A-level Results Day 2019: Live updates from West Suffolk
PUBLISHED: 08:48 15 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:59 15 August 2019
After two years of hard work, thousands of A-Level students will today find out their results and whether they made it into their top choice university. But how did schools in West Suffolk perform?
We will be bringing you live coverage throughout the day, with one of our reporters Mariam Ghaemi speaking to students at County Upper in Bury St Edmunds to find out how they've got on.
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.
As of yesterday afternoon, the University of Suffolk had vacancies on 135 courses - from Biomedical Science to Wildlife Conservation and Animal Management.
County Upper School
Out of 122 students, 82% achieved the benchmark A*-C passrate - the same as last year - and 99.4% managed A*-E (99.4% last year).
Students of particular note are Edwin Wilkinson, who was chuffed to get A*s in maths, further maths, chemistry and physics, and Emma Le Poidevin who was over the moon with A*s in art, French and history.
County Upper headteacher Vicky Neale said: "It is always rewarding to see a group of young people rightly excited about moving onto the next phase of their lives and, once again, our students have achieved what they need to do just that.
"They have done extremely well across the ability range and 25% of all grades are A*/A.
"Five students will take up places at Oxford and Cambridge this year, while two students have secured, equally sought after, degree apprenticeships with international computing companies."
She added: "I thank the staff for all they do to provide a well-rounded education for all our students and our parents for their support.
"On behalf of their teachers and tutors, I congratulate the students and wish them every success for the next phase of their lives."
St Benedict's Catholic School, Bury St Edmunds
A total of 61 students sat the exams this year, with an overall passrate of 100% and 86% achieved the A*-C benchmark.
High achieving students included Liam Gallagher with three A*s and an A, Harriet Allum with two A*s, an A and a B, Frankie Wright with an A* and two As and Mary Whittingdale with two A*s and a B.
Headteacher Imogen Senior said: "We are absolutely delighted with the success that our students have enjoyed this year and this is truly a reflection of their hard work and commitment. I know this cohort of students very well as I started here at St Benedict's in September as their Head of Sixth Form and I am incredibly proud of all that they have achieved. I am also very proud of St Benedict's School as a community. As a small comprehensive Sixth Form to see 23% of our students achieve three or more straight A*/A and 49% of students achieve three or more A*/A/B grades shows the commitment of the whole school to the highest possible standards. These grades are an accurate reflection of the vibrant learning community fostered in the school and I look forward to hearing how these young people will continue to contribute to society from these excellent academic achievements."
Ormiston Sudbury Academy
There are also celebrations at Ormiston Sudbury Academy where 81% achieved A*-C and 100% got A*-E.
There were a total of 31 students who sat A-levels this year.
The school said 61% of exam entries secured some of the top grades available (A*, A, Distinction*, Distinction), with students excelling particularly in vocational courses.
Amongst the many university places secured, students won coveted places at the prestigious Rambert Conservatoire for dance and drama, East 15 acting school at the University of Essex and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
Ormiston Sudbury Academy's executive principal, Caroline Wilson, said: "It has been excellent to see the students collect their exam results today - with their hard work and commitment really paying off.
"I am hugely grateful for the continued commitment of both our staff and students, ensuring that all our young people are fully prepared to take their next steps towards the world of work. We wish all our students every success for the future."
Nick Hudson, chief executive of Ormiston Academies Trust, said: "I would like to congratulate students, staff and the whole school community at Ormiston Sudbury Academy on these results, which are testament to their hard work and determination.
"As a trust, it is our absolute priority to ensure that every student has the opportunity to fulfil their potential and the skills to succeed whether going on to study at a leading university or entering the world of work. We look forward to working with the academy to build on these achievements."
Thomas Gainsborough School
Thomas Gainsborough School is celebrating the success and hard work of its A-level students.
A total of 78 students sat the exams, with 72.7% gaining A*-C and 97% achieving A*-E.
Headteacher Wayne Lloyd said: "Once again, we are encouraged by the progress our students made with these results. This demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the young people of this area, through the high quality teaching and excellent support that the school has provided them with."
Kenny Alexander, director of sixth form at Thomas Gainsborough, added: "These results will open many doors to the young people who have worked so hard to achieve them.
"We wish the students all the very best for the next phase of their lives, be that university, college, apprenticeships or employment."
A-level results of particular note included Reece Brooking, who achieved an A* in further maths, an A* in maths and an A in physics and Francesca Perkins-Taylor who got an A* in religious studies, an A in history, an A in maths and an A* in Extended Project Qualification (EPQ).
Reece is now going to study maths at Essex University and Francesca is going to St Andrews University to study philosophy.
Haverhill Community Sixth Form (incorporating Samuel Ward and others)
Students and staff here are celebrating the second consecutive year of rising A-level results.
A total of 51 took A-levels, with 69% gaining A*-C and 96.4% getting A*-E.
