A-level Results Day 2017: East Suffolk students jumping for joy after receiving exam results
PUBLISHED: 17:14 17 August 2017 | UPDATED: 08:43 21 August 2017
James Fletcher Photography Ltd
Hundreds of sixth-formers have discovered their much-anticipated A-level grades across east Suffolk 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.
Alde Valley Academy, Leiston
The number of A*-C grades achieved by students was 57%.
Alex Paulley, who achieved two Bs in art and design and history, and an A in English language and literature, hopes to study English literature at the University of Liverpool.
Michael Wilson, principal at the school, which converted to academy status under Bright Tribe Trust, said: “We are delighted to see continued progress at all levels at Alde Valley Academy.
“These outstanding results continue the transformation since the school converted to academy status, making Alde Valley the school of choice in the local area.
“This year’s students have worked incredibly hard and we are immensely proud of their individual achievements.”
Mary McKeeman, chief operating officer at Bright Tribe Trust, said: “It is wonderful to see the hard work and determination from all pupils, staff, and the wider Bright Tribe Trust, pay off with the achievement of these excellent results.”
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.
“Our students have made a huge contribution to the school, and we wish them every success with the next stage of their career.”
Farlingaye High School, Woodbridge
Of 220 A-level students, 75% achieved A*-C grades, while 98.5% were awarded A*-Es.
Headteacher Andy Sievewright said: “I am delighted that so many of our Year 13 students have done so well. Their outcomes are a testament to their hard work and determination, and to the excellent teaching and pastoral support provided by our staff. “Today is a great day because for so many of our Year 13 students their results will create wonderful opportunities for them.
“I am also very pleased by the results achieved by our Year 12 students. Farlingaye continues to offer AS levels to all our Year 12s, and I think that their results and the work we can do with them based on those results justifies the investment we currently make in maintaining the ASs.”
George Balakrishna was delighted with his three A*s – in history, German and economics.
The 18-year-old, who lives in Melton, has been accepted to study German and history at Edinburgh University.
“I’m very happy about my results,” said George.
“History and German are the two subjects I enjoy the most. I’ve always had a real passion for history, in particular.”
Bethan Matthew, seized every available opportunity to revise for her A*s in mathematics and geography, A in economics and A in AS-level further mathematics.
The 18-year-old, from Snape, is off to study land economy St Catharine’s College, Cambridge.
She plans to go rambling in the Lake District before heading to university at the end of September.
“Having worked so hard, for it to pay off is a massive weight off my shoulders,” said Bethan, who also managed to balance part-time work with her studies.
“I worked every hour I had – it felt like all day, every day. I know I couldn’t have done any more, or tried any harder.”
Nancy Barnsley’s two A*s, A and B secured her a place studying history and French at York.
Jamila Simpson, who got five A grades at AS level, said, “It was a very busy year, very challenging – but in a good way. I got a lot of support. I think it was definitely good to have proper exams at the end of Year 12. You take your work more seriously.”
This year’s results saw an increase in the number of students (64%) securing A*-C grades.
The academy was particularly pleased with the performance of vocational courses, where a record figure of 73% of students achieved the highest Distinction*/Distinction grades.
Academy principal Anthony Williams was delighted with continuing improvements in A-levels and vocational courses.
He said: “What has really struck me as a positive outcome from today is that our students have a very clear idea of how their next steps will help them achieve future careers, whether that is through completing a degree course at university, or through the completion of advanced apprenticeships.
“I think this highlights that the strength of support from Mr James [assistant vice principal, Darryl James], and the sixth form pastoral and teaching team, has prepared our hardworking students over the past two years.
“We are very proud of the improving achievement and outcomes of our students.”
Of 52 students, 98% achieved A*-E grades at A-level.
Mr James added: “Today’s results highlight the continued upwards progress our students are making, alongside recognising the efforts and hard work of students and staff.
“These results have enabled so many of our students to secure places at university and on prestigious apprenticeships.’
Former head girl, Lucy Fossett was “very excited” to have confirmed her place at the University of Nottingham to study politics and international relations.
She said: “My aim is to build a career in politics, either within the civil service or with a non-governmental organisation.
“I initially wanted to consider a role in law, but soon realised that if I want to make a positive difference to people’s lives, it was better to work in politics. I can’t wait to start my degree.”
Also celebrating was Jordan Astley, whose A-level results secured his place at the University of Bristol, bringing him a step closer towards his career aim of becoming an engineer.
Alongside students celebrating securing university places, a record number will be joining BT on the full degree apprenticeship programme in the autumn.
