Return to exams

Students at Stafford Grammar School welcomed the return of exams after shutting the door on the pandemic.


Tristan Van der Linden and his class of 22 at SGS are celebrating the resilience they showed over the last two years.

“We managed the disruption well and I never got to a point where I felt my learning was out of control. I’m happy we’ve come out of the turmoil of the pandemic in the right place. Sitting public exams for the first time was nerve wracking, but I’m glad we got the chance to take them because there is a greater feeling of achievement.

“Although we all deserved our predicted grades, somehow this feels different and more real. I can say I’ve earned my grades without any question marks,” said the 18-year-old, who attained 1A* and 2As will become an undergraduate at the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology.

Eighteen-year-old Maria Varughese switched continents two years ago when her family moved to the UK from Southern India. Despite the challenge of a new culture, education system and a country in the grips of Covid-19, Maria chalked up 4A*s and is bound for the University of Sheffield to study medicine.

“From the time I arrived, everyone was so kind and there was a real feeling of community. I sat my GCSEs in India, which meant I probably didn’t have the same fear of exams as some of the other pupils, but on the other hand everything was new to me so I think that put us all in the same boat. I had hoped for four A*s, but you never really know what will happen.”

High-flier Alice Chandler got 3A*s and will follow a degree in history and modern languages at King’s College London. “My first exam came as a bit of a shock and it wasn’t great. The school had prepared us as much as they possibly could, but if I’d gone through it two years earlier I think it would have been easier,” she admitted.

Meanwhile Dean Benson, 18, had feared the worst after reading media reports that grades were expected to be lower across the board. “I’m so relieved and pleased to have earned my place at Warwick. You have a very clear idea of where you want to go and where you want your life to be over the next few years, so it made me very nervous when I heard there would be thousands who wouldn’t get their top choice university,” he said

Arjun Mahal cemented his place at Robinson College Cambridge by capturing 4A*s. The 18-year-old commented: “It’s been a stressful wait, so getting these results feels like a burden off your shoulders. It’s been the toughest two years of my life, but we all do this to get where we want to be. I’m very much looking forward to the next step.”

Most Read

Most Read

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News