A-level success for Castle Sixth Form Centre students
STUDENTS at the Castle School Sixth Form have been congratulated on their A-level achievements after two years of disruption from the coronavirus pandemic.
School leaders praised the students for "demonstrating resilience and flexibility" after home learning during three national lockdowns, coping with self-isolation and safety restrictions in school.
This year 85.4% of students in the sixth form, which includes people who studied GCSEs at Castle and Marlwood schools, achieved A*-C grades, with more than 20% of candidates achieving grades equal to or better than three As.
Among the highest achievers were Annabel McLaren, with 4 A* grades plus an A* for her extended project qualification, and is going to study law at Oxford University, and Dennis Kiselev, who achieved 4 A*s and has a place at Manchester University to study computer science.
Three other students – Jemima Barnes, Rosie Culverhouse and Theo Jordan – will also be going to Oxford to study history, French and law respectively.
Angus Chan and Sidra Muhammad won places to study medicine at Leicester and Birmingham Universities respectively, and Taya Green will study veterinary science at Bristol University. George Bazzone, James Harrod, Josiah Hendy and Jemima Whiteway all achieved at least 3 A* grades.
The school also has a strong vocational programme, with students moving on to train in nursing, midwifery, agriculture, and events management.
Head of sixth form Sarah Ockenden said: "There is something very special about this cohort of students. Not only did they adapt to the changing circumstances with determination and good will, demonstrating resilience and flexibility, but they showed so much care for each other.
"It has been a genuine privilege to have worked with them, and I wish them all the very best for their futures."
Following the cancellation of the usual exams, grades have been awarded through a process of teacher assessment, based on a range of evidence and marked against a national standard. Work was moderated by schools and academy trusts, and approved by exam boards. However nationally there have been concerns about A Level grades being higher than previously, with 44.8% of results at A* or A, compared to last year when 38.5% achieved top grades.
However head teacher Joe Docherty said: "Don’t let anyone suggest that the lack of external exams meant that these students have had it easier – it’s quite the opposite.
"These students did very well in their GCSEs at Castle or Marlwood, and since then they have had to adapt and develop a wider set of skills than any of their predecessors, so I think they are probably better prepared for higher-level study and training as a result."