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  • Dr Kate Nickson

Fighting back the tears on A Level Results Day

A Level Results Day is the culmination of fourteen years of formal education. For those receiving their results it seems as those their life’s hopes and dreams hinge on that single piece of paper.


What I want to tell them is that it absolutely is not the be all and end all. Whether their results are what they hoped for or not, their future is in their hands. Perhaps some revaluation is needed with regards to what comes next. But regardless of what that piece of paper says they can go on to have a joyful and meaningful life even if it isn’t taking the direction, which they had previously hoped. This may just be a moment to be brave and think outside the box and embrace or make their own new opportunities.


Whilst I am of course very proud of those students who have achieved the coveted A* grades, in many cases it is the individual success stories that grab me, where they have achieved outcomes of which they and I hardly dared to dream; with incredibly hard work they have reached for the stars and achieved amazing things. I found myself fighting back the tears yesterday morning when I saw one of my pupils who had overcome personal adversity to achieve an A grade. Another for whom Chemistry had been such a struggle achieved an incredible B grade. Whilst a student who had achieved a D grade had already begun an engineering apprenticeship and spoke about it with a passion that I had never heard from them about their A Levels: they had found their niche.


I am proud of every single one of my students for making it through A Level Chemistry, taking their exams and achieving a grade. I feel for those who are disappointed in their results and wish I could fix it for them. This is where they need every bit of their resilience, which we aim to build in them as part of today’s education.

Meanwhile back to my Head of Department duties of continuing to analyse their results and unpicking their performance on every question, to allow me to make recommendations to my successor for how to improve next year’s outcomes.



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