Gallery: East Suffolk brims with stories of A-level success

Farlingaye High School students celebrate their A Level results. David Nunn 4A*s B As (L to R) Katie

Farlingaye High School students celebrate their A Level results. David Nunn 4A*s B As (L to R) Katie Macfarlane 2A*s 2A's and Raffi Thomas 3A*s and 1A.

Students in east Suffolk are discovering if they are among this year’s A-level success stories and have made the grade for university.

Woodbridge School sixth form student Ella Hooper (front), who rejected an Oxford University offer to

Woodbridge School sixth form student Ella Hooper (front), who rejected an Oxford University offer to continue her love of acting at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama - Credit: Mike Kwasniak

Sixth forms in Woodbridge enjoyed another excellent year, with the town’s state-funded and independent schools recording impressive exam results.

At Farlingaye High School, 10% of students achieved two A* grades, while a quarter of students earned at least three As.

Three outstanding students each gained four A*s.

Headteacher, Sue Hargadon said she was delighted with another fantastic set of results.


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“It is wonderful to see such a lovely year group perform so well,” she added. “Particular credit goes to Rachel Bellamy, Katie Harding and David Nunn who all achieved four A* grades, and to Seth Marshall-Tierney and Raffi Thomas who both achieved three A* grades. Nine students have places at Cambridge, Oxford or to read medicine/veterinary science.”

A total of 210 students sat A-level exams at Farlingaye, which posted an A*-E rate of 98.5% and an A*-C rate of 82%.

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Students and staff at Woodbridge School also celebrated outstanding results, with 64% of students achieving at least one A grade and 39% achieving at least one A*.

Among them, Simone ‘Simmy’ Mayer, who has severe cerebral palsy with visual impairment, achieved an A in Sociology, a B in ICT and RE, and a C in general studies.

Ms Hargadon said Simmy has been utterly committed to her studies and worked hard towards the achievement.

Of the 91 students that sat A Level exams at Woodbridge School this year, more than a quarter secured at least three A or A* grades and achieved an average of 360 UCAS points, which is equivalent to three A grades. The A*-C rate was 87%, while the A*-E rate was 99%.

Three quarters of all papers were marked with at least a B grade, 45% were marked A or better, and one fifth received an A*, making this the school’s best year for more than a decade.

The average points per candidate across the whole year worked out at the equivalent of better than three A grades per candidate.

Ella Hooper obtained four A*s but has rejected her offer of a place at Oxford University to study classical archaeology and ancient history in favour of an offer from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Neil Tetley, headmaster of Woodbridge School, said: “The students should be justifiably proud of their outstanding achievements and we wish them all well in their chosen university and career paths.

“Sixth formers at Woodbridge School thrive academically and personally through working hard but also throwing themselves into sport, drama, music or one of the many other activities here which support their self-development as confident, independent and well balanced young adults.

“As well as congratulating the students I’d like to thank the teachers and sixth form support team who have dedicated themselves to helping these students flourish.”

Meanwhile at Stowupland High School headteacher Karen Grimes said their A-level results were their ‘highest performance figures’. The percentage of students getting A*-C grades was 77%, with an overall pass rate (A*-E) ot 98%.

Mrs Grimes said: “There has been a wealth of well-deserved success this year and I am delighted for the students, their parents and staff. Of particular significance is sports science - taken for this first time at Stowupland this year - where 100% of students gained the top grades of A*-C with 67% of students securing A*/A.

“It is clear that Stowupland students are going to thrive both in their employment and higher education destinations. Their families will be justly proud of their achievements and, as a school, we feel privileged to have been able to support such outstanding young people.”

The highest performing student was Lizzy Broom with A*, A*, A* and A grades. She will be heading to St John’s College, Cambridge to study natural sciences.

Results at Stowmarket High School remained largely the same compared to last year. The percentage of students getting A*-C grades was 83% (one up on last year). The percentage of students getting A*-E was 99.6% (last year’s was 100%).

