With two years of unrelenting challenges, it is hats off and congratulations to our local students sitting their A-Levels, BTECs and GSCEs this year. What a fantastic set of results in the most difficult of circumstances. Teachers, headteachers, and parents, have supported students in this most extraordinary year of classroom teaching, online teaching and home learning.
All parents will have seen the ups and downs, the highs and lows and the uncertainty of students staying in school or self-isolation. Changing day by day. What a very difficult period. In addition, many students have been personally affected by Covid, including illness, bereavement and family financial difficulties.
The resilience and adaptability of home learning will serve students well as they move onto their next stage, be that sixth form, college, university or an apprenticeship. Additional skills have been learnt at pace, such as collaborative working through Microsoft Teams, independent learning using online educational tools for support, presentation and much more besides. The cohort of young people qualifying during the pandemic have harnessed excellent results, and with it strong employability.
To mention just a few, Astor saw 91% passes with three or more A levels, with one-third at A-B. Dover Grammar School for Girls continues a very strong run with almost half of students achieving A/ A grades. Deal’s Goodwin Academy saw 80% of students achieve Distinctions or higher in applied science, business and public services, with Dover College also seeing a record number of BTEC distinctions.
Dover Christ Church Academy saw a 100% pass rate across both vocational and academic qualifications. Strong results too at the Duke of York’s Royal Military School and the Dover Boys Grammar School. Really impressive outcomes opening up opportunities in the military, business apprenticeships, university and more besides.
As our schools re-open in September, there is a job of work to push forward with learning at all ages. To reset the expectations of a rigorous but fun daily learning timetable. But we shouldn’t lose sight of the tremendous amount of learning and new skills across all ages that has taken place during the pandemic. Going into this academic year, it is to be hoped that there will more certainty in the classroom. Steps are being taken to vaccinate students, starting with the 16- and 17-year olds, and students at medical risk, together with a change to self-isolation rules. A winter run of booster vaccinations will help further. We are not out of the woods yet with the pandemic, but we should look forward with optimism for the new school year.
It’s been such a tough year. But our young people have shown that they are set to grow and thrive coming out of the pandemic. As Member of Parliament for Dover and Deal I will continue to ensure that we move forward as a community, and our young people have the opportunities to make the most of their future.