FOR school-leavers across Colchester, yesterday’s A-level results day should have marked the start of an end to what has been months of turbulence and uncertainty.

In an unprecedented move, influenced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, exams this year were scrapped, leaving schools to predict grades instead.

These predictions were then sent to exam boards, which took into consideration data from previous years, before finalising the overall results.

If a student is unhappy with their grades, however, they have also been given the opportunity to appeal.

And the introduction of the Government’s triple lock system now means students can also pick their highest grade from either estimated grades, previous mocks, or exams which they can take in the autumn.

In the past, even the thought of peeling open the brown envelope in a school hall surrounded by teachers would have been coupled with nerve-wracking emotion.

But for some students on the brink of departing schools and colleges in Colchester, this year’s future-defining moment was somewhat anti-climactic if not tarnished with disappointment and confusion.

As a result, many Colchester schools refused to disclose results with the Gazette, not believing them to be a true reflection of what their students could have achieved.

Colchester Royal Grammar School did not send any information about the grades awarded to their students by the time of going to press nor information on individual success and achievements.

A spokesman for the Thurstable School in Tiptree was also hesitant to divulge results.

In a statement, the school said: “Given the nature of the way that exams have been determined this year, we do not believe it appropriate to comment on results.”

But despite the pandemic disrupting the way in which tuition and grades have been able to be rolled out, other schools have instead chosen to celebrate some of their star students.


Gillian Marshall, the executive principal at the Colchester County High School for Girls, heaped praise on both her students and staff for staring in the face of adversity with resilience and determination.

She said: “We should celebrate the amazing achievements of our sixth formers.

“Overall, the academic attainment of the students is outstanding, and their exceptional results represent the culmination of many years spent studying.

“We are so proud of them all.”

One particular success story is that of Riannon Chaplin, who is visually impaired.

She only joined the school in Year 12 but says it has played a pivotal part in her securing the grades she wanted.

Awarded two A*s and one A, Riannon can now go on to study history at Cambridge University.

“I have really enjoyed being at Colchester County High School for Girls, and it has been the best two years of my school life,” she said.


The Colne Community School and College in Brightlingsea also enjoyed a positive year, posting a 100 per cent pass rate.

The more athletic of pupils also helped the school achieve a record number of top grades in BTEC Sport.

Steven Crane, head of school, said: “I am really delighted for these young people who have reaped the benefits of their hard work.

“We wish them every success in the future.”