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A-levels: anxiety after a school year like no other

Students who suffered lockdown disruption pick up their results

14 August, 2020 — By Helen Chapman

Results day at City and Islington College

UNCERTAINTY and anxiety were the prevailing feelings, students said yesterday, as they picked up their A-level results after a lockdown-hit exam year.

Without having sat their normal summer tests, they were relying on teachers’ predictions of their grades, then compared with the school’s past performance.

Jamad Barud, 18, at Highbury Fields School, said: “It was a stressful year. There was a lot of uncertainty and it was uncomfortable.”

Jamad Barud and Tasnia Zaman from Highbury Fields School

Tasnia Zaman, 18, from the same school, added:  “Our year group has been tested a lot – first with the new GCSE exams and now this. When we left school in March we didn’t know what would be happening.”

Hamidullah Fazli gets his results at City of London Academy

Katie Bokciu, 18, got A C C in her A-levels and is off to study media and communications at Brunel University. She said: “I was upset at first because I knew I could have done better in my exams than in mocks.”

Hannah Kinloch will go to the University of Sheffield

The school say over half the grades awarded were A*-B or equivalent, with 82 per cent of all grades being awarded an A*-C.

Maciha Sheraji and Katie Bokciu at Highbury Fields School

Luiza Sommariva, 18, received A* A* A in her results and is off to UCL to study medicine. She said: “I am very happy. It is better than I was expecting – I was predicted A*A A. It was a rollercoaster of a year but I feel I have grown a lot as a person.”

Meanwhile, City and Islington College students reflected on their “bitter­sweet”, results as some achieved what they hoped for while others were part of the 40 per cent nationally who were downgraded. Alex Stanley, 17, got two A*s in history and politics and A in English literature, but said: “A lot of my friends haven’t got the results they expected, so it’s a bittersweet feeling. I am one of the lucky ones.”

Luiza Sommariva and her mother Alcione at Highbury Fields

City of London Academy Islington headteacher Sonia Jacobs praised her students for their results in “very challenging circumstances”.

Hannah Kinloch achieved an A* in both English literature and history and an A in politics – and will be heading to the University of Sheffield.

Hamidullah Fazli, meanwhile, will be going to City, University of London to study Economics after he achieved two B grades and a C grade.


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