Headteacher Andy Hunter said: "I am really delighted for all the students who worked so hard to meet their university offers and have found out this morning, after months of waiting, that they have got the place they deserve.
"This year was a fresh start for Haverhill Community Sixth Form, under the leadership of Daisy Hopkins and her team, and I know that they are very proud of the results the students have achieved."
Head of Sixth Form, Daisy Hopkins, said: "These results are testament not only to the hard work of the students but also the dedication and expertise of the teachers.
"I'm looking forward to welcoming our new intake of year 12 students from across Haverhill on Friday, August 23, at our enrolment day."
Students are going on to follow courses ranging from astrophysics and medicine to nursing and accounting. Their destinations include both Oxford and Cambridge, Durham, Birmingham, Nottingham, Warwick and Bath, where one student will train to become a Norland nanny.
King Edward VI School
Overall 185 students took A-levels, with 78% of all entries graded A*-C and 98% graded A*-E.
Headteacher Lee Walker said: "Students and staff have worked tremendously hard and all concerned deserve this success. I am delighted that so many of our students attained exam results which secured their chosen path for the future, as well as developing the skills and personal qualities they need to thrive in the next stages of their lives."
At Culford 79% of all grades were A*-C and 99% were A*-E.
Headmaster Julian Johnson-Munday said: "We are delighted with this year's excellent grades, and very proud of the performance of pupils in terms of value added. Individual results were particularly pleasing, and indicate just how focused and hard-working our pupils and teachers are when preparing for these important examinations."
Thurston Community College
This school is celebrating "outstanding progress" after 81% of students achieved A*-C grades - up from 77% in 2018.
A total of 123 pupils sat the exams, with 99% getting A*-E.
Head of sixth form Paul Potter, vice principal of Thurston Community College, said: "We are so proud of this inspirational group of students at Thurston Sixth.
"Perennial talk of the 'dumbing down' of A-levels is absolute nonsense. Despite all the challenges of being the first students to take the new GCSEs two years ago, a tougher A-level curriculum and the 25% government funding cuts to further education, our students have made more progress than ever before - in line with the top 25% of sixth forms nationally.
"These students are an inspiration and their achievements are truly outstanding. What is just as important today, is that nearly all of our students have gained their chosen places at university, degree apprenticeships and employment. A level and other equivalent courses are extremely tough and we pay tribute not just to the students themselves, but to their family members, teachers and all the associate staff who have supported them over the years. We believe that this group of students will look back at their years at Thurston Sixth as the most challenging and some of the most wonderful years of their lives. We wish them all the very best for the next steps of their journeys."
Mildenhall College Academy
The percentage of students achieving A*-C increased from last year, with 62% reaching this benchmark in 2019.
The A*-E passrate was gained by 98% of the 67 students in the cohort.
Students of note include Finlay Boyle who achieved 3A*s and one A - in computer science (which he took a year early), maths, further maths and physics. He is going to Durham University to study natural sciences.
Rebecca Abeyasekere achieved an A* in chemistry and three As in biology, maths and physics. She is going to Durham University to read chemistry.
Principal Susan Byles said: "The percentage of students achieving the higher grades of A*-C has increased from last year and is at its highest level for three years. This is testament to the hard work of the students and the skills and dedication of their specialist teachers.
"At MCA6 [Mildenhall College Academy] we believe that all students deserve the chance to reach for the highest academic success and we are delighted when we see this achieved in such excellent results.
"I would like to congratulate all of our students and I wish them the very best in the future."
Debbie Clinton, chief executive at Academy Transformation Trust, said: "MCA6 offers students a nurturing and transformational sixth form experience which enables students of all abilities to succeed and achieve the highest academic success.
"Once again students at MCA6 have achieved an excellent set of results which will open up exciting career opportunities in the future."
Thetford Grammar School
Thetford Grammar School saw a rise in A* to C grades from 85% last year to 92% this time.
Eleven students sat A-level exams this year, with a further three taking AS examinations.
A spokesperson said: "We are delighted that so many of our students achieved excellent grades and are now going on to some of the country's top universities, including Oxford and Cambridge.
"It is a pleasure to share in our students' successes and excitement about their futures and to hear personally from them how big a difference attending Thetford Grammar School has made to their aspirations. These results reflect the tremendous diligence of our students, their scholarship and tenacity as well as the unstinting support and inspiration of their teachers."
Out of 56 students, 50% scored A*-C grades and 90% made the A*-E passrate.
Principal Dan Carter said: "I would like to congratulate our year 13 students on their successes today.
"There are some impressive and well-deserved individual results, reflecting the hard work of students and the support of their families and our staff.
"A number of subject areas have shown strong performances and improvements, including languages, history, maths and physics.
"We have continued our track record of good results in vocational and practical qualifications too. We wish all of our Year 13 students every success for the future."