A level and vocational results day 2021 - AoC comment

10 Aug 2021

Students across the country are collecting their A level and vocational and techincal results today. In response, Chief Executive of Association of Colleges, David Hughes said: 

"I’d like to congratulate all students receiving their A level and vocational results today. They have worked so hard in a hugely disrupted year and they should be proud of their results. Teachers and colleges have done an amazing job in supporting people to progress onto their next steps. It’s good to see record numbers getting their higher education places at universities and colleges, but we must also celebrate the many students moving onto great apprenticeships, further training and work. Whatever students decide to do after today, I offer my best wishes and good luck. 

Every single result has been earned by the student and is a fair reflection of their performance and abilities. The changes implemented due to cancelled exams could never have addressed all the shortcomings in the system, but college staff have worked really hard to set and mark assessments and ensure they are consistent and fair. The grade profile is different to previous years, but we would expect that given the different approach to assessments.

There remain, though, big inequalities in our education system which need fixing. No one year will eradicate inequalities built into the system and we know the pandemic has impacted more on young people who are already disadvantaged. We will study the equalities impact analysis closely but it’s reassuring that today’s grade distribution suggests that there is no significant worsening of these achievement gaps this year.”


In response to Ofqual's analysis of Vocational and Technical Qualification grades this year, David Hughes said:

“Students collecting their vocational and technical qualifications today should be proud of their achievements. They deserve our congratulations, all 340,000 of them, alongside the 200,000 who received their A Level results today. The landscape for vocational and technical qualifications is much more varied than A level, as qualifications are assessed in a variety of ways and results come in throughout the year.

The pandemic disruption hit vocational courses hardest, as teaching and practice in many subjects was almost impossible during lockdown. Overall for the Level 3 qualifications most similar to A level such as BTECs, the results are stable. Students can be confident that college staff have used a fair and robust process to determine grades and worked with awarding organisations and exam boards to ensure consistency and fairness across the board. They should confidently progress to their next steps with the grades they have received.”