School closure provided star student time to reflect

The abrupt end of normal schooling did provide some benefit for members of the Class of 2020.

James King, from Cramlington Learning Village, used the time to re-evaluate his future.  “I had wanted to do medicine, but I didn’t do particularly well on the first round of interviews. However, having the time to reflect a little bit more made me realise that engineering was more my thing,” he said. “I wouldn’t have had that opportunity if quarantine hadn’t happened.”

He was awarded A* in all of his A-levels – Chemistry, Maths, Further Maths and Physics – and has a number of interviews lined up as he prepares for a year working in industry before applying to Cambridge University next year.

Cramlington Learning Village students (from left) James King, Matthew Pay, Ellie Dossantos and Allanah Skinner

Cramlington Learning Village students (from left) James King, Matthew Pay, Ellie Dossantos and Allanah Skinner

James was one of 14 students at the school who received three or more A grades. Cramlington Learning Village head teacher Wendy Heslop said it had been a challenging year for everybody at the school: “Our students have faced an unprecedented level of disruption, and there also still remains some uncertainty over the appeals process. However, I am delighted with the results for the whole year group, which reflect their hard work and commitment.”

The students also appreciated the help they have received from their teachers. “It’s a brilliant place. I’ve really appreciated it,” said Matthew Pay, who was awarded A* in Chemistry, Maths and Physics and an A in Further Maths. “The teachers have been really inspiring and the sixth form team has been really supportive as well.  They’ve taken a lot of time to help my apply for courses, pointing out things I might want to go for.”

Matthew is going to Sheffield University to study Chemical Engineering.  He has received a £1500 bursary from the university for exceeding his offered grades.

Also going to Sheffield is Allanah Skinner.  She will be studying Medicine after an A* and three As. “It was a bit disappointing not to do the exams and be able to show what you’d worked towards, but the grades I got reflected what I thought I was going to get. It’s worked out for me OK and I’ll just look forward to the future now,” she said.

“It was a shame to leave as abruptly as we did.  It would have been nice to end it on a high and a bit of a celebration,” but I loved the school.

As well as the impact on the students, the closure of schools also interrupted special events to mark Cramlington Learning Village’s 50th birthday.