Students at Burscough Priory Academy have received their GCSE awards today after an unprecedented year of remote learning and the cancelled examination series.
This year group of students have had more to deal with than most. Not only have they missed out on 6 months of teaching, the chance to sit their exams, a rapturous results day, their prom, their leavers assembly and so many other seminal moments, they are a year group that has had so much more to deal with than simply the pandemic.
Burscough Priory was placed into special measures by Ofsted in November 2017, when this year group were in Year 9. This is the year when students are choosing and in some cases starting their GCSEs and should have been building on the firm foundations already in place. Instead it was a year of uncertainty about the future and the upheaval of change, in a school that was judged inadequate in all areas.
Fast forward two and a half years and at the point lockdown started this was a year group that had completely embraced change and has risen to the challenge of the higher expectations, stricter behaviour and higher targets that the new leadership (under Endeavour Learning Trust) has brought in. They were primed, focused and ready for their mocks and the final run up to the exams. All of this was then whipped away from them overnight as schools went into lockdown and exams were cancelled.
This didn’t stop the students focusing on the college and university bridging work sent out by the school, who continued to keep in touch with and encourage their students throughout.
Mrs MacLaren, Head of School told us: ‘The way that they embraced the changes in school must be applauded. Their resilience, determination and hard work before this, but especially during this academic year has been first class. We are delighted that our students are now safely moving onto their chosen destinations, with some of them now able to aspire for even higher level courses/apprenticeships than they originally considered. In the meantime, they have so much to be proud of and these GCSE grades are a stepping stone to the next stage of life and the adventures ahead.
Over the past few weeks, many parents have contacted us to express their gratitude and appreciation and we are both grateful and humbled in equal measure. All in all, we feel really proud of our 2020 cohort. This cohort was one that loved to learn and who forged excellent relationships with their teachers. The staff feel honoured to have worked with them over the last five years and to see them grow and blossom. In school, they are well known as kind and supportive, all maturing into fine young adults’.
Mrs MacLaren went on to say: ‘Our Student Leadership Team was an exceptional group, ably led by our Head Students Will and Lois and Deputy Head Students Ellie, Isaac and Catherine. This is just one example of the many and varied talents this year group possesses. Their time at Burscough Priory Academy and their ventures outside of school have prepared them well for life beyond the academy. The staff would like to wish all of our students continued success as they move onto their new courses at college or on their apprenticeship programmes. Undoubtedly they will take every opportunity and that comes their way and embrace the challenges that lay ahead with confidence and positivity. They will always be a part of the Burscough Priory family and pioneers that have set the bar in terms of ambition and character for others to follow.’
Mrs Gwinnett, the Executive Head of the school and the overall leader of Endeavour Learning Trust, told us: ‘Despite much national uncertainty regarding the GCSE grades, and all things considered, we feel that these results are a fair set of grades. We underwent a rigorous process to moderate the original teacher assessed grades, which evolved into the Centre Assessed Grades, using the careful advice we were given not to overinflate. We fully appreciate that there was never going to be a perfect solution to how these students were going to be assessed this year, but we were in a very good position as a school, due to rapid upward trajectory the school has been on since conversion. They were a remarkable year group and we are delighted they can now move on with their heads held high.’