Thousands of pupils across Manchester have picked up their GCSE results today in an academic year like no other that has seen pupils out of school since March and no exams sat.
Social distancing has been the order of the day with schools putting arrangements in place to ensure the safety of students and staff.
One school that went the extra mile was Manchester Communication Academy who – in a city first – offered a ‘drive-thru’ results service for their pupils.
The drive-through option put in place by the school for pupils if they wanted it, saw parents offered time slots throughout the morning to come along and pick up their results by car with their child. The idea meant that pupils could come to school, see a teacher, and safely pick up their results – all without leaving their car.
Like all schools headteacher Susan Watmough says her school has had to find new ways of working since they closed to most pupils at the start of lockdown. The school decided to offer the ‘collect by car’ service as an alternative Covid-secure option to pupils and their families. Pupils could also opt to have their results by email – something a number of other schools across the city also put in place.
She said: “It’s been an academic year like no other where we’re all suddenly having to find new ways of doing things, and after seeing the pictures of drive-through Covid testing centres, we thought a drive-through GCSE results service might be worth trying this year.
“It proved really popular with pupils and parents and was a great fun way for us to reconnect and see our Year 11s again.
“It’s been a challenging year for all students but they have been incredible throughout and I’d like to think getting their envelope with their results in, and with this the key to their future, made it all worth the wait.”
Over at The Dean Trust Ardwick School pupils and staff celebrated the school’s first ever GCSE results day, after the school first opened as a brand new school five years ago.
Tarun Kapur, Chief Executive of The Dean Trust, said: “When our pupils found out they wouldn’t be taking their exams this year they were extremely disappointed – mainly because they were going to be the first year group ever at the school to take exams, and they wanted to do themselves and everyone else proud.
“However today we saw many happy faces and well deserved results for them that allow them to progress on to the next stage in their lives.
“Our Class of 2020 have really set the bar high for younger pupils and have been brilliant role models during their time in school.”
After weeks of uncertainty the grades pupils received were awarded to them based on their teacher assessed grades, and for most pupils today was the first time they had been back inside their school in nearly five months.
Councillor Garry Bridges, Executive Member for Children and Schools, Manchester City Council, said: “This has been a really tough year for everyone and the mass of uncertainty there has been over these last few weeks about the grades pupils were going to get has been really stressful both for young people waiting for their results and trying to work out their next steps, and for schools.
“Clearly the wait is still not over for BTEC students – and we have to hope their grades are dealt with fairly and swiftly so they too can have some certainty about their next steps.
“The single most important thing now for all pupils is that they are able to move forward with their lives and onto the next phase of their education, employment or training. Some pupils may not of course have achieved the grades they needed for this, or may still not have decided what they want to do next – it’s vital they talk to their schools to get the support they need to be able to work this out.
“Whilst this might not have been the school year they were hoping for, it’s definitely not one they’re going to forget, and I wish all our young people – who have proved themselves time and again during this pandemic with their patience, their commitment to their studies, and to keeping their families, their friends and their communities safe – the very best of luck for the future.”