PUPILS across Cumbria are soon set to find out their A level results following an unprecedented shake up of the grading system due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Teenagers will either pick up their results in person or receive them by email tomorrow morning.

Due to the cancellation of exams this year, schools provided exam boards with centre assessed grades and ranked students within those grades. The estimated grades were then moderated by exam boards before issuing the results.

Exams regulator Ofqual wanted to see overall pass rates maintained and designed the statistical check based on a school’s previous results and prior attainment of students.

Similarly in Scotland, a system based on teacher assessed grades was moderated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority. But this led to disappointed for thousands of pupils who felt they had been unfairly downgraded when they received their results last week.

Chris McAree, headteacher of William Howard School in Brampton, said this year’s grading system will unfairly disadvantage some pupils but said schools will support them.

“Nicola Sturgeon summed it up well where she said they had concentrated too much on the overall system rather than the individuals.

“There is no doubt that the system Ofqual has come up with will preserve the overall pass rates at a similar level to previous years,” he said.

“Having said that, given the challenges that this year has posed to students who haven’t been able to prove themselves as individuals in exams, to me, it does seem it will be unfair to certain individuals.

“For many students it will give them the grades they would have got anyway, but there will be a minority of students who feel they have been awarded grades that do not reflect what they believe they would have been able to achieve in their exams if they had the opportunity to take them.”

McAree said he is “sure it will be the case” that universities will be more lenient this year and that most employers will know that the results of 2020 aren’t “normal” results. “Education is not just about the grade on a piece of paper,” he added. “[Pupils] have learnt their subjects, they have developed skills, they are people who should celebrate what they’ve done in their education.”

In England, pupils who are not happy with their results can opt to sit their A level exams in October and get their results in December.

In response to the results received in Scotland Ofqual said: “The grades students receive on Thursday will be based on the judgement of their school or college, and have been moderated by exam boards to make sure the same standard is applied for all students, whichever school, college or part of the country they come from.

"Overall, grades will be slightly higher than in previous years, by around 2 percentage points at A level grade A and above.”

Individual schools across the county will be giving out results in different ways.

For example, Appleby Grammar School has offered students the options of having the results emailed to them or to collect in person at staggered times.

Keswick School has also staggered the collection of results and will have a one way system in place so that students and parents can get individual support if needed.

The school is asking all visitrors to follow safe hand hygiene and social distancing in line with the national guidance at all times to ensure the process is conducted as safely as possible.

Keswick School said: “We anticipate our students will once again get the grades that reflect their dedication and hard work.

“Keswick School Governors would like to pay tribute to the tremendous hard work of the teaching staff in these unprecedented times and the care and attention that they have shown to support all the students.”

At William Howard School, exam results will be available from 8am and those who have opted to find out their grades by email should have them by 9.30am.

Students picking up their results in person can bring a close family member, though social distancing will apply. They are however being asked not to congregate outside of the school and to leave promptly once they have their results in order to maintain social distancing.