GCSE Results Day 2021
Congratulations! Class of 2021 receive their GCSE results.
Just before 9:15 on Thursday 12 August 2021, pupils from our ‘Class of 2021’ began to gather outside the school’s Reception where desks had been set up by our Exams Team. Chiquita Henson, Headteacher, joined them and, at 9:15 precisely and over the next hour, pupils came forward, as others arrived, to collect their results. While there was a great sense of trepidation, pupils managed to contain their nerves and, characteristically, both supported and congratulated each other as envelopes containing their grades were opened. More pupils than usual this year elected to receive their grades by email, either because they were on holiday or self-isolating.
There is no doubt that pupils in our ‘Class of 2021’ and their teachers were relieved to finally receive confirmation of their GCSE results. These unique teacher assessed grades, which have undergone rigorous moderation, are testimony to our pupils' sustained hard work and commitment during an unprecedented two year period which saw significant periods of lockdown and self-isolation owing to the pandemic.
Our results are broadly in line with what pupils at Deer Park usually attain: 79% of pupils secured 5 or more standard passes at grade 4 or above, although, it is pleasing to note, more pupils have done exceptionally well. A total of 110 grades 9s were awarded and, significantly, 34 pupils achieved 5 or more of the top grades (9-7); 23 pupils attained 7 or more and, within this, some had a full complement of 9-8s! They have all developed a voracious appetite and thirst for learning.
I am immensely proud of what our pupils have been able to achieve in Key Stage 4 with the support of their teachers and families. It is very encouraging to see how so many have applied their positive mindsets and utilised the learning muscles we take care to nurture throughout their education with us. They have shown great resilience and demonstrated tremendous resourcefulness. Many have proved themselves to be highly effective independent learners. I am confident that these aptitudes will continue to serve them well as they progress into and through the next stages of their learning. I congratulate them on their amazing successes. All of our pupils’ grades are commendable, but they reflect only a part of each pupil’s experience and do not show the all of the challenges individuals have faced during this period of adversity.
Chiquita Henson, Headteacher
Some of our Class of 2021 commented:
‘This was so unexpected, and I am so, so happy!’ Tom
I was really pleased to open my results. Way better than I was expecting.’ Clara
‘It’s a lot of hard work, I’ll tell you that. No one said it would be easy. But it was sure worth it and was super awesome!’ Ethan
‘I am happy with all my results, not what I was expecting at all.’ Morgan
‘I got an grade 7 in Drama!’ Milly
‘I was super excited to get my results. Hard work paid off!’ Ben
‘I am very happy with my results.’ Carly
At Cirencester Deer Park School, we responded to the first period of national lockdown quickly and this cohort, then in Year 10, were immediately involved in our pilot use of MS Teams and the delivery of live lessons. In response to their feedback, teachers were able to adapt and refine their practice to achieve an effective balance between synchronous and asynchronous learning, and were rewarded with high levels of attendance and engagement online. Pupils in our Class of 2021 continued to persevere with their studies on their return to school and face-to-face teaching in March 2021 at the end of the third national lockdown.
However, our pupils, like their peers across the country, did not have the normal markers to inform them of their progress, such as formal Mock Exams in November or our annual Mock Exam Results Day in January which would have prepared them to receive their final grades. They did, however, receive regular feedback from their teachers, who ensured they had a secure and agreed evidence base for each of their candidates prior to finally assessing their work.
‘Huge congratulations to our former Year 11s from the Maths Faculty on their super GCSE results. The resilience and commitment to learning that you demonstrated over the past 2 years has culminated in results that you should be very proud of. A special shout out goes to those of you who also achieved GCSE Statistics and Additional Mathematics qualifications: you smashed it!’ Mrs Pennington, Head of Maths.
‘We are thrilled with the results achieved by pupils in Business Studies, Geography and History. The level of effort and dedication demonstrated by pupils in Humanities during these turbulent times was incredible. Their willingness to engage, be proactive and push to be the best they can be should be praised. They fully deserve these fantastic results.’ Mr Ferne, Head of Humanities.
It should be remembered that it has been an especially turbulent time and we have all had to make adjustments and learn to live with the uncertainty brought by COVID-19. All in our Class of 2021 and their teachers were originally working to the exam specifications, the content of which was then modified nationally, in recognition of the potential for lost learning, for assessment in May/June 2021, before hearing the Prime Minister announce in January 2021 that, for the second year running, formal examinations were cancelled and it was confirmed grades would be awarded by teachers. Our Deputy Head, Mrs Lang, led the way. Her meticulous approach ensured our faculties followed the guidance we received to the letter and we were able to exercise our professional integrity fairly. As a result of this close moderation, our teacher assessed grades are genuinely ‘centre based’ with no one teacher being solely responsible for any set of grades.
‘Our teachers, working with their respective Heads of Faculty, ensured a fair and authentic arrival at this year’s results. Two sets of internal formal assessments gave pupils the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the subjects they were studying. Strategies including pupils only using their candidate numbers, and not their names, therefore anonymising their assessment papers, meant that any unconscious bias of teachers was removed, further adding to the authenticity in arriving at pupil grades. I am enormously grateful for the time and effort that all faculties put into determining the grades for our Class of 2021.’ Mrs Lang, Deputy Head.
Mrs Davies, Head of English, writes: 'At the end of such a turbulent period in their education, it is fabulous to see this success achieved by the Class of 2021 in their English Language and Literature GCSEs. Pupils coped cheerfully with whatever was thrown at them: online lessons, isolation, an ever-changing timetable for Spoken English assessments taking place during tutor periods. As I wearily trudged around the school last winter, coming back to E6 for lessons with my own Year 11 class inevitably lifted my spirits. Thank you for your enthusiasm and unfailing good humour.
