STUDENTS at Holmes Chapel Sixth Form College have celebrated an A-level results day like no other this year.

For the first time, results are not based on final examinations but on each student's progress and achievements during the course of study, after exams were cancelled due to coronavirus.

More than 23 per cent of grades were A* or A, while 72 per cent were A* to C, and 98 per cent of entries resulted in a pass.

Nineteen subjects had a 100 per cent pass rate, while more than half of results in chemistry, maths and Spanish were A or A*, and two-thirds of computing results were A*.

Joanne Camm, director of sixth form studies, said: "Overall our results this year show an improvement but given the level of progress this cohort of students have made during the past two years we always expected that they would do well in comparison to other year groups.

"Looking back over their progress scores and mock examination results, these students have worked hard consistently and fully deserve to be proud of what they have achieved."

Across England, 39 per cent of grades given were below the mark predicted by teachers, and 40 grades received at Holmes Chapel fell in this category.

The college is now supporting students who want to appeal the marks and has provided them with the results they achieved in their mocks to assist with this, while further details on the process are due to be published next week.

Nigel Bielby, who takes the reins as headteacher on September 1, said: "This has been a very difficult and unsettling time for these students, who I have to say have been quite amazing in the way they have dealt with the disruption caused by lockdown.

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"They have done everything asked of them and more but not just during lockdown, throughout their two years in the sixth form college. They have been a great group of students and have been with us for the past seven years so we know them well.

"We are all very proud of each and every one of them. I know they will all go on to do great things in whatever they choose to do next."

Among the high achievers was David Black, who will be swapping Holmes Chapel for Durham, where he will study physics after picking up four A* grades.

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“It’s been quite strange going from normal studying to not being at school, he said.

“It’s been tough to adapt but it’s nice to come back and see the progress that has been made.

“I did hear quite a lot about grades going down so I was worried about that, but luckily it hasn’t happened in my case.”

Liam Blake is off to UCL in London to study astrophysics after getting three A grades.

He says the past few weeks have been unsettling as his future has not been in his own control.

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Liam said: "In some ways it’s been relieving that you haven’t had to sit any exams, but at the same time you feel like everything you could have done has been taken out of your own hands.

“So you are more stressed, because what is going to happen, what you are going to get and where you are going to be, you have not really got any control over that.

“Relief is all I feel now, and happiness.”

Rebecca Scowcroft was over the moon after making the most progress at the college in her year 13 group.

She secured three B grades and will be taking a gap year before either working or studying theatre at university.

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She said: “It’s been stressful in a different way. If you take the exams you wake up for the results, but obviously having not much to go on and knowing someone else was doing the results felt very strange.”

Other top achievers included Oliver Lord (A*A*AA), India Tate (AAA), Edward Morris (AAA), Tom Gilsenan (A*A*A*A*) and Oliver Balibil (A*A*A*).

Face coverings, hand hygiene stations and social distancing measures were all common sights across the college and Covid-19 safety guidance was well followed.

It was a special day for Denis Oliver, who spent his final A-level results day as headteacher in glorious sunshine.

He said: "I want to place on record my thanks and admiration for the staff and students in our sixth form college for their tremendous hard work over the past two years.

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"Since the nation went into lockdown at the end of March, the world has changed massively and this group of students have had to deal with lots of uncertainty.

"In the vast majority of cases students have got the results they deserve for two years of hard work but we know that there are still some results that have been lowered from those that our staff calculated based on two years of assessments. We will do everything we can to support our students to make sure that everyone gets the grades they deserve.

"Everyone connected with our school community, students, staff, parents and our governing body should be very proud of what our students have achieved and the amazing learning environment that we call our sixth form."