West Cumbrian students are celebrating the end of a very strange year by receiving their A-level results despite not sitting exams.

The Department for Education has has cancelled performance tables due to the circumstances of this year's exams.

Workington Academy's head of Sixth Form Andrea McAllister said: “I am incredibly proud of the achievements of all our students who have worked tirelessly throughout their time at Workington Academy Sixth Form.

"Following on from excellent results in last years’ AS exams our students have achieved outstanding outcomes, that will provide the opportunity to progress successfully onto the next stage of their education or training.”

Katie Haile joined Workington Academy from Whitehaven Academy. She got two Bs, in English language and literature, and a C, in religious studies, and she said she was over the moon.

“I didn’t expect it, I thought I was going to fail.

“I felt like I had no control over anything, I couldn’t even have made a wild guess about my results.

“I think I got into Manchester University where I’ll be doing creative writing.”

Daniel Bell, 17, of Workington, is the first student from Workington Academy to be accepted to Oxford University.

Daniel got four A* in maths, further maths, physics and chemistry.

He said: “I did better than I expected. The interview for a place at Oxford was at the end of last year, that was a bit stressful. I’ll be studying maths, my family are very proud.

"I'm looking forward to starting a new chapter, I feel ready to move on."

Chloe Stephenson achieved grade A* in religious studies and grades a in history and English literature, she is now going on to study English and history at the University of Leeds.

She said: "I wasn't expecting it, I was very nervous. I don't know if I was disappointed not to sit the exams, but I was worried I wasn't going to get my work reflected in my grades."

Rosie Bell, 18, of Moorclose, got As in French and German and a C in chemistry.

She will also go to university in Leeds to study French and German.

"I'm relatively happy, I think I would have got more if I'd sat the exam."

Cockermouth School said 17 students gained all A*/A grades.

Headteacher, Dr Rob Petrie, said: "Despite the unusual circumstances leading to the release of these exam results, we want to celebrate our students who have demonstrated maturity and positivity during the coronavirus pandemic. We are so proud of their optimism for the future and share in their excitement for the next stage of their careers.”

The school congratulated Lydia Hoggarth, Hazel Meier and James Pawson who achieved A* grades in all of their subjects.

Vidhi Dhanaliya, Jasmine Gray, Benedict Russell and Mollie Shepherd also performed well achieving two or more A* grades in their A-levels.

Energy Coast UTC's principal Cherry Tingle said: "Our students are far more than the sum of their grades and we want to celebrate the individuals who have stood out and shone for all sorts of different reasons.

“It is difficult to pick out individual students as so many students have done so well, and results which students should be very proud of were achieved by very."

Rhianna Hewer achieved a double distinction* (equivalent to 2 grade A*) in engineering, a distinction (equivalent to a grade A) in construction and a C in chemistry. Rhianna is going on to an advanced apprenticeship in cyber security.

Jack Lewis achieved a distinction in applied science, and a double distinction in engineering.

Jack is going on to Sheffield university to study sport and business management.

St Benedict's School said: "It has been a difficult time for all of the students, and they have all coped very well. They have all worked extremely hard during their time at Sixth Form, and we wish them all the best for their futures.”

Pupil Benedict Hazzard gained A* in both geography and philosophy and also a B in maths. He is going on to study for a project management degree at Sellafield.

Sofia Savastano gained A* in both biology and chemistry and also A in Maths. Sofia is going onto study biochemistry at Oxford University.

Students shining at West Lakes Academy included Morgan McDonald, who got two A* and a distinction* and is off to the University of Leeds to study fashion design.

She said: “I’m over the moon with my grades, they are way better than I expected and they mean I got accepted into my first choice of university.”

Jamie Kinnear achieved A* and two As and is off to the University of York to study chemistry.

He said: “I’m feeling pretty good. My grades are in-line with what I was predicted and I’m pleased the hard work has paid off.”

Simon Jackson, headteacher at Keswick School, said: “I pay tribute to our truly outstanding students. They are conscientious, hardworking and incredibly friendly and supportive. Over their time with us they have grown as individuals and acquired skills which I hope will help them achieve their dreams and ambitions beyond school.

"The cancelling of exams at the culmination of a two year A-level course has been enormously difficult.”

Millom School was proud to report a high level of success, with students able to progress on to a range of first choice university courses and apprenticeships.

Matt Savidge, headteacher, said “First of all I would like to congratulate all of the students who are receiving their results today. Achieving these results at the end of Key Stage Five is the culmination of seven years of study at Millom School and provides students with the opportunity to go to university or onto an apprenticeship. I am very proud of the individual achievements and collective success of our students."

A dedicated team from the University of Cumbria is helping future students to secure a place as part of the clearing process.

The team has produced a downloadable guide as well as setting up a clearing hotline.

Academic lecturers will also be part of the team discussing the application process, entry requirements, course details and any other queries from those seeking information and support.

University of Cumbria’s admissions manager Sharon Blaylock has been involved in admissions at the institution for over 20 years.

She said: “Our admissions team is here and ready to talk, either right now or throughout clearing. We are here to help anyone who may be asking themselves if university is right for them and if it is right at this particular time.

“They’ll want to know what we have to offer, what measures we’re putting in place for the new year, and what support we can offer in the months and years ahead.

“Whilst the pandemic has many re-considering their future plans and opportunities, we are still here ready to support our students and to let them know that if they stay focused and stick with us, they can go far.

“By having those conversations with us, we can provide support at every step along the way and we will look forward to welcoming you in September.”

For more information call the clearing hotline on 0808 178 7373 or visit www.cumbria.ac.uk/clearing.

Councillor Sue Sanderson, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member for schools and learning, said: “Today is a day for celebration and although it will also be filled with mixed emotions for many I want to take this opportunity to congratulate our young people for staying positive during such a challenging time.

“I also want to say thank you to all the head teachers, teachers, parents and carers for all their support to our young people over the last few months. We must remember today is about people, it is about the future of our young people and I am immensely proud of everyone’s efforts. Whatever your results it is now time for you to focus on the future and the opportunities that lie ahead.

“Finally I want to take this opportunity to reassure everyone about the significant amount of work going on behind the scenes to help get our education system back on track. Our plans are progressing really well to reopen our schools and childminding facilities in September and again I want to say a huge thanks to everyone who is working so hard to make this happen.”

If any student is still unhappy with their A or AS level grade, they will have the opportunity to sit an exam in the autumn, or, in certain circumstances, to appeal the grade through their school or college.

The Exams Results Helpline runs until August 28. It is available for young people, and their parents or carers looking for careers support, who can contact the helpline on 0800 100 900 from 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week