Headteacher Dave Lee-Allan said: “Hats off to the students who worked so hard to gain strong grades in the most challenging A-levels for many years.

“Stowmarket has built a reputation for gaining strong results at post 16, and this year is no different. 83% of students achieved A*-C meaning all the students who applied to university were able to take up their chosen university places this autumn. Ready4Work students have also been highly successful in securing higher level apprenticeships and employment this summer.

“All credit to staff and to parents who have supported the students through these demanding examinations.”

Grades for students at Finborough School were 56% A*-C and 90% A*-E. Only 10 students took A-levels at the independent school near Stowmarket.

Student Ruaridh Penman concluded fifteen years at the school with an A* and two A grades and is now on his way to UCL University in London to study economics and statistics.

New headteacher Steven Clark said: “I am excited to be joining Finborough where the students are clearly achieving well and I am pleased that so many of the students will be going on to their first choice universities.”

Everyone at Thomas Mills High School, in Framlingham, was said to be delighted with the overall pass rate of 98% A*-E grades achieved by a total of 135 students.

Almost 50% of grades were A*-B, while 73% of the grades were A*-C – a statistic criticised by headteacher Philip Hurst for being used to place sixth forms in league tables. He said: “Our open entry policy enables some students to access an academic programme, who might not get a chance elsewhere because of selection criteria.

“This country faces a considerable challenge in ensuring that academic study is accessible and achievable by a wider cohort of students. If we don’t do this, the nation will have a skills shortage in areas that are vital to our continued development and prosperity.”

But Mr Hurst was delighted that 17 students (13%) achieved three or more As at A2 level and equally pleasing success across the full ability range. There were, in total, 38 entries for A-level mathematics and 27 for physics

Mr Hurst said: “I congratulate students and staff on an absolutely stunning set of results. The year group thoroughly deserve their success: they were a joy to work with and their contribution to the wider life of the school was exceptional.”

“Thomas Mills High School is a top performing comprehensive because it believes in academic outcomes. This is fundamental to our ethos.

“Once again, I congratulate these wonderful students on their superb achievements and we wish them every success with the next stage of their lives.”

Mr Hurst also paid tribute to assistant headteacher and head of sixth form John Jennings, who retires from the school after twenty five years. He said: “John is an outstanding head of sixth form. He has created an inclusive, welcoming environment where academic learning is valued. Students are known as individuals and able to develop by contributing to an amazing range of extra-curricular opportunities.”

For the second year running, Alde Valley Academy, formerly Leiston High School, achieved a 100% A*-E rate, with 80% of results at A*-C and 43% at A*-B.

Twins Megan and Katie Clarke both got two A*s and an A, while Rebecca Anderson achieved an A*, B and a Distinction* diploma.

Emma Laflin, principal of the academy, praised the efforts of the 41 students who sat exams. She said: “These results are a true reflection of the commitment of the students and the hard work they put in to achieve their very best. We’re so proud of them all and wish them well for whatever they decide to do next.”

Anne Marie Oaten, assistant head and head of post-16 education, added: “These are fantastic results which are thoroughly deserved. Students have been dedicated and worked with staff and been supported by parents to achieve this success. We have students who have gained places at Edinburgh, Bristol, Southampton, Leeds and Liverpool universities.”

Students at Hartismere School and sixth form achieved 85% A*-C grades and 100% A*-E grades overall. Headmaster, James McAtear said: “These results are a testimony to the hard work of all our staff, governors and students and to the support given to them by their parents.”

James Copping achieved A* grades in biology and chemistry and an A in maths. He is going to study chemistry at Durham University.

Bungay High School celebrated a 1% rise on last year’s results, with 70% of sixth form students achieving A-levels graded at A* - C, while the number of students achieving A*-E and Level 3 vocational courses rose to 99%, from 97% last year.

Headteacher at Bungay High School, Angelo Goduti, said: “We are immensely proud of our students’ achievements and these results reflect their hard work, commitment and determination.

