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Success for UK independents on A level results day

Schools report record results and top university places while industry reflects on subject choices

Posted by Stephanie Broad | August 13, 2015 | School life

Today, schools across the country have been celebrating as those all-important results envelopes are opened, signaling the next stage in students’ lives. If your students haven’t got the grades they wanted, take a look at the Which? guide to clearing. We’re also more likely to see appeals and queries on results, as we reported in our recent blog. 

Wendy Griffiths, Chair of the Boarding Schools' Association and Headmistress of Tudor Hall School, says: "Congratulations to all Sixth Formers receiving their results today. For those leaving boarding schools, we know that their education beyond the classroom will have prepared them fully for the next phase, be that university or the work place allowing them to go forward with confidence. Good luck to them all at this exciting time." 

Robin Fletcher, National Director of the Boarding Schools' Association, adds: "On behalf of all at the Boarding Schools' Association I would like to wish students receiving their A-level results today all the very best for the future. This landmark event is the beginning of your path to future success and happiness." 

At The Mount School, half of the students collecting their results today have been awarded at least one A*, with exceptional pass rates seen in English where 100% have received A or A*. In arts subjects, two thirds of the students have received an A* with three girls now able to take up offers at Central St Martins in London.  

Principal Julie Lodrick said: “I’m so pleased for the girls. They’ve all worked hard and I hope that they all enjoy the next stage of their lives at university. We really are one big family, so we will miss them all greatly.” 

The Mount School

Kings Monkton school is celebrating AS level success for the first time ever, since the launch of their sixth form cohort last September. 

The sixth form is celebrating an excellent pass rate of A*-C grades, with subject areas such as English, biology and art achieving a 100% pass rate. The school is exceptionally proud with its new Mandarin provision, which achieved 100% rate all at grade A.  

Principal Paul Norton said: "We are delighted with the results our pupils have achieved today. We have a truly outstanding team of dedicated staff who are passionate about supporting our young people throughout their education, and, thanks to our smaller class sizes and bespoke learning environment, we've been able to help each and every pupil achieve their full potential. Today’s results are the outcome of a great deal of hard work from both our pupils and staff.” 

Kings Monkton has also developed a ‘Fresh Start’ programme for GCSE and A Level, offering young people the opportunity to re-sit their exams to improve on their grades.   

Head Girl and Head Boy at Kings Monkton

At Brentwood School, Academic Deputy Head, Jeremy Quartermain, commented: “We are particularly pleased that no fewer than 24 students achieved all A* or A grades, which is a remarkable achievement, given that, nationally, early indications suggest that the proportion of A*and A grades has decreased.” 

Overall, the percentage of the top A*-B Grades were up on last year to over three quarters of all students. Four students have gained places at Oxford and Cambridge. Over the past three years, 24 Brentwood students have secured places at Oxford and Cambridge Universities – an average of eight per year. 

Headmaster Ian Davies said: “Our continuing success shows that we are committed more than ever to educational excellence and the thought of sending another 150 students to top universities around the country, and indeed the world, makes me feel very proud. Our philosophy believes in nurturing well-rounded and intellectually creative individuals and I have no doubt that this year’s cohort will go on to achieve great things. I hope they keep in touch with the School as many Old Brentwoods continue to do. They are always welcome back.” 

At St George’s School in Ascot, 42% of grades awarded were A* or A – the school’s best marks since 2011, and 90% of grades awarded were A*- C.  

St George’s has enabled this year group of pupils to achieve at least one grade higher per pupil than their predicted A Level grades. 

Headmistress, Rachel Owens, said: “Not only have the girls gained excellent academic results, these pupils have been empowered to achieve personal excellence and really follow their aspirations. 

“We want to enable young women such as these to have the life skills as well as the academic results they need to pursue the careers of their choice and to go on to top universities. Small class sizes, inspirational teaching and a supportive and aspirational environment really do make the difference.”

Emily Dominey with head Rachel Owens

It has been another strong year for A level pupils at Wellington School with 40% of grades at A* and A and 72% of grades in the A*-B range.

Headmaster Henry Price commented: ‘I would like to congratulate the Wellington leavers on their academic successes. They were a fabulous year group, with a good work ethic and a real commitment to life at Wellington. To see nearly three quarters of their grades score A*-B is wonderful and evidence of the hard work of both pupils and staff. Once the remarks have been processed, I have no doubt that these grades will improve even further. 

Two features stand out for me at the end of my first year as Headmaster. The first is that a variety of pupils achieve success across the full range of 21 A level subjects on offer at Wellington. In Mathematics, well over half of a large cohort scored A*- A, but there were also fantastic results in Art, History, English, Languages (ancient and modern) and many more. The second feature, is not just the expertise and dedication of the teaching staff, but also the support and positive relationships engendered in our Sixth Form, which generates success.” 

Mayfield School has seen their A* to B pass rate increase to 81%, their best for five years. Subjects including further maths, music, Spanish and history of art achieving 100% A* and A. 

This year saw the first cohort of results for the two-year Cambridge Pre-U in art and design. Each girl achieved Distinction 1 (D1), the top grade. In addition, Mayfield’s Ceramics department saw 80% of candidates achieving A* or A. 

