Praise for Class of 2020

August 27 2020

TEENAGERS who missed out on months of schooling because of the Covid-19 emergency were hit again by a fiasco over exam results. While some Kingswood youngsters celebrated on A-level results day at schools and colleges, others found their grades were lower than expected, meaning their university and apprenticeship places were at risk until a U-turn meant grades rose again. Head teachers have praised both A-level and GCSE students for their hard work and resilience in the face of the unprecedented challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

This student at Digitech Studio School was happy with her results

YOUNG people from the Kingswood area are heading off to higher education and apprenticeship and training places this month after a troubled time in the wake of the Covid-19 emergency.

Most were unable to attend school for five months and did not sit their exams. Results were announced on August 13, based on estimates from schools standardised by the awarding bodies overseen by the regulator Ofqual.

The algorithm used meant that many students saw their ‘centre assessed grades’ reduced, meaning they would miss out on their chosen university.

After a storm of protest from schools, students, parents and politicians, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson reversed his decision to stick to the moderated grades and said students could be awarded their centre assessed grades or the Ofqual ones if these were higher.

Schools, which had used a rigorous process to ensure the assessed grades were fair and accurate, welcomed this move.

The furore overshadowed the extensive achievements of young people. Here’s a round-up of some of the local successes.


CABOT Learning Federation’s Post-16 provision, based at John Cabot Academy and Bristol Brunel Academy, said success stories at A-level and vocational qualifications highlighted the tenacity and resilience of students and the support offered by staff.  

 The range of destinations include a student going to Birmingham City University to study child nursing and another off to Cardiff University to read biomedical sciences. A student achieved the grades for the level 6 computing apprenticeship with EY and a second secured the grades for an Avon & Somerset Police apprenticeship.  Disadvantaged students and those with special educational needs and disabilities also achieved strong grades.  

 Kath Cooper, Post-16 principal, said: “It has been a privilege to support so many students make sense of this year’s exam approach and pleasing to see many secure promising futures throughout the day. The opportunities that are available to them in such unprecedented times is refreshing and we wish them every success, they deserve it.”

A-level students succeed in spite of the challenges


DIGITECH Studio School, which is also part of Cabot Learning Federation, is celebrating a record number of university entrants as well as some unique and exciting alternative industry successes. 

In total, 120 students followed specialist diploma pathways in partnership with Boomsatsuma, achieving an average grade of a distinction or higher. 

Students have won places on drama courses at  Bristol Old Vic and Italia Conti Drama School and university and higher education courses including computer science and cyber security, illustration, game art, maritime film making and sports journalism.

Students have also secured apprenticeships for example with Netflix, National Youth Film Academy and Natural History Production.  

Principal Lis Jolley said, “I am delighted to celebrate another year of career and industry success with our exceptional students, who at this incredibly challenging time have secured for themselves some truly exciting destinations. To see so many of our students stepping out into such high quality courses and institutions is extremely satisfying and is richly deserved after all their hard work. ” 

A-level students succeed in spite of the challenges


ST BRENDAN'S Sixth Form College, which has the largest cohort of A-level students in the region, saw 760 young people receive their results. 

The majority of students progressed on to their chosen destinations in spite of this year’s challenges. More than 400 students who applied through UCAS have secured their university courses including three students who will be taking up their places to study medicine and another three who have accepted their Oxbridge offers. Twenty per cent of those who have applied to university will be going to Russell Group Universities.

Four students who took part in the Bristol Scholars Programme achieved placeS at Bristol University.

Popular degree choices for the class of 2020 are law, criminology, psychology and business, with lots of others electing to take on health related degrees.

Fifteen per cent of students have secured apprenticeships in many different fields including accounting, law, business and engineering. They have gained employment with companies all over the region including Airbus, BT and Atkins.

Marian Curran, Principal at St Brendan’s said:“Congratulations to our students. Nothing should take away from our students’ achievements and we are proud of their fortitude, resilience and determination. I would like to wish all students well as they take their next steps at university, employment or begin their gap year. I look forward to hearing about their future successes. 

