THERE were mixed emotions for students at Bury’s Holy Cross College yesterday as they received their A Level and BTEC results amid the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.

For many there was a feeling of delight and pure relief as two years of hard work paid off and they secured places at some of the UK’s best universities.

But for others there was an air of frustration and even outright anger at the Government’s computerised marking system, as scores of results were downgraded and hardworking teenagers faced an appeals process.

Among the students there early yesterday morning was 18-year-old Leah Aspden, from Burnley, who was facing an agonising wait to find out if she had been accepted at the University of Oxford.

Bury Times: Holy Cross College A Level student, Leah AspdenHoly Cross College A Level student, Leah Aspden

Like all A Level students in England, Leah's final exams were cancelled due to Covid-19, meaning her results had been awarded based centre assessment grades (CAS)­— grades students would have been most likely to achieve if they had sat their exams.

These grades were then moderated using a computerised 'statistical standardisation process', resulting in many students having their scores downgraded.

Leah said: “My anxiety has been over the roof.

"It’s easy enough to feel nervous about something that you have done but I have been nervous for myself and every single person I know."

She added that many of her friends had had their grades changed.

“It’s affected their futures, she said. "It’s heartbreaking.”

Leah continued: "There’s a Government in place that’s supposed to support people’s futures and it’s just not done that.

“Obviously there’s been a pandemic, but this was not the way to handle it."

Fellow student, 18-year-old Jaudin Khan, from Oldham, also hit out at the Government’s handling of A Levels.

Bury Times: Holy Cross College A Level student, Jaudin KhanHoly Cross College A Level student, Jaudin Khan

Despite his grades not meeting the entry requirement, Jaudin was fortunately offered a place to study Medicine at the University of Leeds.

However, he felt betrayed by the Government marking system which he said could have jeopardised his future.

He also castigated the marking process for failing to take account of personal issues, as he was evicted from his home earlier this year.

Jaudin said: "These grades are not a realistic reflection of me.

"To me they feel like they are not real. This has been created and imagined by the Government. It is their grades not my grades.

"The Government could have ruined my future and I'm just very grateful that Leeds have accepted me."

Also soon to be embarking on a degree in Medicine, at the University of Manchester, is 18-year-old Lleyton Belton, from Whitefield.

Bury Times: Holy Cross College A Level student, Lleyton BelstonHoly Cross College A Level student, Lleyton Belston

He said that the marking process had left him feeling like his final grades were out of his hands and he had worried that they would not reflect the work that he had put in.

However, Lleyton added: "I felt like I had worked hard enough to justify feeling relaxed and it all worked out in the end."

Another student who was feeling joy and relief was one of the college’s other Oxbridge applicants, 18-year-old Winnie Wang, from Radcliffe, who secured three A*s in English Literature, Religious Studies and an EPQ, and an A in Maths.

Bury Times: Holy Cross College A Level student, Winnie WangHoly Cross College A Level student, Winnie Wang

Winnie will be heading off to the University of Oxford, where she will be studying Law at Mansfield College, from September.

She said she was happy with her results and, although things will be different this year, she is really excited to head off to university.

“I’m also just happy for my friends because they had more uncertainty with their grades,” Winnie added.