THIS year’s GCSE results cannot be compared with those from previous year groups or different schools, education bosses have said.

Year 11 students across Hampshire have finished their GCSE exams after six  weeks of testing – an exam period twice as long as usual – as the first cohort to sit the exams since the Covid-19 pandemic struck in March 2020.

They won’t find out their results until August 25, but headteachers are urging both local authorities and the media to not draw any comparisons, even between pupils.

The reason for this, they say, is that the Covid-19 pandemic means every student has had a different learning experience, and some therefore entered the exams more prepared than others.

At an education advisory panel at Hampshire County Council on June 29, county education manager Natalie Smith said: "As we speak exam papers are being marked, but GCSEs were very different this year.

"Content was narrowed, support materials were provided and this was done to level the playing field between pupils.

"Great care needs to be taken when looking at the results, and we discourage comparing the results data to previous years."

Headteachers added that Covid-19 has caused further problems for schools.

With staff and students alike catching the virus and missing time in the classroom, everyone went into exams at different levels.

Others even contracted the virus during exam season and subsequently missed assessments.

Headteacher of Park Community School in Leigh Park, Chris Anders, said: "The exams were several weeks long and students were understandably very tired by the end of it.

"Things might have been removed from the curriculum, but due to themselves or their teachers being off due to Covid, students missed out on other parts of the syllabus as well – and all missed out different parts at different times.

"What’s more, to keep that level of motivation, revision and hard work going for six weeks was a real challenge."

Ian Potter, chief executive of the Gosport and Fareham Multi-Academy Trust, added: "I was very impressed by this Year 11 cohort’s resilience and how they responded to the extended exam period .

"Many missed out on learning at different stages in the pandemic, and my heart goes out to those affected by Covid-19 in the build-up to, and during, exam season.

"Within the conveyor belt of exams it’s sometimes difficult to recognise the individual circumstances, but they’re all a credit to themselves."