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The most upsetting A Level results day I have experienced as principal in Northern Ireland

Gary Kelly, principal of St Kevin’s College


"When there is such an injustice, I feel we must speak out for our young people": Garry Kelly, principal of St Kevin’s College in Lisnaskea, says he has never had to deal with so many upset pupils and parents as this year

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Pupils at St Dominics Grammar in west Belfast turn up for their A Level results. PACEMAKER BELFAST  13/08/2020

Pupils at St Dominics Grammar in west Belfast turn up for their A Level results. PACEMAKER BELFAST 13/08/2020

Pupils at St Dominics Grammar in west Belfast turn up for their A Level results. PACEMAKER BELFAST 13/08/2020

With over 25 years of teaching experience and 15 years as principal, this was one of the most upsetting results days I have experienced.

After arriving in school on Wednesday excited about downloading the A-level results, this quickly turned to upset when I had seen how many pupils’ grades were marked down at A-level.

I was expecting, as St Kevin’s College was ranked as the highest performing non-selective school in 2019 and second highest non-selective school in 2018, that this year’s A-level results would follow the student cohort pattern from when these pupils were doing GCSEs one or two years ago. But no — approximately 65% of Year 14 A-level pupils had A-levels downgraded with the CCEA Exam Board. The picture with other exam boards was better than this, down slightly.