Despite the national upset caused by A Level results and the speculation surrounding the release of GCSE results, students at Brighton Girls arrived at school today with their customary good cheer – there were many smiles, both before and after the envelopes were opened. “Our students welcomed Monday’s announcement and were relieved to hear that their teachers’ professional judgement would at least be taken into account,” said Head, Rosie McColl.

With 23% of results being Grade 9, 48% Grades 8/9, and over a third of the year group achieving straight 9-7 Grades (the equivalent of A*/A in the old letter grading system) both staff and students at Brighton Girls have every reason to feel proud. There were some strong individual performances but particular mention must go to Phoebe (10 Grade 9s and an A in Additional Maths), Belle (10 Grade 9s and an A in Additional Maths), Rosie (9 Grade 9s and an 8 in Further Maths) and Isobel (9 Grade 9s and an 8 in Further Maths) on their outstanding results.

“Our GCSE students have been through a lot,” said Rosie McColl. “They were dismayed when the cancellation of exams denied them the chance to prove themselves, and they have since faced an agonising wait for their results. Having been told initially that their grades would be determined by a computer algorithm, then witnessing national fallout following the release of A Level results, and the subsequent Government U-turn, many must have looked forward to today with more than the usual mixture of trepidation and apprehension. This has been an unsettling time for them all. I was reassured to see so many here to collect their results in person, and proud to see the way they conducted themselves – congratulating their friends, thanking their teachers, and showing the same empathy and resilience they have demonstrated throughout the COVID crisis”.

“As I said to the Year 11s at their final assembly, they are a special group – the experience of the last few months will make them stronger: living through the Covid-19 pandemic has fine-tuned their knowledge of politics and economics; increased their awareness of social injustice; and brought home the importance of positive mental and physical health. Exams have only ever been one small part of a learning process that lasts a lifetime, and the events of this year have brought that into sharp relief. Increasingly employers are looking beyond paper qualifications – they want to see evidence of empathy, emotional intelligence, resilience, creativity and confidence. At Brighton Girls, these attributes are wrapped up in our values and in our tradition of developing individuals who are both kind and bold – these are the things that will count in the long-term and, after recent events, I have no doubt that our students will be better equipped, and even more determined, to go out and make a positive difference in the world”.

Students receiving their results today expressed their relief that school would return to relative normality in a couple of weeks. Many have enjoyed the bridging and extension classes offered as part of the school’s #BrightFutures programme during lockdown, and are keen to embark on their A Level courses. At Brighton Girls, staff are looking forward to welcoming all year groups back in September and those joining the Sixth Form can look forward to a two-day induction, which will bring brilliant individuals from across the city to Brighton Girls, to tell their story and to inspire students at this crucial stage of their educational journey. From self-defence to stand-up comedy, from leadership to the launch of Brighton Stargazing project (a community STEM programme, which will see Sixth Form students working with pupils from St Andrew’s Primary School in Hove), the school has devised an action-packed programme to celebrate the return to school, and to mark the beginning of a new chapter. The future looks bright for the GCSE class of 2020.

Congratulations to them all!