Varndean College principal Donna-Marie Janson has praised an inspirational set of students who received their A-level results today (Thursday 18 August).
Their studies were interrupted and disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic and they had uncertainty about whether they would take exams or be assessed in another way – as in the past two years.
The college, in Brighton, said that staff could not be prouder of the year 13 students this year and was celebrating their considerable achievements.
The sixth formers had, the college said, “yet again achieved an outstanding record of A-level and vocational course results overall”.
The college said: “Students completing their studies this year have had an educational journey like no other time, besieged with severe disruptions to their studies through ongoing covid-19 challenges.
“For the majority of students, this was their first public examination as their GCSEs were replaced by ‘centre-assessed grades’ following the very first lockdown in March 2020.
“Throughout their studies, students were unsure of just how their final grade would be calculated this year, as there was a ‘Plan B – Covid Contingency Plan’ in place until April 2022 in case examinations were cancelled.
“Despite this, students have been exceptional and have risen to these challenges, demonstrating remarkable resilience, positivity and strength of character. We are immensely proud of how they responded.
“Our teachers have worked tirelessly with students to ensure that they were prepared for these examinations and that their results reflect their effort and commitment.
“The overall pass rate at A level is 96 per cent, with the majority of subjects achieving a 100 per cent pass rate and a third of our students achieving the very highest of grades of A* and A, 55 per cent of students achieved A* to B and three quarters of students A* to C grades.
“Students have been similarly successful in our vocational courses with a 98 per cent pass rate overall, with 56 per cent of students gaining the very highest grades of Distinction* and Distinction.”
College principal Donna-Marie Janson said: “We are incredibly proud of our students this year, particularly under the circumstances they have found themselves to be in due to the global pandemic and to what have they have achieved in what is for most of them their first set of public examinations.
“We cannot underestimate just how challenging their educational journey has been.
“They have studied through lockdowns, through huge disruption due to surging covid cases, and the plan B contingency arrangement was in place until this April, creating additional uncertainty and anxiety for them.
“They have dealt admirably with these challenges, taking everything in their stride and continuing to focus.
“They have been inspiring to work with, to teach and to get to know. Our students are quite frankly amazing and they and their loved ones should feel as proud of themselves as we do for their spirited determination and for all they have achieved.
“I would like to thank and commend my entire staff for their hard work and dedication working throughout the pandemic, adapting and responding throughout and ensuring that students have the best possible opportunities and the best possible experience.
“I would also like to thank all the parents and families of our students who have supported us throughout. We could not have done it without you.”
The college said: “This A-level success follows on from Varndean’s successful International Baccalaureate results in July, when the IB students achieved a pass rate of 97 per cent, with an average point score of 36.67, equivalent to at least three A grades at A level.
“An incredible 29 per cent scored 40 points or more, the equivalent of 3 A* grades at A level, and 60 per cent of subject scores were at the top grades of 6 and 7.
“This success cannot be underestimated given the challenges faced during the last few years and we are immensely proud of their achievements.”
The college said that 93 per cent of Varndean’s IB UCAS applicants received offers from Russell Group universities with two thirds of the Oxbridge applicants securing their places.
Ushika Kidd, who scored 44 points, is due to read human sciences at Oxford University, while Alice Brooker who scored 42 points, is due to read history and English also Oxford.
Isobel Denslow also scored 44 points and is due to study medicine at Queen’s University Belfast.
Matilda Wicks, who scored 44 points, is due to read biochemistry at Bristol and Matilda Falchetta, who also scored 44 points, is due to read international relations at Aberystwyth.
Elinor Prodger achieved 43 points and is due to study civil engineering at Imperial College London, while Caedmon Szobody scored 42 points and plans to focus on engineering and renewable energy at Durham University.
Other students off to higher education are Desiree Hernandez, who is due to go the London School of Economics to study social anthropology, Maeve Rogers, who is due to read English literature and philosophy at Glasgow University, and Jens Koster, who plans to study international management and Spanish at Bath University.
The college added: “Congratulations and well done to all our departing students and the very best of luck for your future.”
The overall A-level pass rate was 97 per cent, with a 100 per cent pass rate in mathematics, with 35 per cent of maths students achieving an A* or A.
The college added that 75 per cent of A-level English students received an A* to B grade and 74 per cent of 3D design students achieved an A* or A.
And 70 per cent of students completing the EPQ (extended project qualification) gained an A* to B grade, with 47 per cent gaining an A* or A.