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Saint Benedict Catholic Voluntary Academy Alumni returned to give Years 11, 12 and 13 advice about their futures.

Ex-students who are now at university, completing apprenticeships or in employment came back for our annual Meet the Former Student event.

Students were given a booklet containing questions they might like to ask along with a list of the ex-students attending and the courses they were studying or details of their apprenticeships.

Areas covered included Apprenticeships, Archaeology, Architecture, Criminology, Dance and Creative Writing, Education and Languages, Engineering, English Literature and Languages, Geography, Healthcare, History, Journalism, Photography, Psychology and Science.

Mrs Vause, Director of Learning for Science and Sixth Form tutor, organised the event.

She said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our current students to find out more about the possible pathways they could pursue after finishing school.

“We encourage students to think about the questions they would like to ask, particularly regarding a student’s reason for choosing an apprenticeship or what the UCAS application process was like, their initial impressions of university and the course that they have chosen.

“Hopefully the event leaves them feeling inspired and informed and goes some way to helping them decide if they want to go to university or pursue an apprenticeship, what course they want to study and the kind of preparation that they need to be doing.”

Ex-student Callum Phelan is at the University of Birmingham studying a Masters in Electronic and Electrical Engineering.

He said: “I’m currently on a 12 month placement with Rolls-Royce and I’m really enjoying it. I would love to stay at Rolls-Royce. I think it’s important for students to know that employers are also looking for those soft skills.”

Stephanie Andrews has just completed a course in Drama and Creative Writing at university in Bristol.

She said: “When I started my course acting was my passion but now I would love to become a producer in the theatre. University was a life-changing experience for me.”

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Due to a current problem with the telephone system please could you call or text a pupil’s absence (including your name and the pupils name) to the following number – 07107230442

Student Rebecca Phelan has achieved top GCSE results despite undergoing a life-changing operation just weeks before her exams were due to start.

Rebecca was one of our top performers, achieving seven grade 9s and three grade 8s.

She said: “Some of the results came as a complete surprise and it doesn’t feel real. I still don’t feel like I actually took my GCSEs, I don’t think it’s all sunk in yet.”

Surgeons performed a spinal fusion to Rebecca’s severely curved spine, which was a result of scoliosis, and inserted two long titanium rods and 19 metal screws in her back in order to straighten it.

The gruelling eight-hour surgery took place in January 2019 and as a result the 16-year-old could not return to school until March 2019 when she went back part-time.

Rebecca based her Art coursework on what she had learnt about neurological messages, which travel from the brain to the spine, and is keen to study neuroscience at university after being inspired by her own experience.

The teenager was originally diagnosed with scoliosis in 2017 after her swimming coach noticed that something was wrong with her back.

She said: “It was a really long-winded way of finding out. I used to swim and we would do land training in the gym. One day I was stretching and one of the coaches said there was something wrong with my shoulder. My back was humped on one side but I didn’t actually mention it to my mum until two weeks later.

“We went to our GP and they put me on vitamin D tablets because they thought I might be deficient. However, we went back to the GP and they referred me to hospital. I had an x-ray and I was told I had scoliosis and that I would probably need surgery.

“I was told my condition was quite severe. Anything over a 40-degree curve is considered quite serious and one of my curves at that point was 73 degrees and it actually ended up at 89 degrees so it was almost a right angle.

“I was referred to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham as that’s one of the best places to go for scoliosis surgeries. Originally I hoped my surgery would be after Year 10, in the summer of 2018, so I would be fine for GCSEs. For me, the surgery wasn’t classed as critical but still very necessary and emergency cases always took priority due to the length of time that I needed a high dependency bed. I underwent surgery on January 22nd this year. They had to open up my back, fuse the spine and insert two rods and 19 screws. During the operation they also placed small electrodes on my skull and sent electrical impulses to my hands and feet down my spinal cord to check that there was no neurological damage. As the screws are inserted fractions of millimetres from the spinal cord there is a risk of paralysis.

