Gallery: Students from across west Suffolk celebrate A-level results

Celebrating success: Students from the King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds celebrating their A-

Celebrating success: Students from the King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds celebrating their A-Level results at a special lunch time buffet held at the Valley Connection Indian Cuisine Restaurant in Churchgate Street. Jay Aldous, head girl Sherilyn Wright and James Hepper - Credit: Andy Abbott

There have been scenes of joy at schools across the west of the county as teenagers collected their A-level results.

Although many are celebrating making the grade, some now face the prospect of finding an alternative university course through the clearing system or rethinking the next stage of their education.

Nationally a record number of students have been accepted into university, with some 385,910 already securing a place. The rise comes despite research suggesting young people were turning their back on a university education due to ratcheting costs.

Despite fears that top marks would be harder to reach due to a clampdown on ‘grade inflation’, schools and colleges are already reporting a high number of A*s and As.

In Bury St Edmunds, Geoff Barton, headteacher at King Edward VI School, said his students had achieved “superb A-level results”

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In all 165 of sat exams with 99.5% gaining A* to E. A total of 89% were A* to C and 29% of grades were A to A*.

Mr Barton said: “Yet again our students in this our truly comprehensive school have attained some of the best results in Suffolk. We are so proud of all of them.

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“Results like this don’t just happen each year by chance: they are testament to our brilliant team of inspiring A-level teachers who constantly go beyond the call of duty to give all students the individual support and guidance they need to achieve such impressive results. My thanks to all of them. Students will collect their results from school at 10am after which sixty of them will be attending a special celebration dinner generously offered by Valley Connection restaurant in Bury St Edmunds and attended by local dignitaries.”

Vicky Neale, headteacher at Bury St Edmunds County Upper School, said the results were the “best we have had”.

One hundred and three students sat the exams with 100% achieving an A* to E pass. A total of 92% attained an A* to C pass.

Mrs Neale added: “The results are excellent. I certainly don’t think the exams were easy this year and I am delighted that yet again all the hard work of our students and staff has generated another stunning set of results. It is particularly pleasing to see students getting the grades they need for the next phase of their lives. At the top end, more than 1 in 5 students has at least 3A grades and 4 in 10 of all grades are A*/A.”

Jenny Croydon, 18, from Bury St Edmunds, achieved four As in chemistry, biology, maths and music and will now go to Nottingham to study medicine.

Like many students she found out her results online, but turned up at school to enjoy the atmosphere.

She added: “I was really worried that I wouldn’t get the grades, so I was so happy when it updated on UCAS this morning.”

Jack Gingell, head of sixth form at St Benedict’s Catholic School in Bury St Edmunds, said: “Results are good. They are nearly as good as last year. Last year we were third in the whole country and it’s very similar to last year. So obviously we are expecting to occupy the same position.”

There were 343 students that sat the exams, with 87% achieving A* to C and 99% gaining an A* to E pass.

Helen Wilson, principal of Thurston Community College, which boasts one of Suffolk’s biggest sixth forms, said they had seen their best results for six years.

Out of 421 sitting exams, 418 passed with A*-E (99.5%). A total of 81.5% of students achieved A* to C grades.

Ms Wilson, who praised students’ “huge amount of hard work” added: “I’m particularly pleased with the A* to A pass rate of 30%. The reason why we’re so proud is that we’re a genuine comprehensive.”

She said pupils were free to take A2 as long as they had achieved an E. Some schools only allow C-grade students to go forward.

Staff at Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill said results day had brought a mixture of success, relief and joy.

The A* to E pass rate was 100%, while 74% of the 78 students who sat, achieved A* to C grades.

Mrs Senior, head of sixth form, said: “These results are testimony to the hard work of the students and their teachers, as well as the support and encouragement of their parents. I’m really happy for them, especially as almost all of them have the grades that they need to go on to university. I would like to thank, on behalf of our students, anyone that has helped make this day possible.”

She added: “That students were successful in a wide range of areas is especially pleasing, it means that these students have made good progress and can go onto to work and study in the fields that they are interested in. From all of the staff, I wish them the best of luck.”

Among the top performing students were Lauren Sullivan (A in English Language, B in Geography and a Distinction* in IT), Amy Hull (A in Biology, B in Chemistry and B in Psychology), Joe Lay (A in English Literature, B in History, B in English Language), and Jamie Leigh Jansen (Distinction* in IT, B in English Literature and B in English Language).

Students studying vocational subjects also did very well, with 50% of the students taking BTEC IT achieving A grade equivalents (Distinction*) and James Howard, Jordan Palazon and Nicola Wilson achieving the equivalent of three A grades at Samuel Ward’s Sport & Football Academy.

Julian Johnson-Munday, headmaster of Culford School, said students had achieved “an excellent set of A-level results”.

A total of 71 pupils sat the exams with an A* to C pass rate of 82% and an A* to E pass rate of 99%

Mr Johnson-Munday said: “Pupils and teachers put a significant amount of work into preparing for these examinations and these excellent results are just reward for such commitment. We are delighted with the high number of particularly good individual results.”

Dr John Guntrip, joint deputy head, added: “We are delighted with this set of results; there are a whole host of excellent performances not just in terms of grades achieved but also with respect to value added”.

Susan Byles, principal of Mildenhall College Academy congratulated students on their hard work.

Nearly half of the 73 students (48%) achieved an A* to C pass, with 97% gaining an A* to E pass.

Top grades were achieved by Jessica Charles (History A*, Extended Project A*, Government & Politics B, Sociology B) and Samantha Reay (History A, Extended Project A*, Mathematics B, English Literature B, General Studies A).

Ms Pyles said: “This is a great set of results and the students must be congratulated on how hard they have worked. Our priority is to make sure that everyone gets a university place, apprenticeship or job offer. Well done.”

Gareth Price, headmaster of Thetford Grammar School, said he was very proud of his students’ achievements.

In all 30 students sat the exams with 100% gaining A* to E and 87% achieving A* to C.

Mr Price said: “Even though there has been much talk about top grades being harder to achieve, Thetford Grammar School continued its consistent record of strong results. I am very proud of the group’s achievements, especially given the constant pressure that young people are under these days. As always, the students’ hard work is supported by their parents and by the commitment of their teachers.”

Leading the way was Roland Bittleston from Bury St Edmunds with an impressive 5 A* grades followed by Jessica Simpson from Thetford 2 A*s and 2 As, Lissa Darby from Methwold 2 A*s and 1 A, Natasha Dawson from Bury St Edmunds 2 A*s and 1 A, Hannah Spooner from Diss 1 A* and 2 As with Lilly Reynolds and Claudia Bixer from Bury St Edmunds achieving all As.

Cathy Spillane, principal, of Thetford Academy, said she was proud of the students.

Sixty-five students sat with an A* to E pass rate of 99%. A total of 42% gained A* to C grades.

Ms Spillane added: “It’s very much what we were expecting with the increase in numbers. We are really proud of the students because this has been such a difficult year for the academy and they’ve just got on with it throughout.”

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