A-level Results Day 2019: Live updates from Ipswich and Felixstowe
- Credit: Archant
After two years of hard work, thousands of students across Suffolk and Essex will today receive their A-level results – but how did schools in Ipswich and Felixstowe perform?
We will be reporting on all the school's and college's results as they come in, with reporter Oliver Sullivan at Kesgrave High School ready to bring live updates.
Stay with us as we bring in every school and college's results in the area.
The UCAS clearing process is likely to be busier than ever, as universities battle it out to secure their target student intake.
Competition for undergraduates is fierce, with a decline in the UK's 18-year-old population putting pressure on universities to fill their student quotas.
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As of yesterday afternoon, the University of Suffolk had vacancies on 135 courses - from Biomedical Science to Wildlife Conservation and Animal Management.
Kesgrave High School
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It was a day of highs and lows at Kesgrave High, as a drop in grades from A*-C from 74% to 65% and A*-E from 98% to 97% may have made - on the face of it - a disappointing morning. But according to headteacher Nigel Burgoyne, students have performed better than expected in tougher conditions, leading to the school boasting 94% of its 152 students going to their first choice university - a new school record.
Mr Burgoyne explained the entry criteria for the school had lowered to make it more accessible and inclusive, while highlighting government changes in examination. Despite this, he said students have performed equally as well as last year's from their starting points.
He said: "We set our entry criteria low deliberately to be more accessible, giving our students more opportunity to get better chances for apprenticeships, universities and career opportunities.
"Pupils have actually performed very well and a fantastic 94% of students received their first university offers.
"We now do lots of vocational courses like accounting and health and social care, which give our students an edge."
Mr Burgoyne added teaching standards at the school had remained excellent, highlighting the dedication of staff.
He said: "I'm pleased the students have worked so hard and achieved good results this year - I wish them all the best.
"Next year we will continue to offer a really wide range of vocational and academic subjects and offer all our students four A-levels from the start, our sixth form is growing and that's a good thing."
Among the high-flying students was Cameron Bailey, who has juggled his studies well to achieve two B's and an A* alongside finishing 7th at 200m sprint in recent youth national championships.
Mr Bailey said: "I'm really, really happy.
"I kept on top of my training and studying and managed my time well - it is all about getting things right, it isn't as hard as you'd think.
"I'm heading to Birmingham to study Biological Sciences and couldn't be happier."
Northgate High School
Another school seeing a drop in results from 80% to 76% for A*-C, Northgate High School again praised their 193 students for their dedication among changes in government rules, boasting that a quarter of all entries were awarded an A* or A grade.
Headteacher Rowena Mackie said the results are a "testament to the dedication and hard work of the students, their teachers and the support of their parents".
Head of sixth form John Alexander said: "With over half of Northgate's Sixth Form cohort joining us after completing their GCSEs elsewhere, we are delighted that our students have thrived in their short time with us.
"Importantly for all of our students, these results and the range of experiences on offer at Northgate Sixth Form will give them a firm foundation for future success."
Copleston High School
Following the trend of other schools in the area, Copleston too saw a drop in grades from A*-C from 72% to 67%, while maintaining their overall pass rate (A*-E) at 98%.
Principal Andy Green said: "We would like to congratulate our students and their families on their successes in their A' Level exams this year. We have had a very pleasing set of results and our average points per entry is the highest it has been for 4 years.
"Our students and staff have worked extremely conscientiously throughout the last two years, and we have a number of outstanding individual performances to celebrate.
"Throughout their time in the 6th Form, our students have made a huge contribution to the school, and we wish them every success with the next stage of their career."
St Joseph's College
The independent school in Belstead Road has seem an improvement in grades, maintaining its A*-C rate of 77% and seeing 100% of all students passing their exams.
With this achievement in mind, the school has been placed in the top 5% nationally for its students' progress at A-Level.
The school's vice principal academic, Mr Sacha Cinnamond, said: "I'm absolutely delighted by another year of strong results in the Sixth Form. The results clearly demonstrate the superb, hard-working ethos of the St Joseph's community.
"As well as more traditional courses, such as English, History and Economics, which some of our students have chosen to pursue, a growing number are looking at more specialised areas of study, including Civil Engineering, Theatre Design, Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management.
"A number of our young sports people have chosen to pursue sports studies further following their outstanding successes in BTEC Sport and Exercise Science, and, once again, we have students going on to play professional sport, having secured professional contracts."
Royal Hospital School
The Holbrook school saw a slight decrease this year from 88% A*-C to 85.7%, although says it is following an upward trend overall that saw a 5% rise in the number of A*s.
