Shirebrook students praised for building up resilience after facing “the worst of both worlds”

A Shirebrook principal says that this year’s GCSE and BTEC students have got “the worst of both worlds” and paid tribute to their resilience, as they now wait to find out their final grades.

By Shelley Marriott
Monday, 14th June 2021, 3:13 pm

Mark Cottingham, principal of Shirebrook Academy, in Common Lane, believes that this year’s Year 11 cohort are worst-hit than last year’s cohort, who left school without having to sit an exam after they were sent home during the lockdown.

Thousands of current final year GCSEs students up and down the country are now facing a nervous wait for results day on August 12, bringing to a close two years of study that has been badly hit by disruption caused by the coronavirus.

Mr Cottingham said that this year the situation is far more complex, with many aspects of the GCSE and BTEC curricula being dropped completely, many students missing more school than others and students in subjects such as drama and music having been prevented from performing their coursework because of social distancing measures.

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Mark Cottingham, principal of Shirebrook Academy

As a result, schools and the teachers themselves are being asked to set the grades and submit them to the exam boards, which will then review the grades as part of their quality assurance.

Mr Cottingham said: “The scale of the disruption and the fact that some schools were hit harder by COVID than others means that there is huge inconsistencies in the amount of learning that Year 11 students have been able to undertake, while chunks of the curriculum have had to be left out entirely.

“Despite that, students have still had to sit assessments, which last year’s cohort didn’t have to do even though they had two years’ of full learning, and so I feel for them because they have had the worst of both worlds.

“That said, I have been amazed at how our students kept going, especially those who faced some hugely challenging circumstances and so I’d advise them to focus on the way in which they developed the resilience to just keep going and think about the positive of their educational experience over the whole past 11 years.”