“I would also like to pay tribute to all staff at the college who taught, supported and cared for our students as we worked from home. The care and attention shown by all teachers when arriving at centre assessed grades for each of our students exemplified the quality, professionalism and dedication of our staff.” 


At Sir Bernard Lovell Academy in Oldland Common, Chloe Phillips achieved A,A,A* and will study law at Bristol University. Eloise Wright earned A*A,B and is off to the University of Gloucestershire to study psychology and Hannah Ponter, who achieved A,B,B, will also do psychology at the University of Southampton.

Students who have made exceptional progress at SBL’s post-16 centre include Samadi Peiris, Luci Bailey, Molly Skates and Lisa Wingrove.

Overall, results at SBL Academy, which is part of the Wellsway Multi Academy Trust, have increased significantly in comparison with 2019, with the average grade up by almost a whole grade.


A*s for hard work and positive attitude

SIXTEEN-year-olds are celebrating “the GCSE grades they deserve” following a late change by the Government.

Those who took BTec qualifications were still awaiting their delayed results as the Voice went to print but schools and colleges were working hard to ensure all students could take up appropriate places this month.

South Gloucestershire’s cabinet councillor for schools, Erica Williams,  said: “This has been a particularly challenging year because of Covid, but we know that our students have worked extremely hard to achieve these grades and they should be very proud of their individual successes. We would remind students and parents that if they are still unsure about their next steps, Post 16 advice and guidance is available through their school, at College, via Careerpilot online or via the National Careers Service Helpline for Teenagers on 0800 100 900.” 


THE school was delighted with Year 11’s results, which it said were a tribute to their application and perseverance in a challenging year for all young people.  

Principal Katherine Ogden said: “Our staff have been delighted to reconnect with their students and we are working together with them to ensure that each individual has successfully secured a place on a post 16 course that is right for them and their long term career aspirations. ”   


JOHN Cabot Academy said its Year 11 results were a testament to students’ hard-work and perseverance in an incredibly difficult year. 

Principal Kate Willis said:  “We welcomed our Year 11 students into the academy for the first time in five months. We are celebrating the excellent results they so richly deserve and thanking parents and staff for their work throughout the last five years. Our aim is to support each student to secure their desired post 16 course.  Their schools and colleges are lucky indeed to have them. I am very proud of our Year 11. "  

A*s for hard work and positive attitude


DIGITECH thanked parents for supporting Year 11 students during the pandemic.

Principal Lis Jolley said; ‘It has been a happy results day at Digitech with students receiving grades that have allowed them to take the next steps in education or apprenticeships. Students have exciting plans as they move on to A-levels, vocational courses, and apprenticeships. We wish them all the best in the next step of their journey.’    


BRISTOL Brunel Academy said students had been steadfast and resolute in their approach to the challenges of lockdown.  

More than half of Year 11s are returning to Cabot Learning Federation Post 16.

Principal Jon Jones said:  “This has always been an exceptional year group. 

'We celebrate the successes they have achieved in their exam grades and also look back on their time with us where they have been outstanding in their political interest, drama performances, sporting success, friendship groups and positive attitudes.”   


YEAR 11 students at Hanham Woods Academy have been awarded fantastic GCSE grades thanks to their hard work, dedication and positivity .

Principal Steve Kneller said:  "We were delighted to see so many Year 11 students collecting their results today. We have not seen them for such a long time and to be able to celebrate their results with them, in person, was fantastic. We are so immensely proud of their achievements, which are fully deserved." 


THE school  in Oldland Common is celebrating some very strong results, including several high performers and a number of students who have made outstanding progress.

Stephen Kerfoot scored grade 9s across the board, while Charlotte Kington achieved eight 9s, Jakob Medlin five 9s and four 8s and Olivia Curry four 9s and three 8s. 

Other high achievers were Ruby Gabler, Chloe Fear, Oliver Adams, Jessica Duck, Megan Hadley and Chiana Butterfield.

Joshua Bond, Anna Fielden-Smith, Kai Johnson, Freya Andrews, Millie Rothwell, Eve Alford, Lucie Dagger, Hannah Leonard, Sophie Lumber, Maver Ribeiro and Fin Davis have been commended for making  exceptional progress in their time at SBL across the full range of subjects.