IT WAS an emotional day on Thursday last week when 18 year olds in West Devon and East Cornwall picked up the results of the exams which will determine their future.

This was the cohort who had been studying in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, with much of their critical learning for their exams at 16 and at 18 taking place remotely, rather than in the classroom. Their GCSEs two years ago were taken remotely, so for most these exams were the first they had taken in an exam hall. These, their teachers agreed, made their achievements all the more commendable.

Wendy Ainsworth, principal at Callington Community College echoed other headteachers when she said she was “so incredibly proud” of the students. “This year’s cohort will always occupy a special space in our hearts and we are particularly proud of their accomplishments, given all the conditions of the last two years,” she said. “We are rightly proud of every single student in our cohort, who have demonstrated great tenacity over the last seven years, and the last three years in particular, which in turn has yielded fabulous results for them.”

Her comments were echoed by Tristan Muller-Forster, Principal of Tavistock College, who said: “These are the cohort who went through their GCSE studies with remote learning and without face-to-face teaching and only centre-assessed grades. With the backdrop of the pandemic and the fact that these students had never sat public exams before makes their results all the more remarkable. We’re just so proud of our young people and our staff.”

At Okehampton College, Principal Andrew Sweeney said: “We are delighted to see our students receiving their results today, all of which are hugely deserved after working so hard, not just over the last two years but through their secondary schooling. We are very proud of the next steps all our students will be taking, including securing places at their chosen universities, on coveted apprenticeships and in first jobs.”