Larne Grammar School celebrates many successes ‘in a very difficult year’

A level results day once again proved to be a cause for celebration amongst pupils and staff at Larne Grammar School despite the unusual circumstances.

Thursday, 13th August 2020, 5:58 pm
Ian Gingles achieved 2 A*s and 1 A grade.

The 2019/20 academic year was greatly impacted by the outbreak of Covid-19, most significantly by the cancellation of the 2020 summer examination Series.

This unprecedented situation, the school noted, required examination boards to put in place alternative arrangements for the awarding of GCSE, AS and ‘A’ level qualifications which would ensure that the grades received were fair and reliable and best reflect what pupils would have achieved had they sat the exams in normal circumstances.

Although social distancing protocols prevented Larne Grammar from inviting all pupils and parents into school to receive their results, school said it was delighted to report on some of the many successes achieved by Year 14 and Year 13 pupils.

Courtney Murray, one of five Larne Grammar School pupils to achieve 1 A* and 2 A grades.

At ‘A’ Level, a total of 16 pupils achieved at least 3 A grades. The top three performers were each awarded 2 A*s and 1 A grade. Iain Gingles was awarded these grades in Information Technology, Environmental Technology and Business Studies; Abbie McWhirter, in Information Technology, Religious Studies and Biology and Keryn Wilson in Biology, Chemistry and Business Studies. Iain, Abbie and Keryn will all now progress to Queen’s University Belfast to study accountancy, law and medicine respectively.

Meanwhile, Thea Bareham, Holly Drummond, Jenna McCarlie, Courtney Murray and Fiona Russell weach achieved 1 A* and 2 A grades, whilst Chloe McKay gained 2 A*s and 1 B. A further eight pupils, Craig Alexander, Zoe Bain, Karen Currie, Sophie Farquhar, Katie-Lee Houston, Emma McAlister, Abigail Park and Zoe Todd achieved 3 A grades.

The AS results achieved by Year 13 pupils were, the school continued, equally impressive. A total of 10 pupils, Amy Campbell, Iain Crooks, Cameron Hawthorn, Isaac Holst, Rory Madden, Louise McCrea, Leah McMinn, Sarah Murray, Avianne Porter and Adam Smith were awarded 4 A grades. A further 15 pupils, Madison Agnew, Lars Bodnarchuk, Kerry Bouma, Kerys Jenkins, Noah Ku, Amber Marcus, Caitlin McGarel, Eva McGeown, Cameron McGregor, Charlotte Meban, Jacob Mizzi, Kaitlin Nelson, Emily Schmidt, Daniel Vasey and Matthew Vasey achieved at least 3 As.

Jonathan Wylie, principal of Larne Grammar School, said: “This has been a very difficult year for our pupils who have faced considerable uncertainty since the decision was taken in March to cancel the AS and ‘A’ Level examinations.

Louise McCrea and Leah McMinn were awarded 4 A grades at AS level..

“I commend the staff of the school for their work during April and May to provide the examination boards with the information they required to award the calculated grades and to ensure that the results achieved by our pupils have validity and currency.

“Had these results been achieved in any other year, the school would have been celebrating best ever AS and ‘A’ Level results. This reflects the talent, ability and hard work of these particular cohorts of pupils and I congratulate them on the outstanding results they have achieved.

“It was unfortunate that our Year 14 pupils were unable to finish their time in Larne Grammar School in the usual fashion. Despite this, we wish them every success and hope we will have the opportunity to meet again in the future.”

Education Minister Peter Weir has congratulated A level and AS level students across Northern Ireland who received results today and acknowledged the exceptional circumstances in which they have been awarded. At A level 86.4% of entries were awarded the highest grades of A*-C, a 1.6 percentage point increase on 2019 outcomes. At AS level, 79.3% were awarded grades A-C, a 2.2 percentage point increase on last year.

Avianne Porter was awarded 4 A grades at AS level.

Following the cancellation of exams in March, the Department of Education said it commissioned CCEA to provide advice on a broad range of options that would ensure students were awarded grades that were fair and robust, and would allow them to progress to the next stage of their education or career.

Grades, the department added, have been awarded this year based on a combination of teacher professional judgement, prior pupil achievement and a statistical standardisation process. A level grades are entirely based on individual performance data without adjustments according to school attended.

Mr Weir said: “A range of experts and stakeholders, including representatives of head teachers, teaching unions, employing authorities and the Education and Training Inspectorate were consulted before decisions on the alternative awarding arrangements were finalised.

“CCEA and the Department also worked closely with counterparts in England and Wales to ensure comparability of qualifications.”

Sarah Murray was awarded 4 A grades at AS level.

The Minister continued: “It was important that this year’s awards were comparable to those awarded in past years and recognised as equally valid to avoid any long-term detrimental impact on the future prospects of this cohort of young people.

“Full credit must go to teachers and school leaders who very quickly produced the professional judgements required and submitted these to CCEA within the very tight deadlines set.

“However, for those not happy with the outcome I would emphasise that the results today are provisional, and there is an appeals process available.”

Details of the appeals process can be found on the CCEA website.

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Cameron Hawthorn was awarded 4 A grades at AS level.

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