Sunday, 22 September 2019

Students make the grade at independent schools

Students make the grade at independent schools

INDEPENDENT schools in the Henley area have once again enjoyed impressive A-level results by their students.

At Queen Anne’s School in Caversham 44 per cent of its students achieved A* to A grades, up four per cent on last year.

The overall pass rate at the Henley Road girls’ school was 98 per cent compared with 99 per cent last year while the proportion of pupils achieving A* to C grades was 87 per cent, a two per cent fall on last year.

One third of the exams were sat in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Fifty-seven per cent of geography students attained an A* or A grade while the figure for economics was 33 per cent. In history 84 per cent of girls achieved A* to B grades.

Charlotte Webb, 18, from Shiplake, achieved A*s in psychology and geography and an A grade in economics and will study psychology at the University of Leeds from next month.

Charlotte, who collected her results with sister Holly, said: “When I found out my results I was in utter shock — it was very overwhelming. When my parents heard they said, ‘Oh my god; we are so proud of you’.

“My teachers have had to put up with a lot for the last two years. They were there for anything we needed, which is really nice.”

She celebrated with a family brunch at Coppa Club in Sonning before a night out in Reading with friends.

Romilly Hayward, 18, from Binfield Heath, achieved A*s in biology and drama and A grades in physics and chemistry.

She has won a place at Imperial College London to study medicine and wants to become a surgeon.

She said: “I’m really happy. The hard work was 100 per cent worth it. I just kept telling myself it would be.

“My parents are really proud. I spent the evening with them and we had a little family get-together and dinner.”

Headmistress Julia Harrington said: “I’m very proud. The girls have demonstrated that hard work, commitment to their studies and self-belief produces excellent results.

“At Queen Anne’s we aim to guide each girl to discover her passions and potential and to help prepare her for life beyond our gates. Yet again, we are incredibly proud of all that the upper sixth has achieved both inside and out of the classroom.”

The overall pass rate at Shiplake College was 99 per cent compared with 99.6 per cent last year.

Thirty-seven per cent of students achieved A* to A grades, down five per cent on last year, but the number of A* to C grades rose from 83 per cent last year to 86 per cent.

Morgan Taylor, 18, of Manor Road, Henley, achieved an A* in geography, an A grade in economics and a B in chemistry.

He will join flour and bread producer Hovis on a special degree programme at Sheffield Hallam University. Part of his time will be spent working for the company while it sponsors his studies.

His mother Jo said: “We are over the moon. Morgan joined Shiplake from the age of 11, so the journey he has been on and the quality of education has been amazing. He has worked really hard.”

Morgan celebrated with his friends with a night out in Reading.

Isabelle Smith, 18, from Shiplake, was awarded two A grades and a B to secure a place at Edinburgh University to read law.

Headmaster Gregg Davies, who is leaving after 15 years, said: “We are very proud.

“It’s absolute nonsense to say that qualifications are easier now than they were three years ago. These guys worked harder than people of my generation.

“Shiplake’s success over the years is down to having great, strong teachers.

“ We have some really talented teachers, who at A-level become not just teachers but colleagues.

“One of the things I am most pleased with is that in recent years we have seen a rise in the aspirations of our students aiming for and being successful in achieving ambitious top-end grades to gain them entry to their universities of choice.

“As I enter the final two weeks as headmaster, I can hand on heart say that I am proud of the achievements of this year group and indeed all leavers from the last 15 years. Huge congratulations to the class of 2019 and I wish you every success in the future.”

The pass rate at Reading Blue Coat School in Sonning was just under 99 per cent compared with 100 per cent last year.

About 41 per cent of pupils achieved A* or A grade, down from 44 per cent last year. The number of students achieving A* to C was 90.5 per cent compared with 93.8 per cent last year.

All French and music students passed at A* to B grade while 90 per cent of those who sat art, geography, economics, politics and religious studies achieved at least a B grade.

Head boy Ben Freeman, from Henley, achieved an A* and two A grades and will now study biomedical sciences at University College London.

Ben, who competed at Henley Royal Regatta after his exams, said: “I’m over the moon. It has been such a long year and after everything that I’ve done this year, I got the grades I needed.”

Daniel Algar, captain of the 1st XI football team, achieved an A* and two A grades and has a place at Nottingham University to study psychology.

He said: “When I opened my envelope, I thought they were someone else’s results!”

George Morton, head of sixth form, said: “This is a good set of results for our students who have given so much to the school and community in their time with us.

“Balancing their charitable endeavours and sporting and cultural activities while keeping a firm eye on their studies has been no mean feat and many of them have really earned their place at some of the country’s most prestigious universities. We are very proud of them.”

Headmaster Jesse Elzinga, who announced in July that he is to become headmaster of Sevenoaks School in September next year,  called the results “superb”.

He said: “For nearly 10 years the staff and pupils of the school have consistently earned results of more than 70 per cent A* to B grades at
A-level, with more than 40 per cent of all grades being A*to A, and we matched these results again in the summer of 2019.

“My particular congratulations go to the art, geography, French, economics, politics, religious studies and music departments, all of which achieved stunning results this year.

“Of course there are many individual success stories among these results but the statistic of which we are most proud is that on results day, almost 90 per cent of our leavers secured their first or insurance university place — a testament to the excellent work of our pupils and staff during the UCAS process.

“Well done to everyone involved in these results and very best wishes to all of our leavers as they start the next phase of their academic careers.”

The pass rate at the Oratory School in Woodcote was 92 per cent, compared with 98 per cent in 2018. Twenty-seven per cent achieved A* to A grade while 68 per cent of grades were grades A to C.

High achievers included Seb Smith, 18, from Woodcote, who attained an A* in maths, an A grade in music and a B in further maths.

He will be going to the University of York to study computer science and hopes to pursue a career in IT security.

Seb said: “It was a very stressful period, to be honest. It was easier than GCSEs because there were fewer exams overall but with the changes to the syllabus it was hard to know what the papers would be like.

“However, it all paid off and I was very happy with the results. I put a lot of work in and I’m still very pleased with how I did. My parents are very proud.”

Ed Tritton, 18, of Blounts Court Road, Sonning Common, achieved an A* in art, a B grade in geography and a C in history and is going to the University of Exeter to study international relations.

He said: “I’m very happy with my grades as I worked hard. I started studying early enough so I wasn’t rushing or cramming at the last minute.

“I already knew that I had my place at Exeter but it was really lovely to see that I got an A*.

“The school gave me a lot of support through the exams so I’m really thankful for that and my parents are proud.”

The new headmaster of Shiplake College is Tyrone Howe, who is moving from Uppingham School in Rutland.

• Don’t miss Right Choice, a guide to local independent schools, free with the Henley Standard on Friday, September 6.

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