• Wednesday, June 12, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Share of top A-level grades dips almost to pre-Covid levels

79 per cent of students secure their first choice, two percentage points down from 2022

Boys at Queen Elizabeth’s School, Barnet, celebrate their results. (Photo by Eleanor Bentall)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

STUDENTS across the country have been celebrating their A level results announced earlier this morning, with many getting into universities of their choice or taking up apprenticeships or starting work.

UCAS said 79 per cent of students secured their first choice, two percentage points down from 2022, when exams were reintroduced.

Overall, 414,940 applicants gained a place at university or college – down on 425,830 last year (-2.6 per cent), but an increase from 408,960 in 2019 (+1.5 per cent).

Two years after lockdown disruptions during the pandemic, 27.2 per cent of UK entries for A levels achieved a grade A and above, slightly higher than 25.4 per cent in 2019, the Department of Education said.

It added that 76 per cent of UK entries achieved a grade C and above, in line with 75.9 per cent in 2019.

Varun Valentine, of John Lyon in northwest London, scored straight A* A* A* with an additional A* in EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) and plans to study medicine at Imperial College London.

Varun said: “I am speechless – it’s been a rollercoaster and I have been blessed with a amazing family, friends and teachers. The school has been extremely supportive… and has helped me fulfil my dream of becoming a doctor.”

He is a member of the head boy team as communication monitor and a sixth form academic scholar and music scholar. Varun also created and ran the junior biomedical society.

Another student, Sahit Sahni, received A* A A A and an additional A* in EPQ. He plans to study electrical and electronic engineering at the University of Manchester.

Sahit, who joined John Lyon at 16+ in the Lower Sixth (Year 12) as an academic scholar, said, “I am extremely thrilled with my results. It’s been a really enjoyable couple of years in the sixth form and I am thankful to my family and teachers for all of their encouragement.”

Head Katherine Haynes said, “We are extremely delighted for our Upper Sixth on their excellent A-Level results – these have been some of the best on record.

“Our students have been ambitious and have been rightly rewarded for their hard work and effort. They have excelled not only in their studies, but also across the board: on the sports field, on the drama stage, in the art studio, in music performances and in the many rewarding charity and community partnerships and events at John Lyon and as part of John Lyon’s Foundation and alongside the Harrow Family of Schools situated around the world.”

Students discussing their results (Photo by Eleanor Bentall)

Queen Elizabeth’s School in Barnet, London, said 56 per cent of A-levels were awarded A* –beating the pre-pandemic record of 46.9 per cent set in 2018 and for combined A–A*, the figure was 88.7 per cent, well above the equivalent figure in the pre-Covid years.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “We are very pleased indeed with this brilliant performance. Like the record-breaking 47 Oxbridge offers made to QE boys in the spring, these A-level results demonstrate that, in our 450th anniversary year, the school is thriving and continues to go from strength to strength.

“We recognise that this Year 13 cohort has not always had an easy journey: they were unable to sit their GCSEs because of Covid, so, like their peers across the country, this was the first time they had faced high-stakes testing.”

The school said mathematics had the most A* grades, with 104, followed by chemistry (44) and further maths (43).

More than 90 per cent of the state funded grammar school’s pupils are from a black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds and about 45 per cent with English as a second language.

Rahul Doshi, who won Channel 4’s Child Genius Programme in 2017 achieved 4 A*s (Photo: Eleanor Bentall)

Education secretary Gillian Keegan said: “It’s fantastic to see the number of young people accepted to university – including to their first choice – continue to be up on the years before the pandemic, while thousands more go off to exciting apprenticeships and the world of work.

“As always, there are a wide range of fantastic options for those who did not get the results they hoped for, and students can find out more by visiting the UCAS website or through the National Careers Service.”

Nationwide, more than 250,000 certificates were awarded for those completing their Level 3 vocational and technical qualifications.

Students who have not received the grades they were hoping for, can apply for courses available through Clearing. Clearing opportunities can be accessed through this link: https://www.ucas.com/clearing-launch

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