Class of 2020 celebrate and look to the future

MORE than 1,000 students from Priestley College received their exam results and looked forward to university, apprenticeships and employment.

Not only did the entire Class of 2020 receive their marks for both A-Level and Vocational subjects, but a further 1,000 Year 1 students also received their AS marks.

Priestley’s new Principal James Gresty said he felt inspired by the dedication shown by young people and tutors during such a difficult time.

“This has been a year like no other, but here at Priestley we feel like we had a set of students like no other and we could not be more proud of them,” he said.

“Alongside accessing remote learning, pastoral care and careers guidance during lockdown, they have also been supporting their families and friends and making valued contributions to their communities.

“We do, however, share the concerns of our colleagues across the country about the negative impact the method of calculating grades has had on some students.”

Among those who impressed on results day was Meg Byrom who collected A*s in Geography and English and an A in Politics. She is now headed to Cambridge to study Politics.

“Going to Cambridge had never been on my radar until I joined Priestley,” she said. “Studying on programmes like The Graduate was so influential in my decision making and my tutors supported me all the way.”

Another student heading to Cambridge is former Sir Thomas Boteler pupil Damien Dooley who will be studying Natural Sciences.

During his course he became best friends with Jordan Holdsworth as they shared every class. Both earned A*s in Chemistry and Maths, an A in Physics while Damien added another A* in the Extended Project while Jordan achieved an A.

“We met on the starter day at Priestley and then again on our first day and have been friends since,” said Jordan, who has accepted a place at Warwick studying Maths.

Despite the uncertainty resulting from coronavirus Priestley students had extra reassurance thanks to taking AS-Levels at the end of Year 1, an option not available at other local colleges.

These results can be used as evidence for any student choosing to appeal the final grades, which have been determined by the Government’s standardisation process.

James said the college would support any student who wanted to appeal, secure a grade review or take a resit in Autumn.

 

“We will do whatever we can to help everyone navigate their next step into higher education, apprenticeships or employment,” he said.

One of the students who was certain about his next step was former St Ambrose College pupil Greg Wilmot who got As in History, Economics and Politics, securing his Economics degree apprenticeship with the Civil Service.

Former Culcheth High pupil Hannah Gallier took home a triple distinction* in Art and Design and is now headed to Nottingham Trent University.

“I’ve had a really good time at Priestley, I’ve made a lot of friends and the teachers have been really supportive,” she said.

Today Priestley’s outgoing Principal Matthew Grant said the cohort was as deserving of their grades as any other.

“Although students didn’t take exams this year these A-Level and Vocational results are the culmination of years of dedication from our students,” he said.

“They are not, nor have they even been, something that just happens in the last few months of their second year.

“Every one of them should be proud of their achievements, as should their parents, carers and tutors.”