Above: NEC staff members wish students all the best on GCSE and IGCSE results day
This week across the country people, including NEC students, have collected their GCSE and IGCSE results.
As schools across the country look in dismay at the impact of the changes to this year’s English exam papers on their overall GCSE performance, young people and adults studying English IGCSE at the National Extension College (NEC) have lots to celebrate. 92.3% of NEC students have met or exceeded C grade and nearly a quarter of them – 23.1% - were awarded the top A* grade. In England as a whole, 61.7% of 16 and 17-year olds studying GCSE in school classrooms were awarded a grade C or above , with 4.1% achieving the top grade.
One of these students is 15-year old Anna from Colchester, who is being home educated. This year she took her English Language IGCSE, a year earlier than she would have taken it had she been attending school. She achieved an A*.
24-year old Heather from Plymouth did most of her studying while backpacking around South East Asia and Australia. She was really pleased with her A* result in English Language. Now that she is back in the UK, she plans on using the skills she's learnt from her GCSE English Language to sit GAMSAT (Graduate Medical School Admissions Test) in Australia and hopefully gain a place at medical school there.
Distance learning students are highly motivated, many of them making the decision to carry on studying beyond the compulsory education age. Their results today are testimony to their determination to succeed, whatever their circumstances. We all have just one chance as young people to gain the skills and qualifications we need to lead fulfilling, independent lives as adults. It takes determination to grasp the opportunity for a second chance at learning. As we celebrate the success of NEC’s second chance learners, we are also thinking about the pupils across the country who have been hit by the decision to make changes to the English exam during their course of study and whose grades are lower than they expected, based on their teachers’ assessment of their work over the past three years.
English Language is not the only subject in which NEC students have done well in this year. Across the board 74.7% of NEC IGCSE and GCSE students have achieved grades A*-C, compared to the national average for GCSE results of 68.4%. Many of these students are taking a second chance at learning.
One student that is doing just that is 29 year old Ben who lives part of the time in France, and part in the UK. He is studying 10 different courses with NEC, and has just picked up his IGCSE French results. ‘I am very pleased to be able to tell you that I got an A* (95%) in my French IGCSE, largely thanks to my tutor’s help. And the fact that I live in France for half the time (though I prefer to leave that bit out),’ he told us.
‘Nevertheless, I am pleased to get the top grade, especially as I spent my GCSE French exam 15 years ago smoking outside the school gates. The NEC have been a great help. One down, nine to go!’
NEC’s student services manager Alison says, ‘The student services team and myself see the hard work and motivation shown by NEC students all year round. Seeing the results of that hard work is inspirational, particularly when you see some of the challenges they face. The GCSE or IGCSE is the first significant mark of academic achievement, and on behalf of NEC would like to wish all of our students who collected results this week the very best of luck with the next step of their learning journey.’
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