Cast your mind back to around this time two years ago, August 2020.
Students across the country had just received their GCSE results after the biggest disruption to these exams since their start in 1988. The COVID-19 pandemic had thrown everything up in the air and didn’t just end the students’ last year in secondary school three months early, but also cancelled their GCSE exams and replaced their results with teacher assessed grades.
Despite the disruption and the uncertainty of what their future might look like, some of those students went on to study for their A-levels, T-Levels, and BTecs.
Today, those young people are receiving their results and it is a momentous day! Not only because they are finding out how they did, but because today marks the end of two challenging years.
Since they started preparing for their next steps, we have been in two more lockdowns, one of which involved home schooling for two months. Both lockdowns were an adjustment for students, parents and carers as well as their teachers. Due to their GCSE exams being cancelled, this was also the first time most had sat public examinations since they were in Year 6. It had been a difficult time and we hope students recognise the challenges they have had to overcome. Getting through the last two years is an achievement in itself, and they should be proud of themselves.
So, a big congratulations to those receiving their results today! I wish them all the best for whatever it is they plan to do next.
If you know someone who didn’t get the results they were hoping for or they need help or advice around exam results and next steps, contact the National Careers Service Exam Results Helpline on 0800 100 900. The free helpline is now open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 5pm on Saturdays. For mental health support and information, please visit www.youngminds.org.uk.
There is information available about Post 16 pathways and options on the Post 16 Participation website www.bristolesl.com/bristolpost16. Or you can contact Bristol City Council’s Post 16 Participation team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0117 352 5750.
The Post 16 Participation team are also running an event on Wednesday 31 August from 1-3:30pm at The Station on Silver Street (BS1 2AG), where attendees can get advice on what to do next and join in with CV and interview skills workshops. More information: www.bristolesl.com/bristolpost16/2022/08/step-to-future-post-exam-result-event/.
I would like to end on a note about where we are at now in August 2022.
All COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted; we are now living with the virus. However, just because life is back to normal for most, it doesn’t mean that we have seen the end of the impact that the pandemic has had on the education of our young people. Recognising what today means is a demonstration of this.
It is easy for us, adults, to forget this, and I ask as we move on with our everyday lives that we remember the lasting impact and challenges that the pandemic has had on our children and young people, and that we continue to support them following these difficult times.