Dylan Irish, 18, is from Tottenham, north London. He attended Barnet and Southgate college, and had his assessed grades of A*AA reduced to BCC, meaning he was unable go to Warwick, his firm choice of university. Following the government’s U-turn, however, he is elated to be going there to study law.
“I’m just feeling very grateful they’ve done the U-turn because I’ve worked so hard for two years, studying all the time, and the algorithm completely messed up my grades. I felt like two years of hard work had gone down the drain because an algorithm disadvantaged me and pulled all my grades down … I felt disheartened, confused and upset, so I’m so happy change came. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions. My friends are so happy as well, they got the grades they needed too.
A-level and GCSE results in England to be based on teacher assessments in U-turn
“The last few days, I’ve felt uncertain, nervous and edgy because I never knew if I’d get the results I deserved. My future was in the government’s hands after I was downgraded. I don’t think it was fair how they did it as every cohort and every student has different qualities and capabilities. You can’t base a school’s performance on its history.
“I studied so hard, I was always in the library and had been going to bed at 3am to make sure I got the grades I wanted. Education means a lot to me. My parents tell me ‘work hard and you can achieve whatever you want’. My mum was brought up in Jamaica and had a hard life, but she’s my role model and inspires me to be the best I can be as a person.
“Now I’m going to call Warwick to secure my space to study law after they said they would accept me if my grades change. I’m looking forward to being able to go to a Russell Group university. It’s a privilege; not many people in my family have gone to university. Still, I’m going to miss my mum’s cooking.”
Leah Glenday, 18, is from Essex. She was the first pupil from her school to be offered a place at Cambridge. Fostered from a young age and late to learn to read or write, she wanted to become a barrister specialising in family law. She wanted to help people going through experiences similar to hers when she was younger, but lost her chance when her predicted grades were downgraded. It is still unclear whether she she will be able to go to Cambridge or not.
“It’s been so good to see no one accepted the grades and that everyone fought back because they know what they deserve. It shocked the government, they didn’t understand we’re the generation who won’t sit back. If we don’t think it’s right we will fight back. Still, I’m just surprised they actually U-turned. I genuinely thought they wouldn’t make such a change. It’s been very, very stressful.
“I’m still so confused, all my teachers are very unclear about what they’re allowed to do regarding how our grades were assessed. My predicted grades were A*AA but my assessed marks were AAB. Should I get excited again to finally go to the university I’ve always dreamed of, to risk it being thrown back in my face? I’m not going to get my hopes up and be let down like before. My teachers have said they’ll let me know about my grades as soon as they find out.
“Even if I get the grades, people are saying there may not be any accommodation left, which is worrying me. I was only preparing myself to go to Cambridge … I never really looked into my insurance choice, what they have to offer in terms of financial support for accommodation is very, very different. I’ve been speaking to my social worker to try to get my maintenance grant changed.
“But I’ve just got to be positive now and hope for the best, that I can get to where I want to be. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, not just me but the thousands of other people who had their grades downgraded. I’m feeling so many types of emotions right now, I don’t know what to feel.”
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