SCHOOLS across Sussex reported record-breaking A Level results, bucking the national trend.
Thousands of teenagers celebrated after receiving their results to be admitted to their chosen university courses, with Roedean School in Brighton, Newman College in Hove and Seaford Head all reporting their best-ever exam results.
Across the country, high school grades for high school students were slightly below pandemic highs, but remained above 2019 levels – when students sat final exams.
Pupils flocked to their schools yesterday to collect their results and celebrate with their friends after two years of challenges due to the pandemic.
This year’s results were the first to be based on exam scores since 2019, with students being assessed by teachers for the past two years due to Covid-19.
Best performers included twins Victoria and Valeria Badham from Crowborough, who went to Cambridge with A*s, and Shaun Pexton, the head boy at Brighton College, who will continue his studies at Yale University.
“I contracted Covid the night before my chemistry exam”
Students across Sussex have overcome major challenges to achieve impressive exam results, including language barriers, a life-changing medical diagnosis and even a bout of Covid.
Olivia Taggart contracted coronavirus during exam season but still managed to secure two A*s and two As’s.
The Roedean student from Twineham will study mathematics at Bristol University and said: “I was feeling really tired and wondering if it was the dreaded Covid.
“It was late at night, the night before my chemistry test, and I took a test and it was positive.
“I couldn’t believe the timing as I hadn’t had Covid before.
“I think it was a combination of my predicted grades, the work I had already done and all the assessments we had done before that helped with the grades. I’m just so relieved.”
Olga Frosyou moved to the UK with her family from Greece to escape the country’s economic crisis and did not speak English when she arrived in Woodingdean.
However, the student at Lewes Old Grammar School managed to graduate from medical school with an A in German, an A in chemistry and a B in biology.
Francesca Evans of Burgess Hill Girls School got three A*s despite being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just weeks before her exams. She will take a year to travel before studying English at Cambridge.
“Thank God it’s all over”
Belle Richmond, a student at Lewes Old Grammar School who got a place at Cambridge to study archaeology, said the impact of the pandemic has made studying quite difficult for the past two years.
She said: “It was quite scary because you felt like you never knew what was coming next – one minute at school, the next at home online and all the time worrying if you could actually take the exams , especially after the canceled GCSEs in 2020.
“I think it was the same for everyone in that regard, so we just had to do our best and see what happens.
“The school took great care of us during the online lessons and made sure we were happy which really helped – thank God it’s all over.”
Despite the challenges faced by students across the district, students were relieved that their hard work had paid off.
Roedean student Tuhina Anoop will start at the LSE next September after securing a year’s paid internship at investment bank JP Morgan.
She said: “I had to be very focused and structured throughout the online learning, but my school played a big part in that because they got everything up and running so quickly for the online classes.
“I’m so happy with my results and really looking forward to a year at JP Morgan – it was really challenging to get my place so I feel like all my hard work has paid off.”
Ukrainian refugee secures university place
Despite not getting a high school diploma, Ukrainian refugee Grisha Sheldunov secured a place at UCL to study chemistry after coming to Brighton College on a special scholarship scheme.
Grisha, who fled the country with his mother and younger brother after the Russian invasion began, said he was surprised that the college staff was keen to help him pursue his academic goals.
He said: “A lot of people wanted to help me – it was quite surprising as we didn’t have that kind of help available in Ukraine, the culture is different.”
Students get first T-level results
Students across the county also received first-ever T-level results, a qualification equivalent to three A-levels that provides students with hands-on and knowledge-based learning and hands-on experience.
Chichester College, which was among the first to offer the new qualifications, had a 100 per cent pass rate, with more than half the students achieving merit and five honours.
College Principal Helen Loftus said: “We are delighted that our first T-Level students are receiving their results today, after working so hard and paving the way for those to come after them – and a 100- percentage success rate for our first T-level students is remarkable.
“You have worked so hard in challenging times, navigated industry internships during a global pandemic and consistently delivered quality work. They should be so proud of what they have achieved.”
The Vice President congratulates the students
Brighton and Hove City Council deputy leader Hannah Clare, who chairs the council’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee, said student performance in the city was impressive and above the national average.
She said: “I think our high school seniors deserve all the praise and encouragement that we can give them.
“While the grading system is now back to normal, her studies have been put on hold by the pandemic. They’ve had a very difficult few years and I applaud their dedication and resilience.
“The staff at our schools, colleges and independent training providers have also risen to the challenges they have faced and I am truly grateful for all their hard work.
“We wish all our students all the best for the next phase of their lives, whether they decide to continue their studies or find employment.”
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20671644.sussex-students-celebrate-record-breaking-a-level-results/?ref=rss Sussex students celebrate ‘record-breaking’ A Level results