Improved A level results

Many congratulations to all South Derbyshire pupils who received their ‘A’ Level results this week. I do hope you all succeeded in achieving the results you were hoping for, allowing you to be able to go on to the University or course of your choice.

I was delighted to hear results in South Derbyshire schools were better than ever, all this despite there having been major changes to the ‘A’ level system this year. Alongside the curriculum content changes, the new ‘A’ levels are more akin to the ‘A’ level exams of the past, being less modular and with a maximum of 20% coursework allowed. Candidate’s knowledge of their subject is once again assessed by examination at the end of the two year course. AS levels no longer count towards the final grade and although resits are allowed, students will now have to wait until May/June of the following year to retake their exams.

I was especially pleased to hear that, despite a difficult year, John Port School reported 30% of their ‘A’ level candidates received A* grades or A's up from 24% in 2016. In all 80% of candidates from the school received grades A to C up from 73% in 2016. Very well done to all concerned, it takes hard work to achieve good results.

If University is your ultimate aim and you got the results you needed you can take up your offer or, if you do not feel quite ready you could defer your place and decide to take a gap year either travelling or volunteering somewhere.

However University is not always the next step for some students so, if it is not for you or you were disappointed not to get the ‘A’ level results you were hoping for then do not panic, there are other options open to you.

If you were disappointed with your results you could undertake some additional study and re-sit your exams again next year. However some pupils just do not want to go to University which could be for a number of reasons and it is certainly not the only way to a successful career.

I have always been a great advocate for the apprenticeship programme and would urge anyone who feels university is not for them to look at what apprenticeships there are in South Derbyshire. Apprenticeships offer hands on experience, a salary and opportunities to gain qualifications, even a degree, in the future and they are offered by high quality prestigious companies, both large and small, in a wide range of different industries. Check out the official apprenticeship website or got to