Year 11, you should be immensely proud of your performance in the final 'exams'. We tested you on every element of both courses and, suffice to say, were bowled over by the quality of your responses.
Finally, I would also like to thank the members of the incredible English team, that I have the privilege to lead, for the quality of their teaching as well as the dedication and commitment to ensuring grades awarded were accurate. All gave freely of their time when thoroughly standardising assessments once the marking load was complete.
Year 11, I wish you great success in whatever you choose to do next. Killing kings aside, whatever happened to Macbeth, remember ambition is no bad thing.'
‘Science classes of all abilities showed extraordinary levels of diligence and determination despite the repeated challenges that they faced. They maintained their learning remotely during lockdowns and their exam performance reflected their consistent commitment.’ Dr Tipping, Head of Science.
‘This is a great result and truly reflects the hard work of the school to ensure all pupils had the opportunities to achieve the results they deserved. From a PE point of view, I would like to highlight the hard work, dedication and the meticulous way the PE staff worked to collate these grades. I am really proud of the hard work, enthusiasm and passion our pupils and their parents have displayed, revising hard for the assessments and collating as much video evidence as they could to support their practical marks.’ Mrs Hacker, Head of PE.
'It was fantastic to see so many happy faces this morning when Year 11 were receiving their GCSE results. The pupils remained engaged and focused right until the end of their studies at Deer Park and we are incredibly proud of their achievements.' Mrs Gleed, Head of Expressive Arts.
We wish everyone in our Class of 2021 success in their future learning. It was reassuring to know that they had secured the grades they needed to support their transition into the next phase of their education. We look forward to seeing them at our Key Stage 4 Celebration of Achievement in November 2021 when we will acknowledge their progress and attainment, and share their certificates with them.
‘We would like to say thank you to all the staff at Deer Park School for the fantastic five years that you’ve given our daughter. She has grown and developed in so many ways and we have been so grateful for all the support she has received from staff and the Pastoral team. She has thoroughly enjoyed her time with you especially her involvement with the Expressive Arts team and school productions. We realise that these last eighteen months have been a real challenge for schools and we really appreciate all you did in making a difficult situation work so well. We were always impressed with how the school handled the ever-changing situation. Thank you for the contributions you have all made in helping our daughter become the young lady she is today, confident, happy and ready to start her next chapter in her education.’ Parents of pupil in our Class of 2021
Our congratulations also go to pupils in our (new) Year 11, the vast majority of whom successfully completed their GCSE Short Course in Religious Philosophy and many their GCSE in Statistics while they were in Year 10. Many pupils in this year group also came into school to collect their results.
'It was wonderful seeing our Year 10 collecting their GCSE Religious Studies Short Course results. There were some very happy faces which were well deserved and reflected their commitment.' Miss Hope, Head of Ethics and Computing.
Stem4, an organisation supporting teengage mental health, have shared a number of tips we think are useful:
How to Manage Your Mental Health on Results Day
1) Dealing with disappointment: Remember, exams are a measure of your schoolwork and test performance, they are not a statement about who you are. Just because your results are disappointing, it doesn’t mean you are too. You can work on managing your performance differently next time.
2) Celebrate Yourself: Regardless of your results, you managed to get through a year of schooling and assessments during a global pandemic. You deserve to celebrate simply for trying your best in a difficult period.
3) Communicate your feelings: If a friend has got the results they wanted and you haven’t, try not to let anger or jealousy get in the way of your friendship. Instead, congratulate them, but let them know you feel fragile. Don’t compare your situation to anyone else’s - everyone is on a different path, and sometimes not getting what you wanted provides other opportunities you never considered.
4) Try to be empathetic: If you have fared better than a friend, try and put yourself in their shoes, and think about how they might be feeling. Don’t put down your performance or any tests (e.g. ‘I didn’t work that hard’ or my assessments must have been easy’), focus instead on how they would like to be supported, rather than on your own experience.
How to Believe in Yourself and Feel Proud of Your Results
Feeling a fraud?
1) Feeling a fraud because you haven’t sat the ‘real ‘exams? Education is a process not just an assessment. Remind yourself of what you had to read, revise, discuss and be marked on in the lead up to the exams. This is the learning process.
2) Try not to take on board what other people are saying about your results, or the way in which you might have achieved them. It has been an unprecedented year for students and you have had to adapt to a number of educational challenges. You deserve to feel proud of your grade regardless of what others think.
Not got the results you anticipated?
3) Stop comparing yourself to others. Try to catch yourself when you begin to rank yourself against the grades of a friend, older sibling, or different year group. Everyone’s experience of exams, assessments and school is different - focusing on your own path is all that matters.
4) Remember that the best way to learn is through mistakes. By facing disappointment now, you are giving yourself a better chance for success in the future. All you have to do is get back up and try again.
Building Your Academic Resilience Post Pandemic
The impact of the pandemic on learning has been huge for many students. Limited access to good quality online learning, difficulty in motivating yourself to learn and engage with online information, and finding it harder to balance distractions at home may have all impacted on your performance.
- Focus on any gaps in knowledge and set yourself some goals on how to catch up.
- Ask your teachers/tutors to help you.
- Take steps to support your mental health if it has been impacted over the pandemic. Better mental health means better learning.
- Focus on building your academic confidence one step at a time. This means taking on small amounts of work and making sure you complete them on time. Compliment yourself for doing well.
Why not take part in stem4’s Youth Mental Health Day on 7 September? On the day, young people across the country will be invited to create and share a personal goal that will help them to #StrideForward towards positive mental health. You can #StrideForward academically by setting yourself a goal. Find out more on ymhd.co.uk