Sixth Form students have been celebrating their A-level results after a challenging 18 months.
Mr Gritton said it was a remarkable achievement that almost 50 per cent of all grades were A*/A with 75 per cent of all grades A*-B.
He said: “We are very proud of our Sixth Form students who have achieved an outstanding set of results despite all of the challenges of the past 18 months. Sitting all of their assessments under full exam conditions and having to cover the full range of A-Level content and difficulty they have still managed to do so well, having had to access much of their learning remotely. Almost 50% of all ALevel grades were at A* and A with 75% of all grades at A*-B. This really is quite a remarkable achievement by all of our Sixth Form pupils and the staff who supported them so well throughout a very challenging time. We wish all of our young people all the very best for the future.”
Head of Sixth Form Mrs Robinson congratulated the students and said: “It’s been a challenging two years but they have shown true Benedict’s spirit and determination and we are incredibly proud of them. We would like to wish them all the best for the future.”
Declan Webster achieved A*s in History, English Literature and Sociology and is going to Oxford University to study History.
The 18-year-old is totally blind and throughout his time at Saint Benedict he has been supported by the school’s Enhanced Resource Base, which supports students with a wide range of visual and physical impairments.
He said: “I’m so pleased, it’s been such a long road to get here. I’ve always wanted to go to Oxford as I want to go into politics and I thought this would be a good route. It always seemed like a far off dream but I thought I would apply and see what happens and then the pandemic hit and there was a lot of home schooling. All of my resources have always had to be adapted into Braille and I’ve had great support from the ERB at school and the Learning Support Assistants. It was tough when I was suddenly having to learn on my own at home as I have such a great relationship with my teachers.
“When I got my results I was relieved and elated, it’s just been such a long time coming. I will get support at Oxford but there’s also an expectation that I will be more independent and that’s what I’ve been working towards at Saint Benedict. Being in a mainstream school has helped me so much with learning communication skills, social skills and just learning how to mix.”
Isobel Moore, 18, is also off to Oxford University to study Biochemistry after achieving an A* in Biology, an A in Maths and an A in Chemistry.
She said: “It’s been hard with lockdown and home schooling, I think motivation was the toughest thing. I found out online at 8.30am that I’d got into Oxford and I was really happy. I felt relieved when I got my results. I couldn’t believe it, I don’t think it has sunk in yet.”
Jeffrey Kusi, 19, will be studying Biomedical Science in Manchester after achieving a B in Sociology, a Distinction in Business and a Merit in Applied Science.
The 19-year-old will be the first generation of his family to attend university. He is originally from Ghana but then moved to Italy and then came to the UK. He started attending Saint Benedict in Year 10.
He said: “It was hard with the language barrier as I only spoke some English. My GCSEs didn’t really go as expected but my teachers really motivated me and changed my life really. I am the first person in my family to go to university and they are going to be so proud of me. This is a really big moment for me.”
Keeley Nagra, 18, decided to repeat a year of Sixth Form and her decision paid off as she achieved two Bs and a C and will go on to study Law in Nottingham.
She said: “I decided to repeat the first year as I thought that was the best thing to do. School were really supportive and it’s all paid off now. It’s just been a whirlwind since January really with everything that’s happened with the pandemic, it felt like everything was up in the air. I want to be a barrister so I’m really, really happy to get a place at Nottingham to study Law.”
Rebecca Phelan, 18 achieved A*s in Maths, Chemistry and Biology and is going to University College London to study Natural Sciences with Neuroscience and Maths.
She was partly inspired to study Neuroscience after her own experience – Rebecca underwent a major back operation just weeks before her GCSE exams in 2019.
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. She missed months of school but still managed to achieve top GCSE grades.
Rebecca said: “I think my own experience is probably what prompted me to study Natural Sciences with Neuroscience. I wasn’t in school in the lead up to my GCSEs and because of lockdown I wasn’t in school much for A-levels either so I was used to it! It was hard this time because things were changing and we were getting updates about what was happening with our exams a week before because of the national situation so we didn’t really know how to prepare. I knew that I had got my place at university before I came in and then when I got my results it was weird, I don’t think it has sunk in yet.”
Tegan Lowndes, 18, achieved an A* in Sociology, an A in Drama and two Distinction *s in Media. She is off to Bristol to study Paramedic Science.
She said: “I wanted to be a paramedic but for a long time I was put off because some people said I wouldn’t be able to do it. I have been working at NHS 111 since I left Sixth Form and I really enjoy it, no two days are the same.
“I had a tough time at the start of Sixth Form and even considered leaving. It was a big jump from GCSEs to A-Levels and I don’t think I had a lot of belief in myself. I had a lot of support from the Head of Sixth Form, Mrs Robinson, I used to talk to her a lot and we would talk about the pros and cons of staying in Sixth Form but she never put any pressure on me. I did think I might leave but I’m glad now that I stayed and the hard work has paid off. It’s all been worth it.”