Romford student discusses lockdown learning ahead of Btec results day with a difference

Btec student Antonela Tyrku. Picture: Barking and Dagenham College

Btec student Antonela Tyrku. Picture: Barking and Dagenham College - Credit: Barking and Dagenham College

Pupils across Havering are among thousands across the country finding out their Btec results today (Wednesday, August 12).

Their exams, along with A-levels and GCSEs, were cancelled this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, teachers and tutors will be marking students and awarding them a calculated grade based on work they have completed.

Among those eagerly anticipating their grades is Antonela Tyrku, from Romford.

The 18-year-old has been studying for a Btec level 3 in public services at Barking and Dagenham College, and described the difficulties faced in studying from home during lockdown.

She said: “At first, I had some trouble maintaining a routine, but after a while I settled into one.

“The biggest challenge was maintaining my own wellbeing; I was pretty stressed at first.

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“A lot of the course is practical, so I was worried about how it was going to go when we couldn’t do the practical activities. However, I survived by taking care of my mental wellbeing, doing exercise and talking to friends.”

Unlike many courses, the public services Btec doesn’t involve many exams, but Antonela and her fellow first-year students missed out on completing a lot of the practical coursework.

She said: “For me, it kind of dampens the achievement, as I’ve not done some of the practical things I would’ve done between March and July, such as a residential trip to Wales.

“I really feel sad to have missed out on doing the practical elements of my qualification this year, as I didn’t get to be with my team and work on teamwork and communication skills, which really are key skills for people wanting to work in the public services.

“We didn’t get to bond with our class as well as we would’ve done had we been able to carry on at college.”

Despite that, she is looking forward to completing the second year of her course, which she hopes will eventually lead to a career in the fire service.

Antonela said: “I would like to do a year of work experience; even if it’s just working in a shop or café, I think it would be great to get some experience of working with customers under my belt.

“There’s going to be a lot of changes with Covid-19, but it’s going to be good. I’m excited to meet new people and do new things.”