“The Governors and I would like to pass on our congratulations to the students, staff and parents of Bungay High School Sixth Form for the results achieved this year.”

Particular congratulations were sent to students who had “stunning individual performances”, including Nathanael Hindes, who achieved four A* grades and one A, Laura Wakelin with four A*s and Alexander Rogers and Molly Reeve with two A*s and two As.

Diss High School students matched last year’s successes, with 100% of A-levels achieved at A*-E, and 85% at A*-C.

Headteacher Dr Jan Hunt said: “Students and staff are to be congratulated on a fabulous set of results! The icing on the cake was to learn that Alex Brundle, a former Diss High student, has just gained a first class honours degree on his MChem,Chemistry with a Year Abroad (USA) course at the University of Leicester.”

Students collectively achieved a perfect pass rate at St Felix School, Southwold, with 27 students combining for a 100% A*-E rate.

Grades were up across the board at the school, which achieved 46.3% A*-As, 72.5% A*-Bs and 90% A*-Cs – up from 84.1% in 2014.

Headmistress Fran D’Alcorn said: “I am absolutely delighted with our exceptional results this year which bear testament to the extremely hard work of all the students and the dedication of their teachers.

“Saint Felix School provides the opportunity for students to access all A-level subject options and to achieve top grades whatever subjects they may choose.

“I congratulate all the A-level students who have contributed so much to Saint Felix throughout their school careers and who have now achieved the A-level grades to go to their chosen universities.

“We celebrate the success of Eric Li who has secured his place at Christ’s, Cambridge, to read maths with A*s in maths, further maths, physics and top grades in the STEP papers.”

Almost all students have been accepted by their first choice universities, with particularly outstanding achievements including Jennifer Beevor, bound for Bath to study sport and social sciences with As in business and PE, and a B in Physics.

Jonathan De Oliveira, who got A*s in classics and physics, and As in history and maths, is going to Bristol to study history.

Chris Jackson’s As in biology, chemistry and maths got him into Bath to study biomedical sciences.

Olivia Reeves secured A*s in drama and textiles and an A in fine art, and will be going to Derby to study textile design.

Freya Robb is also off to Derby to study fine art after getting A*s in textiles and photography and an A in AS fine art.

Emma Spore will study drama and theatre studies at Royal Holloway, London, with her As in drama, geography and psychology.

Meanwhile, AS-level student successes include Tom Collis gaining A grades in biology, chemistry, history and mathematics, Caitlin Dobson scoring As in English, Latin, mathematics and physics, and Jimmy Jin achieving an A* in maths A-level together with A grades in AS chemistry and physics.

A total of 84 students at Framlingham College achieved a 99% A*-E pass rate.

Jack Walton collected an outstanding four A*s to secure his place to read engineering at Cambridge, while half of all students achieved at least one A* or A grade.

Headmaster, Paul Taylor said: “We are pleased with these results from a cohort that contained a very broad range of ability, and they show a marked improvement on how these students performed at AS level last year. It is good to see the combined efforts of students, teachers and parents being rewarded.”

Principal at Lowestoft Sixth Form College, Yolanda Botham, has praised this year’s A-level students for achieving the college’s best ever results, with 98% achieving A*-E grades, a rise from 97% yesterday.

The figure for A*-C grades remained the same from last year at 66%.

Outstanding achievers include Alex Parmenter, who gained three A*s, Clifford Hayden, with three A*s and one A and Michael Hindes with three As.

In addition, 34 year 13 vocational students achieved the highest possible awards of Triple Distinction Star and Triple Distinction - the equivalent of A*,A*,A* or A, A, A.

Ms Botham said: “I am very proud of Lowestoft Sixth Form College staff and students today who have worked together so hard this year and secured our best ever results! We have maintained our high A level pass rate with 25 separate subjects, including biology, chemistry and physics, achieving a brilliant 100%, confirming Ofsted’s recent inspection judgement that we are a very good college with teachers who inspire and motivate our students to excel.”

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