Hannah Cook described results day as ‘fabulous and wonderful’, as her higher grade A-level results secured her place on BT’s technology, service and operations apprenticeship in IT software.
Ipswich High School for Girls
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
One of the largest schools in Ipswich is celebrating “excellent” A-level results today. Matching last year’s result, 80% of grades were marked A*-C. The percentage of A*-E grades dropped slightlty to 98%.
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.”
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.”
Saint Felix, Southwold
Star student at St Felix – which recorded a 99% pass rate – was Rosie Sida, from Reydon.
Having joined the school on scholarship, aged 10, Rosie leaves with a 100% A* mark for her Latin A-level, plus an A* in ancient history and an A in drama, to take up a place reading classics at Kings College, Cambridge, in September.
Headmaster James Harrison said: “In our 120th anniversary year, we are delighted that so many of our pupils from the local area have achieved such fantastic results – continuing to fulfil the original objective of the school’s founder back in 1897. “As well as the results collected at school this morning, we have sent grades as far afield as China, Russia, Germany and Spain, and are especially pleased that so many of our pupils will now be going on to further study at their first–choice of university.”
St Alban’s 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.
“The word ‘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.”
Stowmarket High School
Almost 50% of sixth-formers at Stowmarket High School achieved A*-B grades, but headteacher Dave-Lee Allan said the new exam format may be to blame for a drop in A*-C passes.
However, there were a number of high achievers – Hannah Vaughan-Wright achieved one A* and two As with a further A grade in her extended project.
Matt Ball got two A*s in IT and his extended project.
He also scored highly in other subjects – achieving an A in Maths and a B in Further Maths.
Mr Allan said: “We are very pleased with 46% of students who achieved A*-B. The new exams have proved to be tougher.
“Our results have dropped, having said that 98% have achieved university places so far and others have secured high level apprenticeships.
“We are really pleased about the destinations of our students but we do recognise that our results have gone down, it has been difficult with so much change to the exam programme this year.”
Stowupland High School
Students at the community sixth form are celebrating this morning – out of the 73 pupils, 65% were awarded A*-C grades while more than 96% secured A*-E grades.
Assistant headteacher Michael Hill said: “Such results bear testament to the quality of the partnership between students, staff and parents and we are delighted.
“Amid A-level reform and national debates, our students have risen to the challenge and their achievements demonstrate high levels of knowledge, application and communication.
“It is clear that Stowupland students are going to thrive in employment, higher education destinations and in apprenticeships.
He added: “Our students have been exceptional in every sense of the word – as role models, mentors, sport ambassadors and fundraisers – and it is really good to see them being successful and securing places at universities and with other providers across the country.
“They deserve our warmest congratulations.”
Thomas Mills High School, Framlingham
Of 118 A-level students, 78% achieved A*-C grades and 99% achieved A*-E grades.
The school saw the rate of A*-B grades increased to 55%, with average points per student higher than at any time in the past four years, and five students accepted to Oxbridge colleges.
Philip Hurst, headteacher said: “We congratulate the students on a superb set of results. They were a pleasure to work with and we wish them every good wish with the next stage of their lives.”
Andrew Cann, assistant head, added: “We are delighted with the overall pass rate at A-level achieved by students across the ability range.”
Notable successes included Amy Heather’s three A*s and two As, and David Orrell’s four A*s and one A, which will allow him to read maths with physics at Cambridge.
Of 98 A-level students, 83.8% achieved A*-C grades and 98.4% achieved A*-E grades.
Neil Tetley, headteacher at Woodbridge School, said: “We are delighted to see an increase in grades across the board this year, with more pupils achieving A and A* grades.
“Congratulations to our A-level pupils, who should all be very proud of their excellent results.
“Throughout their time with us, it has been wonderful to see pupils develop in to confident, resilient and independent young adults and we wish them all the best for the future.”
Sami Shubbar was delighted with his six A-levels – all at A or A* grade – in maths, further maths, computing, physics, chemistry and art, securing a place at Imperial College, London, to study electrical and electronic engineering from September, after which he hopes to begin a globe-trotting career in electronics research.
Sami said: “I feel that the world is my oyster. I’m really looking forward to moving to London, and to studying in such a fascinating city.”
Alex Appleton was thrilled with his three A*s and one A grade. He also taught himself further maths at AS level in his spare time, achieving an A grade.
From September, Alex will study civil engineering at university, where he will work towards an integrated master’s degree.
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.
Nationally, boys are likely to outperform girls again in terms of A*s, with one expert suggesting that they could also close the gap with their female classmates at the A grade boundary.