdom have set their grade boundaries based on a profile which reflects the midpoint between the grades issued in 2021 and the pre-pandemic grading.
In order to support students sitting examinations in this 2022 summer season, the examination boards provided a number of support measures such as advanced information on the content of exams.
Despite the changes in grade boundaries and the anticipated impact that these might have, the examination results at the three Government institutions who deliver A-Level/Level 3 courses have achieved an overall pass rate of 95% across the three institutions.
This is an improvement in relation to the pre-pandemic years of 2017, 2018, and 2019, where the overall pass rates were 92%, 94% and 94% respectively. Additionally, this also represents an improvement in relation to the 2020 cohort’s results, who achieved an overall pass rate of 91%; and a 2% drop in comparison to the 2021 cohort, who achieved an overall pass rate of 97% across the three institutions.
Despite the relative normality of our schools’ functioning this last academic year, this academic cycle will have been an extremely challenging one for students and teachers working towards public examinations. These A Level / Level 3 students have completed their GCE examinations this year without ever having sat or experienced formal summer examination sessions. As a result of the cancellation of their GCSE examinations 2 years ago due to COVID-19, and the extended impact of the pandemic to their Year 12/AS year, these students have missed out on the experience and familiarisation with formal examination processes that all previous A Level / Level 3 cohorts have benefitted from. Schools have, of course, prepared these students as extensively as possible, and endeavoured to make up for the opportunities missed as a result of the 2 covid-impacted years. Students and teachers have had to work extremely hard to ensure that the students were as well prepared as possible and able to demonstrate their ability under formal examination conditions.
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, and for working with their teachers to complete their courses to the best of their ability. 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 during the unprecedented times which have been particularly challenging for our young people.
We would also like to thank all school staff in our secondary institutions profusely, for working extremely hard with their A Level/Level 3 students to guide them through the changing landscape of learning and qualification certification, and for ensuring students were enabled and supported to do their very best during the last two academic years. We are very proud that, 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 their learning journey during these challenging times. We thank parents and carers 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 pathway 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 736 pass grades, each one representing an individual story and learning journey. Of note also, is the large number of students, 19 in total, who have attained three grade As or above, giving them opportunity to apply for 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.
The Director of Education, Keri Scott commented, “I extend my congratulations to all the young people who have sat their exams this year and recognise, in particular, their resilience and perseverance during these challenging covid-impacted years. Although we hope all students have been awarded the grades they have worked hard for and require, really, today is a celebration about much more than the results themselves. These students’ achievements are evidence of resilience in action, particularly given the circumstances that society has endured in recent years. Moreover, we hope that the skills developed and the experiences shared by the students throughout their years in school, from Nursery to Year 13, surpass the impact of each young person’s end grades. As a Department of Education, we hope that their learning journey through our schools will continue to help inform and shape these young people’s lives long after the immediate response to their exam results dissipates. Whatever their results are, we hope they celebrate the completion of this journey and look forward to the next stage, whatever that may be. On behalf of all our hard working colleagues in Education, we wish them the very best of luck in their future endeavours!”
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 – they are a reflection of the hard work put in by students and teachers in these difficult and highly disrupted last two years. 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.”