It was an unusual A-level results day – but students across Swindon celebrated their success yesterday after exams were cancelled for the first time ever due to the coronavirus pandemic.

There was no crowds of students hugging each other with excitement due to social distancing.

Schools were responsible to set their own plans for results day and in some, students received their results from home.

In Swindon, the overall A-level pass rate increased. A total of 692 students received their results and, of the 1,580 exam entries, 97.5 per cent were awarded a pass (A*-E), just up on last year’s figures (97.4 per cent).


New College

The college, which has the largest number of A-level learners in Swindon and Wiltshire, hailed a high pass rate of 97.4 per cent for 16-18-year-old students.

There was 2.5 per cent increase in ‘A’ grades, the highest in three years.

Student Philip Mercado, 18, got an A in economics, French, business studies and core maths. In October, he will be doing oriental studies at the University of Oxford.

He said: “The experience this year was honestly really challenging. It is so much more difficult to work and study from home since it’s the one place I feel like I can relax - while I was studying, I felt like I could never really calm down.

“It was awful knowing I couldn’t really do anything to get my grades, but it all turned out okay in the end.

Principal and CEO Carole Kitching said: “There have been no exams this year, but achievement is not just measured by taking exams. The class of 2020 have worked hard for the past two years. Their determination and resilience is an example to us all. “

Lydiard Park Academy

Lydiard Park Academy had its best year for A-level results.

It had 45 per cent of all entries at A* to B and a 100 per cent pass rate overall.

The academy’s results exceeded the government’s headline target with 13 per cent more A*-B grades than government expectations.

Principal Gary Pearson said “I’m delighted with the results this year as it reflects the dedication of both students and staff.

"It has been wonderful to see the students pick up their results this morning, excited to be moving on to their first choice of university or apprenticeship.”

One of its students that Mollie Wynn has gained a place to study natural sciences at the University of Cambridge. She achieved A* in biology, chemistry, mathematics and EPQ.

Commonweal School

Commonweal School says its students achieved the school’s best ever set of A-level and Level 3 results.

In total, 99 per cent of students received A* to E grades – and half of all grades were A*, A or B. A fifth of the grades achieved were A* or A.

Three of the students even went on to secure places at Oxford University.

Headteacher Bob Linnegar said, “During this exceptionally challenging time, we are very proud of all of our students. Their genuine hard work and commitment is reflected in this very pleasing set of results.

"They are testament to the excellent standard of teaching and support provided to all students throughout what has been a difficult period in education.

"Strong performances across a broad range of subjects has meant a very high proportion of students have been successful in gaining a place at their first choice of university."

Commonweal student Emma Pont was over the moon when she opened the envelope that revealed her A-level results.

The18-year-old got A* for drama, history and philosophy.

She said: “I was worried about my results, given the uncertainty on how we’re going to be graded. There was a concern that there might be downgrading especially as my fate wasn’t in my hands.

She will be heading to Oxford University in October to study history of art.

UTC Swindon

UTC students celebrated after getting the grades to head in to apprenticeships and university.

Principal Jon Oliver said: “I’m delighted that our students continue to make excellent career progression after their time with us.

“This is a challenging time for young people, but the skills, qualifications and work readiness that our students experience, puts them at a considerable advantage for a highly technical career. Well done to all of you!”

Cirencester College

John Hunter collected an A* in maths, two grade As in further maths and computer science and a distinction star in music production.

Eighteen-year-old John, formerly of St Joseph’s Catholic College, is now going to Southampton University where he will study a computer science.

Bailey Trollope, formerly of Commonweal School, achieved distinction star and double distinction in her sport and exercise science course.

The Adver asked Swindon College, St Joseph's and Bradon Forest for their results but they did not respond.