“I was in hospital for one week and within 24 hours of the surgery I was standing upright and by day 2 I’d taken my first steps. For the first few days I was on a very high dose of painkillers but this was reduced by the time I was discharged.

“I was full-time in Year 11 up until Christmas but from January until March this year I was off school. My Art exam coursework started in January but after the operation I couldn’t do any work for three weeks in part due to the painkillers which meant that I couldn’t focus and if I did anything for too long I got a lot of pain in my ribs. I started to do some school work online about four weeks after the operation and then two weeks later I went back to school on a phased return, which was a couple of mornings a week.

“It was hard as I was trying to catch up with all of the work I’d missed and I still needed to lie down a lot. I couldn’t do my Art coursework lying down. The actual Art exam is over 10-hours but I was allowed to do mine over three days. I did it in a smaller room so that if I needed to stand up then I could and my time would be paused until I sat back down. I’ve actually only been at school for five full weeks since January this year.

“I will have an annual check-up and none of the metal will need replacing or removing. I have been told that I don’t need to worry if I go through security at an airport as the rods and screws are titanium so shouldn’t set off any alarms!”

Rebecca said that one of the other effects of the surgery was that she grew taller as a result.

She said: “I noticed that my eye-line was different as I grew by about an inch. Everything takes about a year to fully fuse in place and I can feel it if I move quite quickly. I can feel that my back is quite tight sometimes where the rods are but generally I can do the things that I was doing before the surgery. I’m very grateful for the work of the surgical team at QMC and for the ward staff and physiotherapists aiding my recovery.”

Rebecca is planning on staying on at Saint Benedict Sixth Form to study Biology, Chemistry and Maths.

Mr Gritton said: “We would like to congratulate all of our students on another record-breaking set of GCSE results at Saint Benedict. We are particularly thrilled for Rebecca. Her achievement is incredible, especially in light of what she’s been through.”

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GB basketball player Simeon Perry was celebrating his GCSE results today after achieving grades ranging from 5 to 8.

Simeon has just competed in the U-16 European Basketball Championships in Montenegro where the GB team played nine matches and finished 10th out of 24 teams.

He said: “I hoped that I’d done ok in my exams but I was nervous last night, I didn’t get to sleep until about 3am. I want to go on to study Psychology, Business and PE and I would like to use my A-levels to get a basketball scholarship in America.”

Twins Benedict and Benjamin Rivera achieved a raft of top GCSE grades.

Between them they scored 7s, 8s and 9s and are now both planning on studying the same subjects at A-level – Biology, Chemistry and Maths – and ultimately both are hoping to study Microbiology at UCL in London.

Benedict said: “We’ve always done the same thing and we are both planning on doing the same A-levels and we both want to go to UCL and study the same subject. I’m really pleased with my results. We both opened them at the same time as that’s what we’d planned to do.”

Molly Dziunka was one of the school’s top achievers after scoring five 9s, four 8s and a 7.

She said: “I was so happy when I saw my results, I didn’t think they would be like that. The exams were so long ago I wasn’t sure how I’d done. I’m staying on in Sixth Form to study English, Psychology and Textiles. I’m not sure what I want to do career wise yet but I picked the A-levels that I enjoy.”

It has been another record-breaking year for GCSE results at Saint Benedict CVA. The school’s Attainment 8 score, which measures the attainment across the best eight subjects of all pupils, has risen again to 48.2 from 48.1 in 2018 and 42.9 in 2017. The school expects its Progress 8 score to be around +0.32.

Over 60% of pupils achieved a grade 4 or above in English and maths (equivalent to the old grade C) and the number of grade 9s rose significantly from 52 last year to 82 this year.

