Students from Ellesmere Port Catholic High School have been celebrating outstanding personal successes as they secured the top A level grades they needed to take up places at Oxford, Cambridge and Durham in September.
Head girl of last year, Laura Wilson, will feel she made her point when not offered a place at Oxbridge by achieving A* grades in maths and chemistry and A in French. Her B in general studies was icing on the cake. She is off to Durham to study chemistry.
Daniel Kibbey has secured a place at Wadham College, Oxford, also to study chemistry, having achieved A* in chemistry and As in physics and maths alongside a grade B in general studies.
Hannah Bush will be taking her place at St John’s College Cambridge next month to study psychology. This is on the basis of an A* in psychology, A grades in maths and English language and a C in general studies.
The strongest results achieved overall were those of Megan Williams. She will take up a place at Lancaster University to study English having achieved three A* grades in English language, English literature and general studies plus a B in history.
In all, 50 students will be taking the next steps into higher education. Overwhelmingly, they have been accepted on their first choice courses.
Headteacher Peter Lee said: “Given the concerns expressed in the press about the failure of comprehensive schools to match selective schools in sending students off to elite universities this is very encouraging.”
Amongst many notable successes this year are two students who joined the school in 2007 from their schools in Poland.
Adam Dziadosz is off to Lancaster University to study business having achieved an A grade in business studies, a grade B in psychology and a grade C in maths.
Patrycja Wiewiorowska, already having exhibited her work at the Handel’s Court Gallery in Chester, will be studying interior design at Liverpool John Moores. She achieved an A* grade for art and design, in which she scored a perfect 400/400 in her exams, and a grade B in product design, textiles, together with an A in psychology and a B in general studies.
Mr Lee recalled his first meeting with Patrycja and her mother.
He said: “She was eager to tell me that she was the best in her Polish school and she wanted to be the best here. I asked her about university, she was 13 years old at the time, and her ambition stood proud even then.
“At our suggestion she joined a younger year group to secure the best basis for success and she has never looked back.
“Both Patrycja and Adam have been a fantastic help to the school in helping us with other Polish speakers whose confidence in English grew less quickly.
“We were delighted with the overall results. Unlike most schools and sixth form colleges we have an open admission policy with regard to entry to A level, placing no academic pre-conditions to take any subject, other than a grade C at GCSE.
“For that reason the success of so many who were given a chance and support at A level here is just as pleasing. The overall A* - C pass rate of 97% is remarkable in that context.
“Other very creditable outcomes were the numbers of higher grades achieved within a group of students with a very broad range of ability. 17% of grades were graded A* or A and 41% were graded A*, A or B.
“This is comfortably the best performance at this level by students in our school. This wasn’t achieved through cherry-picking by students; 97% of them sat three or more A level subjects with 64% of those sitting four subjects.
“A measure of success often quoted for comparison is the average points scored by individual students at A level. This year’s figure of 742 points was a notable improvement on last year’s strong performance but, even more encouraging, the average points for each entry showed an improvement by three quarters of a grade in every entry over last year.”
Mr Lee paid tribute to the students, their parents and the staff of the school: “This a success story built upon talent, hard-work and unstinting support. Talented and hard-working pupils and staff, unfailingly supportive staff and parents and a demanding and encouraging ethos will always make a difference. Well done to all.”