Headmistress, Antonia Beary, comments: “Almost 75% girls continue with a combination of arts and sciences to A level and their success reflects the value and importance of creative thinking not only in what are perceived to be traditionally artistic subjects, but also in all branches of science and the humanities. All of the girls study traditional, rigorous and challenging A level subjects and there is no doubt that the expectation that they think independently and take responsibility for their own work has helped them to such pleasing outcomes. I am confident that what they have learnt and the way in which they have learnt it – not to mention the friendships they have made -will stand them good stead as they go on to University and beyond. For each girl, in her own way, the future should be bright. I look forward to hearing of their continuing progress.” 

Mayfield School

Plymouth College is celebrating nearly a third of all grades at A* or A.  More than 10% achieved at least three A grades each. 

“My warmest congratulations to all our students on their examination success”, said Headmaster, Jonathan Standen. “I am delighted to see such an excellent set of results and I would like to pass on my thanks to the teaching staff for their continued commitment and hard work, which has helped our students to reach such a high level of achievement.  We have a busy and vibrant sixth form community and it is extremely rewarding to see both our A level and IB students do so well. ” 

Loretto School is celebrating 38% of the Upper Sixth gaining straight A* - A grades, with 45.5% of all entries at B grade or above and 14% of the A levels passed at A*, the second highest in the school’s history.  

Dr Graham Hawley, Loretto School Headmaster, said, "I am delighted to see the results that have been achieved by this year's cohort of Lorettonians.  It is a fitting tribute to the hard work of the pupils and staff alike that their efforts have paid off so successfully. These results are even more remarkable when one considers that pupils at Loretto also embrace the rich extra-curricular opportunities that are available to them. The environment enables them to grow both academically and personally and they leave us equipped for the challenges ahead of them.” 

Loretto pupils have won places at a wide range of universities including Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, St. Andrews, Durham and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to read such subjects as medicine, law, international relations, engineering, physics and musical theatre. 

For Malvern St James Girls’ School (MSJ) four girls of the 62-strong cohort will be taking up places at universities ranked in the Top 5 in the world (as rated by the QS World University Rankings); while a total of 16 will go on to Top 10 UK-ranked institutions. 

Overall, three quarters of girls have got into their first choice university or course. The list of courses is as diverse as it is long; with over 40% of the cohort getting into their first choice to read STEM-related subjects. 

Mrs Trish Woodhouse, Headmistress of MSJ, comments: “For the majority of students, the results are a means to an end and the bigger picture is whether they have secured first-rate universities and their chosen courses. Overall the picture is a very impressive one and reflects the exceptional preparation and support that the school offers at this critical point in students’ careers.” 

Farlington School’s head, Louise Higson, commented on Farlington’s results: “Another 100% pass rate for Farlington! With 58% of all grades at A and A* and 35% of girls achieving straight A*and A grades, there is much cause for celebration. University destinations include Durham, Exeter, Oxford and Warwick, with girls studying courses ranging from Classics to Zoology. 

“I am delighted that the hard work and commitment of the girls have been so well rewarded.  Competition for university places is strong, and the pressure on young people is greater than ever; it is wonderful to see this group of ambitious young women taking the next step and following their dreams.  They have bright futures ahead of them!” 

Farlington School

Girls at Nottingham Girls’ High School have seen a 99.3% pass rate for A level students this year. Ninety per cent of grades were C and above; 75% were Grade B and above and 44% of grades were either A* or A.

Sue Gorham, head teacher, said: “Results Day is such a milestone for students – particularly at A level. We couldn’t be prouder of our girls and their tremendous accomplishments. As teachers, we share a long and fantastic journey with our students, so it’s a real privilege to celebrate with them and watch as they take important steps to the next stage in their lives. Exams are important – but they are just the beginning. Our students have the whole world at their feet and every tool they need to carve out a bright and successful future.” 

While schools celebrate, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) reports that there have been decreases in the number of candidates taking several important subjects, such as music, German and design and technology, at both A level and AS level. 

Malcolm Trobe, Deputy General Secretary of the ASCL, said: “Congratulations to all the students and teachers who have worked so hard to produce this year’s set of results and the very best of luck to all those young people now heading to the next stage in their lives. 

“It is disappointing to see a decline in the number of entrants for some subjects. All of these subjects are important in their own right for a range of students, but they generate smaller classes. 

“Schools and colleges are making every effort to offer a full range of options to meet the needs of every student, but it is increasingly difficult for them to do so given the inadequate level of funding for 16-19 education.

“We welcome the increase in the number of people taking ‘facilitating subjects’ – such as English and maths – and particularly the continuing rise in the number of maths entrants. Maths is very important in many professions and increases the options for people going to university to do a range of subjects. This is good for students and good for the economy.” 

Potential employers are also keen to encourage career-minded school leavers. Richard Gadd, Managing Director UK&I, Hitachi Data Systems, says: “With A level results coming out today, it’s exciting to see the prospect of new STEM talent from this year’s school leavers. 

For young people planning or beginning their careers, it’s important to remember that careers in STEM are no longer about being the ‘techies’ stuck in the basement. With new technologies redefining the jobs market, the people with tech acumen will be those placed at the forefront of business innovation and integral to defining strategy. It’s the skill of connecting business and technology that’s so vital for driving growth and is fast earning places at the board table. 

“UK businesses have been concerned that we face a skills deficit in supplying the next generation of workers with the right knowledge and skills to thrive in a data driven world. 

“We’re working with Beaconsfield High School to provide girls with the support to pursue further education and careers in STEM subjects through a mentoring scheme, work placements and interactions with our staff and partners.”

These are just a few of the great results across the country today – follow #Alevelresults on Twitter for more updates!

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