Headmaster Simon Lockyer praised his students individual achievements in bucking national trends, adding: "These impressive young people make remarkable contributions to school life through leadership roles, sport, music, service and participating in the many co-curricular activities on offer. I am incredibly proud of what they have achieved and the commitment of the staff who have taught and supported them."
Head of sixth form Chris Graham, mentioned the change in government policy like other heads across the region, saying: "This is the first year that all A Level subjects have been taught using a linear course structure.
"This means that this year group have taken all their examinations at the end of the two-year course which gives more time for teaching and learning. It also means that without coursework and modules completed across the two years, it has been harder to predict final grades.
"Despite this uncertainty, Royal Hospital School pupils are celebrating a strong set of results with the highest number of top grades for eight years."
Ipswich High School
The Woolverstone-based independent school saw 94% of its 43 students achieve an A*-C grade - making for the best results in the last five years. Encouraging students to take the extended project (EPQ), 100% of the students achieved an extra A* or A grade.
Two students from the school are preparing to start at the University of Cambridge in September - with one of them set to celebrate by getting a new pet dog.
Alise Furse, 18, who achieved three A* grades in A Level Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Physics, an A in Latin and A in AS Classical Greek, has gained a place at the prestigious university to read maths.
She said: "I'm really happy with my results. I worked really hard, especially for the Greek, and I didn't think I would get that one.
"I stayed up until midnight to find out my STEP result and was delighted to learn I had been accepted to Christ's College, Cambridge.
"I will be taking fond memories of my time at the school and am grateful to my amazing teachers."
Sophie Holloway will also be heading to Newnham College, University of Cambridge to study Classics after achieving an A* in Latin and As in Chemistry, French and AS Classical Greek.
She said: "I am over the moon with my results. With the Cambridge application, there were lots of separate hurdles to overcome but now it suddenly feels real.
"I have been keeping myself busy up until today to try and keep my mind off A Level results.
"I'm celebrating with my family by getting a dog!"
The coastal town's students had reason to celebrate as the academy maintained its 67% A*-C rating, although the overall pass rate dropped slightly from 94% to 92%.
There was further cause for celebration as the academy recorded new highs with 22% of students receiving A*-A grades, a 7% improvement on last year.
One happy student, Kirsty Laird - who achieved an A* in Art, an A in English Literature, a B in English Language and a B in Creative Writing - will be going to study at Royal Holloway University of London to study English Literature. She added: "I got exactly what I wanted."
Principal Mr Williams said: "These results reflect the dedication, hard work and commitment from both the students and staff - real teamwork! I am so pleased that these qualifications now give our students a great platform to progress onto their chosen post 18 destinations."
It was a day of success for the independent school in the centre of Ipswich, with 93.8% of its students achieving grades between A*-C - a 2.9% increase from last year, with a pass rate of 99.7%.
Among the successful students were Shreyes Natarajan, who achieved four A* grades and is going to study maths at Cambridge, while Nadia Mason who achieved three A*'s and an A will study earth and planetary science at Imperial College London.
Of the 123 students, 26 left with at least three A grades - prompting headmaster Nicholas Weaver to say he is "delighted".
Mr Weaver added: "It is a huge success to have a quarter of our students achieving at least one A* grade, but we are not just rejoicing in the success of these top students, we are also celebrating the hard won B and C grades from students who might otherwise have achieved D and E grades.
"It is the value added by an Ipswich School education which enables students to reach their potential. It is so pleasing for me to see the success of individuals who I've also seen excel on the hockey field or in the Snape Maltings Concert Hall."
One Sixth Form College
Offering A-levels and BTECs to 802 students, the Ipswich college saw a small decrease in grades, with A*-C dropping from 77% to 75% compared to last year.
But a decline in grades didn't tally with a decline in fortunes, with Manningtree student Johnny Piper, 19, achieving his dream of studying Land Economy at Cambridge.
The Ipswich Town-supporting student took a gap year to boost his experiences, working with the Institute of Economic Affairs as the youngest intern they ever employed - claiming to be the first intern from a state school background.
He said: "I'm looking forward to having one on one tutorials with authoritative world figures in their field and being surrounded by like-minded aspirational people who will push me on."
Principal Jenny Milsom, who recently took on the role, said: "Our overall pass rate was 99pc and results in STEM subjects like Biology, Electronics, Further Maths and Maths were incredible. Successes in English and facilitating subjects were equally impressive.
"I would like to congratulate all students and staff on another great year for the college."