After the most challenging few months in its 50-year history, Cramlington Learning Village was able to end the school year on a high note thanks to the academic and sporting achievements of its students.
Rachel Gourley’s results – nine GCSEs at Grade 6 and above – meant she secured a golf scholarship at Auburn University in Alabama.
She was away playing in a tournament in Somerset when she discovered her grades and, despite the time difference in the United States, contacted her coach.
“The scholarship was very much dependant on my GCSEs, but the coach is happy with what I got,” said Rachel, who started playing golf when she was five.
She will return to the school to study her A-levels before heading stateside in 2022. Rachel represented England Under-16s in 2019 and 2020 should have been a breakthrough year after being selected for the England Golf Under-18s Elite Team.
“But it’s been the same for everyone,” she said and – despite the brief interruption in her progress – she is more determined than ever to become a professional golfer: “It’s my goal and dream, but I’m just taking one step at the time at the moment and see how it goes.”
Rachel is a member of Arcot Hall Golf Club in Cramlington and practises at Close House, one of the UK’s top courses. “The school’s been brilliant both for letting me take time off to travel around the UK and Europe but also helping me catch up once I get back to school or giving me work to do when I was away,” she said.
With the school’s support Adam Richardson, a goalkeeper for Sunderland AFC and England Under-17s, has also successfully juggled his sporting and academic commitments.
Adam, who has been with Sunderland since he was eight and signed his first professional contract in January, achieved nine GCSEs at Grade 5 and above.
Four students – Daniel Beaney, Sophie Coaker, James Dunn and Sophie Milligan – were awarded at least seven Grade 9s for their subjects.
Sophie Coaker received the top grades in all of her GCSEs. “I was really relieved after all the disappointments the students had last week. I was pleased that they changed it from the algorithm to predicted grades,” she said.
“At first I was a little bit annoyed because I couldn’t put all my hard work into practice, but I’m a bit relieved to have not gone through all the exams. It has been a little bit stressful,” said Sophie who will is staying at the school to study A-levels in Biology, Chemistry, Spanish and Psychology.
Sophie Milligan is taking A-levels in French, Spanish, Biology and Chemistry after her nine seven GCSEs, including seven Grade 9s.
“The last few months have been very stressful, not knowing how I was going to do. I went into it expecting to do exams and I had worked pretty hard. It’s been a bit strange and a bit worrying, but I’m just so glad it’s all sorted now and I’ve got my results,” she said.
“My teachers have been amazing over the past two years and particularly over the last couple of months. They’ve been really supportive and helped me get what I wanted.”
Cramlington Learning Village Head teacher Wendy Heslop said she was both delighted and relieved with the GCSE success of students at the school: “It is great that an academic year which will be largely remembered for the disruption caused by the Covid-19 shutdown has ended so positively. There have been so many fantastic performances which reflect both the hard work and commitment of the students. We look forward to a record number of students joining our sixth form I am pleased they will be able to celebrate after such a difficult time.”
The academic year 2019-20 was a landmark year for the school as it marked 50 years of serving the town and local community.
Like so much else, however, events to celebrate the special birthday had to be shelved because of the pandemic.