A-LEVEL results in Monmouthshire largely excelled, although some students, parents and teachers were left disappointed after 42 per cent of students in Wales saw their grades marked down.

Students at Wyedean Sixth Form just outside Chepstow came out on the rougher end of the grading algorithm, with 58 per cent of students downgraded.

Despite that, grades were six per cent up on the previous cohort, and 11 per cent of students achieved A*s and 12 per cent achieved three As or A, A, B – the school’s highest ever figure.

Headteacher Gwennan Jeremiah said previous results and cohorts played too much of a part in the algorithm.

“Despite our superb results overall, in an unprecedented year, where grades have been moderated using an algorithm, there will be appeals ahead,” Ms Jeremiah said. “Our community can be confident that we will work tirelessly to support every one of our students to be best-placed to secure their future aspirations.

“We suspect the algorithm has been too focused on previous grades and cohorts, and we’re working hard to build evidence – with the most recent mock results – so those who are disappointed today get what they deserve.”

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Gwennan Jeremiah

Wyedean is just over the border in England and therefore follows a different Ofqual-designed algorithm, which downgraded 39 per cent of students in England.

Head of Sixth Form Johnathan Lane added: “The story is that the kids with higher prior attainment have done well, and those who haven’t had the chance to demonstrate their improvement have been harshest hit. So many kick on after their GCSEs. It’s unfair.”

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Johnathan Lane

Sophie Davis and Emily Alcock achieved two As and an A*, and three As respectively, and both have got into the University of Birmingham. They said the overriding feeling was relief.

“We’re surprised, we were nervous after what happened in Scotland (124,500 had results downgraded there),” Ms Davis said. “Not doing exams makes it all feel distant and it’s an odd feeling.”

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Sophie Davis (left) and Emily Alcock

A student – who preferred not to be named – was predicted A, A, A but got A, D, E. His father said: “This is penalising the individual based on others’ performances and what has happened at the school in previous years.”

At Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools, 50 per cent of all grades were A* to A and 75 per cent were A* to B.

Three students have secured places at Oxbridge - Eva Barry, from Usk, Soha Shanbhag and Jena Curtis, from Abergavenny.

Thomas Franklin, from Chepstow, recorded one A* and three As and will be heading to the University of Bristol to read Mechanical Engineering.

Deputy Head Girl at Monmouth School for Girls, Esme Phillips, will study Modern Languages at Durham University after being awarded two A*s and an A.

Jessica Miles, Headmistress at Monmouth School for Girls, said: “We are delighted that the vast majority of our students have been successful in achieving places at their first or second choice universities.”

Mr Simon Dorman, Acting Head at Monmouth School for Boys, said: “We share the frustrations of our students who were not able to sit their A level exams this summer due to the pandemic and whose grades have been calculated.

“We are proud that 50 per cent of all grades were A* to A, meaning that the majority of students’ expectations have been met or exceeded.”

At King Henry VIII School in Abergavenny, more than a third of all grades were at A* to A and a quarter achieved three or more A* or A grades.

Over three quarters of all grades were at A* to C or above and nearly all students achieved the L3 threshold (achieving two or more A-Level passes).

Catrin Gilson secured 5A* and A grades and Clarke James and Christie-Mae Neal Thrupp both secured 4 A* and A grades.

Sixty per cent of all students will be attending Russell Group and Sutton Trust 30 universities.

Monmouthshire councillor and cabinet member for young people Richard John reacted the news: “In these extraordinary times, I hope learners have secured the results they deserve and need to secure the next step in their education or chosen career.

"These results are the culmination of a huge amount of work on the part of all our students but also their teachers and families, who have done much to support them. I wish our school leavers every success as they embark on their next steps.”

Will McLean, chief officer for young people, added: “I am grateful for all of the support that our schools will have made available to these students, their families and support networks who will have prepared them for today. I want to congratulate everyone on their achievements today and wish them well for their future endeavours.”