Students at Merchants’ Academy are celebrating today after receiving fantastic A-level and BTEC results with all teacher-predicted grades upheld by the exam board.
38% of A-level students achieved grades A*-B, against 3% in 2019, 94% achieved grades A*-C and 100% achieved grades A*-E. Improvements spanned attainment and progress across academic and vocational subjects, with the value-added score over half a grade above the national average.
A-level subjects that scored particularly well include media studies and business studies where all students gained at least a grade C. In BTEC subjects, health and social care, ICT and sport also scored highly.
Adhering to social distancing guidelines, students were given timed slots to collect their results this morning, with family members waiting anxiously outside the school building as students reappeared with big smiles, waving their results papers in the air.
Kizzy Harris was among those celebrating today, as she accepted a place at the University of Bristol to study Business Management. “I’ve always dreamed of being a business consultant,” said Kizzy, “but I didn’t think that someone like me would ever go to university. To tell my family that I’ll be heading to Bristol Uni next month had us all in floods of tears! My teachers have been amazing and I am just bursting with pride!”
Ollie-Mae Woodland re-sat Year 13 after personal challenges last year threatened to shatter her dream of becoming an engineer. An inspiration to her classmates, Ollie-Mae remained focused on her goals, has significantly improved her grades in maths and chemistry, and today she accepted a place at the University of Plymouth to study Mechanical Engineering.
Chloe Siddle is forging ahead with her ambition to become a history teacher, with her hard work and determination securing a place at the University of Bristol to study ancient history.
Callum Parsons, who already plays football at county level and hopes to become a sports performance analyst, is heading for Cardiff Metropolitan University where he will study sport and exercise science.
Shaun Robertson, who has been an energetic ambassador for Merchants’ Academy sixth form, will also study sport and exercise science at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
Many students have accepted university places at destinations across the country to study degrees including paramedic science, forensic investigation, psychology, nursing and computer science, with others starting high-quality vocational apprenticeships, including with PWC, KPMG and Hitachi. A handful of students are pursuing exciting careers in the public sector, including with the police and the RAF.
“It’s been a nerve-wracking few weeks for students and teachers, as the goal posts for final grades have moved several times,” said Executive Principal, Sam Williamson. “Merchants’ Academy has been on an upward trajectory over the past 12 months, with the most recent visit from Ofsted confirming that we are improving. Against the backdrop of Covid-19 and exams being cancelled, there was a risk that the strong improvements made and the hard work of students and teachers would not be recognised because of the unusual grading system this academic year. However, we are delighted with the results, which reflect the resilience and determination shown by our students and staff during an unprecedented period of school closure.
“A high percentage of our Year 12 and 13 students have consistently engaged with online learning since March and almost all returned to school as soon as we were permitted to open to specific year groups. The teaching staff have found innovative ways to provide distanced pastoral support to students throughout the lockdown period, as well as ensuring that online resources provided the stretch and challenge to help students achieve their full potential.”
CEO of Venturers Trust, David Watson, said: “During the past six months, we have seen young people develop and utilise a wide range of valuable life skills, including resilience and courage. Faced with unexpected hurdles, the Merchants’ Academy community has risen to every challenge. The teacher-led and peer-to-peer support and encouragement for students has been inspirational to witness. We are ambitious for all our students and with today’s hard-earned and well-deserved results, these capable young people will now take the next steps in building bright futures for themselves and their families.”
Chair of Governors, Robert Bourns, said: “Our students and staff have responded so well during a challenging period and I congratulate them on such excellent results. I wish them every success for the future and I hope the positive example they have shown will encourage younger students who look up to them as role models. Merchants’ Academy has a dedicated and focused leadership team who are determined to foster ambition in every student, expand their skills and encourage individual determination – and we have once again seen the positive impact of that today.”