A-level Results Day 2017: Joy for Ipswich students as they collect their exam results
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Hundreds of sixth-formers have discovered their long-awaited A-level grades across in Ipswich following the biggest exam shake-up in a generation.
Keep up-to-date with the latest news and school-by-school results throughout the day.
Copleston High School
Shaun Common, principal, said: “We would like to congratulate our students and their families on their successes. Our average point per entry has matched our 2016 performance with the majority of our students being successful with their applications to university.
“We have also had the highest success rate in applications for Oxbridge in the history of the school. Our students and staff have worked extremely conscientiously throughout the last two years, and we have a number of outstanding individual performances to celebrate.
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“Our students have made a huge contribution to the school, and we wish them every success with the next stage of their career.”
Ipswich High School for Girls
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Headteacher Oona Carlin said: “We have had some fantastic A-level results, which are a credit to all of our students. Our results continue to improve year on year, with 90% of our students achieving A*-C grades.
“To add to this academic success I am thrilled that each student has a confirmed place at her chosen university, which is a fantastic outcome.”
Headmaster Nicholas Weaver said: “We are delighted that a record number of Year 13 students have taken A-levels here this year.
“These young people have produced a year-on-year improvement with well over three-quarters of exams graded as A*, A or B. We are very proud of our students and staff who have worked hard to achieve their grades, and we wish our Year 13 leavers all the best with their future studies.”
Head boy Tom McAllister achieved four A* grades and will be studying medicine at Cambridge University, while head girl Sophie Coe will be studying English at Oxford University after gaining two A* grades and one A.
Kesgrave High School
Nigel Burgoyne, headteacher at Kesgrave High School, where 46% of students achieved A*-B grades, said: “At all levels; AS, A2 and BTec, the students have performed very well indeed.
“They are a really talented group of young people and it is wonderful to see them going on to such a huge variety of courses and careers.
“The vast majority of our Year 13s will be taking up places to study at their first choice universities and we wish them every success for their future.”
Anne-Marie Johnson, 18, from Kesgrave, is one step closer to fulfilling her dream of performing on the West End after securing a place at a prestigious performing arts school.
Celebrating achieving two As and a C in her A-level results, Anne-Marie said: “I am going to a performing arts college in Essex which is one of the leading vocational schools for the subject to do musical theatre and dance.
“I would love to perform on the West End, I have been dancing since I was three years old and have had dance lessons ever since. I will probably be doing mostly dance, jazz, ballet and tap. It is something I have always wanted to do.”
Laura Durston, 18, from Kesgrave, earned a place at Oxford to study psychology and linguistics having achieved two A*s and two As in her A-levels.
“These were the results I hoped for,” she said.
“It is hard to know how you did because the exams were quite tricky.
“It was strange going from constantly worrying and exams to having the whole of the summer to relax. I had no idea how I was going to do - I am really happy.”
Northgate High School
Headteacher David Hutton said: “Once again, thanks to the enthusiasm and hard-work of Year 13 and their teachers, I am delighted to report excellent A-level results.
“About 100 students achieved at least one A* or A grade, with many, many more also equalling or bettering the grades they needed to fulfil their post-18 aspirations. Congratulations to them all and good luck for the future.”
Aspiring doctor Priyanka Bikkannavar, who scored almost straight A*s, criticised one of the “ridiculous” science exams.
The Northgate High School pupil said the OCR A-level biology exam tested students on some content which had not been taught, like Leghaemoglobin, a protein which carries oxygen to bacteria in plant roots, without enough focus on more traditional topics such as the heart and brain.
OCR apologised in June for not providing a vital formula in the exam, angering heads.
The 18-year-old achieved four A*s in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and general studies, and one A in French. She will study medicine at University College London.
“The biology exam was ridiculous,” she said. “It was like going in blind-folded. There was stuff not on the syllabus. We weren’t tested on what we learnt. In previous years it has been knowledge recall and applying what you’ve learnt. I’ve always dreamt of being a doctor and didn’t want to fall at the last hurdle. I’m just relieved.”
One sixth form (formerly Suffolk One)
Principal, Alan Whittaker, told this newspaper that education must stop being politicised.
But it was Lord of the Exams for one Holbrook teenager.
Alfie Vaughan, who was one of hundreds of students who picked up their results from One sixth form in Ipswich, could be on his way to work for Weta Digital, a company in New Zealand established by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson.
The teenager studied games design and creative media production at the sixth form and said it has always been his dream to work for the digital visual effects company.
He achieved a D* (distinction star) in games design and a triple D* in media production.
He said: “I have a contact with Weta Digital in New Zealand and they are going to put me in touch with them (Weta) in a couple of months.
“At the moment I’m self-employed, and have been working with a live digital company going around the country. I’ve been to Edinburgh, Reading, York, Norwich and Kent and I’ve also be doing some work for a football company.”
Royal Hospital School
Simon Lockyer, headmaster, said: “We are delighted by this year’s results, with a particularly strong improvement in the proportion of A* grades and 22 pupils, over a fifth of the cohort, securing at least one A*.
“These results reflect the extraordinary breadth of ability and talent among our pupils and this is reflected in the courses and options they will now go onto pursue including at university, in the services and through higher level apprenticeships. “I wish them every success as they embark upon the next stage of their lives.”
St Albans Catholic High School (awaiting results)
Principal Colin Walker said: “I wish all our leavers well in the future and wish to thank staff, pupils and parents for the successful partnership which has been created.
“I am proud to lead a school where academic success is paired with a supportive culture of caring and respect.
“Pupils join our school from a large number of different primary schools and it is a joy to watch them grow as a community over seven years.”
Thomas Lawley, 18, from Ipswich, said he was pleased with his grades, having achieved two As and two Bs.
He had a less nerve-wracking morning than his other cohorts, having already secured an unconditional place at Birmingham University to study history and English.
“They must have liked me,” he said.
“It must be really scary for everybody else this morning but it was ok for me.”
He said the exam period was very stressful though.
“I felt a bit ill every morning before the exams. But once I was in the exams I just got in the zone.”
Ryan O’ Shea, 18, from Ipswich, achieved two A*s and three As, earning a place at Oxford University.
He plans to study English literature and English language with a goal of becoming a journalist.
“I was a bit nervous this morning because I didn’t have an unconditional offer like Thomas,” he said.
“I was pretty apprehensive.
“Theword ‘phew’ sums it up for me- it is good to get the results out of the way.”
St Joseph’s College
Sacha Cinnamond, vice principal – academic, said: “I am very pleased that the students’ hard work has paid off this year.
“These results are a great foundation to be built upon when Dr Jennifer Stimson joins us from Colchester Royal Grammar School in September, as head of sixth form. It’s an exciting time for the college.”
This year’s results mark a key step in major reforms to A-levels introduced by government in recent years, including a move away from coursework and modular exams, as well as a significant decision to separate AS-levels to form standalone qualifications.
This shake-up, which applies to England only, has led to a 42% drop in AS-level entries this year, and school leaders today raised concerns that the reform has “sounded the death knell” for qualifications that were traditionally popular with many students and universities alike.