Students at Montpelier High School’s co-educational sixth form V6 are looking forward to a bright future after securing impressive A-level results.
More than one in five grades awarded was an A or A*, while overall outcomes were broadly in line with 2019, the last pre-Covid figures.
There were some fantastic individual performances in Science this year, with students heading off to top-level destinations to study subjects including Medicine, Biomedical Science, Marine Biology, Diagnostic Radiography, Veterinary Science and Environmental Science. Other students are pursuing Law and Modern Languages.
Malou Brown, who achieved A grades in History, Politics and Spanish, will read Law at the University of Oxford. Malou, from Easton, who joined MHS in Year 9, said: “It has been hard because of all the different disruptions but I had great teachers who helped me through. I have always wanted to study Law and I am looking forward to starting at Mansfield College.”
For the class of 2023, these were their first public exams, because teachers assessed their GCSE grades due to the pandemic. For one student, Rosie Gwyther, her results are particularly impressive, as what she thought was anxiety ahead of her Year 12 mocks turned out to be an undiagnosed congenital heart condition that required surgery. Nevertheless, she has come through with an A in Sociology, Bs in Psychology and Geography and A* in her Extended Project Qualification (EPQ).
Rosie, from Thornbury, said: “I thought it was just a panic attack but my heart went crazy and I had to be rushed from school to the Bristol Heart Institute. It was quite scary. I have had two operations and had to miss a few weeks of school but my teachers have been absolutely amazing in supporting me.
“A big shout-out to Ms Blything and Ms Slijkhuis. They always made sure I caught up and felt less stressed before the exams. My friend Sophia was great as well, visiting me every day in hospital. I had to push myself too. I am so excited to be going to the University of Gloucestershire to train to be a primary school teacher.”
Rosie with her family
Rosie’s mum Kate Gwyther said the family had had no idea about the heart condition.
“One minute she was in school, the next she was in resus at the heart hospital. It came totally out of the blue. Rosie has had two operations and will have to be monitored throughout her life.
“We are beyond proud of her. Her resilience and determination has not faltered throughout the two years. We really did not know what to expect for her results because she had not sat exams before but she has done brilliantly.’
Shayni with her mum
Shayni Wickmaratne was another student who battled health problems during her studies. A lifelong asthma sufferer, she experienced lung problems after having Covid and missed several months of her first year at V6, which she joined from St Bede’s Catholic College.
Shayni, from Shirehampton, said: “I was pretty bad last year but I am better now. My teachers really helped me get back on track. They have been very supportive and I enjoyed my lessons. I have made some really good friends at this school.”
Animal lover Shayni achieved A grades in Maths and Biology and a B in Chemistry and will study Veterinary Science at the University of Bristol.
Katie, Maddie and Bethany
Katie Aries, from South Gloucestershire, who has been at the school since Year 7, earned A grades in Chemistry, Biology and Maths, and is off to the University of Exeter to study Medicine.
She said: “I am very excited about going to uni – the course, learning new things, joining societies, living independently – I can’t wait! I have spoken to a lot of people in the healthcare professions and Medicine is what I really want to do. I am not sure which area I’d want to specialise in; I am like a child in a candy store, so many things sound so interesting.
“My teachers at MHS/V6 have been the stars of the show. They are absolutely wonderful – so passionate about their subjects and they always go the extra mile. The friendships I have made here have been really lovely too.”
Other notable successes at MHS include: Shumaila Muhammad (A*A*A) Biomedical Science, University of Plymouth; Philomena Murray (A*A*A) Geography and Environment Science, Kings College London; Abbie Clark (A*A*B) Politics, University of Sheffield;
Maddie Britton (A*AAA) Biology, University of Southampton; Rosa Bridges (A*AA) Chemistry, University of Southampton; Farida Awil (AAB) – Diagnostic Radiography,
Francesca Brocklebank (AAB) Marine Biology, University of Southampton; Nell Eustace (AAB) Modern Languages, University of Leeds; Maryam Hamrouni (AB, Distinction) Arabic and French, University of Manchester; Hazel Porter (AAB) Chemistry, University of Sheffield; Anya Reid (AAB).
Caroline McClean, Vice Principal and Head of Sixth Form, said: “We’re delighted to be celebrating the excellent achievements of our students today, many of whom have secured university places at impressive destinations. Their attainment is especially impressive as a cohort who experienced considerable disruption to their learning due to Covid and did not sit formal GCSE examinations. I am equally proud of those students who have made considerable progress in the sixth form, some of them in the face of adversity.”
Headteacher Ben Spence said: “It has been a real privilege to be a part of the A-Level results day today. We are so proud of all our students and their wonderful achievements. The return to formal education was difficult for all young people but this cohort has impressed us with their resilience and tenacity. We know that they will continue in this manner in the next stage of their journey.”
Tracey Killen, Chair of the Local Governing Body at Montpelier High School, said: “Our students and staff deserve the highest praise for these achievements. They have all worked so hard to overcome the challenges of the past few years. Congratulations!”
V6 is a successful and growing co-educational sixth form with 96 students in the current Year 13 cohort, 65 in the current Year 12 cohort and 117 students, including a high number from other secondary schools, who have accepted an offer to study at V6 from September 2023.
MHS and V6 are part of Venturers Trust which is sponsored by the Society of Merchant Venturers and the University of Bristol. As the sponsor, the University of Bristol provides a guaranteed reduced offer (a grade reduction of up to two grades below the standard entry requirements) or interview, depending on the course chosen, for all V6 students with the potential to study there; and the Society of Merchant Venturers provides an extensive range of work experience programmes available to all V6 students, as well as delivering career talks, mock interviews and mentoring.
Main photo caption: V6 students Lily, Temitayo and Rosie, with head of Y13 Sophie Blything far left and headteacher Ben Spence far right.