KNUTSFORD Academy students are the toast of the town today after securing a strong set of A-level results in the most challenging of circumstances.

With exams cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, students in England received grades based on teachers' predictions, which were then moderated by exam boards based on past school performance and students' performance.

The school had an average grade of B at A-level, alongside its highest ever average points score and a 100 per cent pass rate in more than 30 subjects for the sixth year running.

Almost all students had their places confirmed at university this morning, with the school now working with any students who are challenging the grade they received.

Headteacher James Whittaker said: “We are really pleased with the A-level results and feel proud that so many have achieved such high grades.

Knutsford Guardian:

"This is all in the midst of such challenging circumstances and on the back of all the media speculation that has been a feature of the last few months.

"We are now working hard to support any students whose grades were below what we had expected and will use the appeals process to do this.

"I would like to wish all our year 13 students the very best for their future be that in work or university. They have been a credit to the academy."

Among the top performers at Knutsford Academy were Hannah Spurry, who secured her offer to study at the University of Cambridge after getting A* in chemistry and A grades in biology and maths.

The news was a weight off the 17-year-old's shoulders following such an uncertain few months.

Hannah, from Knutsford, said: “It went well, I got into the university I wanted so I am very relieved about that.

Knutsford Guardian:

“It’s been very stressful because obviously there has been a lot of uncertainty as to what would end up happening with this calculated grade system.

“It was just luck really at the end of the day if your grade did get marked down by the Government or if it didn’t, so I am very fortunate to have been able to get in.

“Usually you work all the way up to your exams and you see the results of that in what you get, but in this case school ended and it was like, ‘what do we do now?’.”

Hannah is one of two academy students moving on to Oxbridge, with Hope Philpott off to study history at Oxford.

The 18-year-old, from Knutsford, secured three A* grades in history, politics and English literature – but was angry about the way some of her peers did not get the grades they were after, with 39 per cent of students in England seeing their scores downgraded from their predicted grades.

“I was a bit concerned about the sudden changes and that the Government didn’t really have this sorted,” Hope said.

Knutsford Guardian:

“A lot of my friends were very stressed and I think the Government have a lot to answer for that.

“These grades, that obviously we didn’t sit the exam for, just felt so random and there are people who have grades that don’t reflect what they thought they would have got, so I was concerned on the way to school.”

Esme Perry, from Knutsford, was one of the school's students who launched an appeal against one of her grades.

She is challenging a B in biology, while she secured A grades in chemistry and maths, but she is still on her way to Nottingham University to study veterinary medicine.

Esme, 18, said: “I’m interested to see how [the appeal] is going to go, it’s part of the uncertainty around everything I guess.

Knutsford Guardian:

“I talked to my teacher and he expected me to get an A, that was the grade I was working at in my last mock.

“The teachers are still a bit uncertain about what is going to happen and in a week’s time I should have a bit more information about it.

“It was one of the subjects I was more confident in, so it was interesting when I opened the result, but overall I am happy.”

Meanwhile, Cheshire Studio also celebrated a positive set of results.

The school, which is attached to Knutsford Academy, specialises in both academic and vocation courses – offering A-levels, BTECs and nationally-recognised qualifications.

Headteacher Peter Kingdom said: “As with the academy we are really pleased with the results for Cheshire Studio School.

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"Students have achieved above our expectations with an average grade of B- in ‘A’ level subjects and a record number of distinction grades in vocational qualifications such as BTECs.

"Students will be going on to a range of destinations – including universities and higher apprenticeships – and specialising in areas such as business management and law, chiropractic studies, journalism, sport and exercise science, and product and furniture design."