Mr Gritton said: “We are delighted with this year’s results which have seen our students perform well above target once again. Our overall Attainment 8 score was 48.2 against a target of 45 so this means we should end up with a positive Progress 8 score again this year. We are extremely pleased for all of our students who performed consistently well across all groups and all areas of the curriculum. They worked extremely hard and were well supported by our dedicated staff. We look forward to welcoming many of our Year 11 students back to attend our Sixth Form.”

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Student Natasha Coyle was celebrating top A-level results today.

The 18-year-old achieved an A* in History, an A* in Sociology and a B in English Literature. She is going on to study English at the University of Exeter.

She said: “I’m really pleased that I got into the university I wanted to go to, I love it down there. I was happy after the exams knowing that I had worked hard and I had the summer to look forward to and I knew that the results were out of my control after that.

“I managed to switch off over the summer. I had a good time reading books, seeing friends and going on short holidays with my family. I started to get nervous about two to three days ago although I managed to sleep last night. My heart was racing when I came in to collect my results, it was nerve-racking. We are going to have a special breakfast with my family to celebrate. I know I can breathe again now and I’ve got the rest of the summer to look forward to.”

Student Maria Johnson, 19, achieved a Distinction * in BTEC Media and Merits in Applied Business and Applied Science.

She was pleased with her results as during her exams her father suffered a serious stroke and was taken to hospital.

She said: “I’m so happy as I didn’t expect to do as well as I did. My dad has been poorly for a while as he has heart problems. He has had four heart attacks and he suffered the stroke after my Science exam and before my Business exam. I didn’t get time to do much between my exams and I felt like my full focus wasn’t on my Business exam because of what had happened. Initially my dad was paralysed down his left side but he’s out of hospital now although he’s in a wheelchair and we’ve been helping him to get better.”

Maria is going on to Birmingham City University to study an Architecture Foundation Year.

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A student who completes the majority of her lessons in Braille is celebrating a set of top A-level results today.

Sophie Paul, who is blind, achieved an A* in Sociology and an A in English Literature and is off to the University of Derby to study Sociology.

She said: “I’m really happy as I didn’t expect those results especially in English. The exam was really hard and the grade boundaries were really high. My sister read my results to me and I was surprised. She was really pleased too.

“I attended all mainstream lessons at school. I had a screen reader on my laptop which could read the work out to me and I could also read it in Braille too.”

Sophie would also access the school’s Enhanced Resource Base, for visually and physically impaired students, during lunchtimes and study periods.

She said: “It was always my plan to attend mainstream lessons as I did that at primary school and I’ve had great support at Saint Benedict. This was the only school I was going to come to as it was the only one close enough to where I live that could adapt all of my work and where I could attend mainstream lessons. By the time I got to Sixth Form I was quite independent. It will all work the same at the University of Derby too.”

Mr Gritton said he was pleased with this year’s results and congratulated Sophie.

He said: “One of our notable successes this year was Sophie Paul who is one of our visually impaired students. Sophie, who has been blind, from birth achieved fantastic results and we are so pleased for her. We wish all of our students all the very best for the future.”

Over 70% of all grades were at A*-C and the overall pass rate was 97%.

Sophie Paul reading her results in Braille

 

 

Sixth Form students were celebrating their A-level results today with over 70% of all grades at A*-C and the overall pass rate standing at 97%.

Mr Gritton said he was pleased with this year’s results.

He said: “Our students worked hard for their grades and we would like to thank our dedicated staff who supported them. Many of them are now heading off to the next step in their lives and we wish them the best of luck whether they are going to university, moving on to an apprenticeship or into employment.”

Sean McClafferty, chief executive of the St Ralph Sherwin Catholic Multi Academy Trust, said: “The St Ralph Sherwin Trust congratulates all our young people at St Benedict school for their achievements this summer and wish to thank staff, governors, parents and pupils for their hard work and commitment which has helped them get to this point. We wish them all the very best as they embark on the next stage of their young lives.”

 

Please note the following examination results days

15th August – A level 8 am

22nd August – GCSE 9 am