GCSE results day 2021: Aylesbury's twin Olympic stars 'thrilled' with school grades

The Gadirova sisters brought their Olympic medals to the Aylesbury Vale Academy.

By James Lowson
Thursday, 12th August 2021, 4:16 pm
Updated Thursday, 12th August 2021, 4:18 pm

Olympic bronze medalists Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova picked up their GCSE exam results from Aylesbury Vale Academy, two weeks on from their Tokyo heroics.

The 16-year-old twins played pivotal roles in leading Great Britain to a first team medal in gymnastics since 1928.

Back at their old stomping ground, the pair told the BBC they were 'thrilled' with their academic results.

Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova photo from Aylesbury Vale Academy

Both twins passed their GCSEs, Jessica earned level two distinction in business, while both got a distinction star in the NCFE Health and Fitness.

The pair were the stars of the show at this year's GCSE celebration at Aylesbury Vale Academy, they arrived in their Team GB gear, wearing their coveted bronze medals.

Both twins confirmed to the BBC their plan was to carry on with their studies at the Aylesbury school.

Jessica told the BBC: "We are very happy and pleased - we both got the pass and are very thrilled.

"It was very difficult, and it would not have been possible without the support from our teachers and coaches. If there were days that we had to miss school because of training, they would give us the resources and help to catch up."

School principal, Gavin Gibson, also paid special tribute to the overnight stars in his statement celebrating the school's results. It read: "Aylesbury Vale Academy were also extremely proud to welcome home Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova, gymnastics bronze medalists at the Tokyo Olympics.

"Both 16-year-old girls juggled the extreme demands of training for the Olympics with the challenge of their GCSE year. In any other year, students would have found this difficult but despite the restrictions presented by the pandemic, the twins showed the resilience that teenagers are capable of.

"Both girls were present to collect their envelopes and, while not quite the same as receiving an Olympic medal, it was a key moment in their lives. They are role models for all our students and we look forward to them returning to join our Sixth Form."

Aylesbury Vale School returned excellent results overall according to the principal, who was keen to highlight the difficulties of learning through the pandemic.

Covid-related disruption has affected all year 11 students, as teachers, pupils and students had to navigate their way through three lockdowns and previously unheard of remote learning sessions.

Principle Gibson added: "Congratulations to all of Year 11 who received their GCSE and BTEC Grades this morning following 18 months of unprecedented disruption to their learning.

"The levels of resilience, independence and determination that so many of our students have shown throughout this time has been incredible and this hard work has paid off with so many students achieving excellent results which will set them up for a wide range of exciting next steps.

"Despite the uncertainty surrounding end of year exams, our students have stepped up and found a way through the most challenging of times. We at the Aylesbury Vale Academy are as proud of their ability to navigate this time in their young lives as we are of their actual results."

This year, the onus was put on teachers to grant students estimated grades. This involved studying each pupils' coursework, mock exams and essays to best workout what they would have achieved, in a more typical year where exams took place at the end of the school year.

Heads of schools played a crucial role checking evidence and grades provided by their staff before submitting them to an exams board.

Principle Gibson's statement continued: "Staff at Aylesbury Vale Academy put together an extensive and rigorous ‘Teacher Assessed Grades’ process which ensured that students’ performance from a range of sources was used, and quality assured, before submission to the exam boards. We are confident that students received grades that match the ability they had demonstrated, and this was confirmed by the exam boards.

"These results represent yet another year of improvement at AVA with the vast majority of students achieving strong results in English and Maths as well as getting the grades they need to reach the next stage in their education, employment or training."

The principle wanted to highlight the following pupils, who achieved 'fantastic' individual results:

-William Webb achieved five Grade 9s, one 8, one 7 and two L2D*s.

-Kian Rhodes achieved four Grade 9s, three 8s and two 7s.

-Marta Smykla achieved two Grade 9s, five 8s, one 7 and one L2D*.

-Nicholas Moore achieved two Grade 9s, three 8s, two 7s and two L2D*s.

-Maddie Wilson achieved one Grade 9, four 8s, two 7s and two L2D*s.

Across the UK, just like with A-level grades on Tuesday, a record number of students achieved the highest available marks in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.