The school is particularly thrilled with an increased percentage of those achieving top grades, with 44% of all grades at A or A* level. The pass rate at A*-E was 100% and an impressive 15% of all grades were at the highly challenging A*standard. Particularly strong performances were produced in the so-called STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) which are seen as under threat throughout the country. 81% of all grades in Maths, Further Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Physics were A*-B, and several of the successful candidates are now heading off to study these subjects at top universities.
Local pupil Ned Blackburn from Brecon achieved the distinction of gaining 3 A* grades, and is heading for Exeter to read Physics with Astrophysics, while Annabel Jones from Carmarthen also gained a clean sweep of A* grades and is heading for King’s College, London, to read Medicine. Joining Annabel at King’s will be Patrick Robinson, from Abergavenny, whose 3 As will also enable him to read Medicine at one of the most prestigious medical schools in the UK.
Wales hockey international Tom Dawson, from Tywyn, Gwynedd, achieved two A*s and an A which will enable him to read Mathematics at Bristol University. Tom joined Christ College in September 2011 from Ysgol Uwchradd Tywyn to study A levels and was the recipient of the prestigious Penn Award, sponsored by one of the UK’s leading pharmaceutical services companies, Penn Pharma based in Tredegar.
Those of a more creative disposition also achieved very well, with 100% A*/A grades in Photography and 100% A*-B grades in Art. Eloise Heap, from Lampeter, gained A* in Art, and A grades in History and Religious Studies, to secure her place to read Drama at Queen Mary University of London. Celebrations, too, for Megan Gee, from Chippenham, Wiltshire, who gained two A*s and an A grade, seeing her safely into Pembroke College, Oxford, to read History, and for local girl Catrin Bush, from Brecon, whose A*AA ensure that she will be starting at Fitzwilliam College Cambridge this term to read Land Economy.
It was four straight As for Kevin Wong, from Hong Kong, which will see him reading International Relations at the London School of Economics, whilst fellow Hong Kong resident Fuson Tam achieved an A* and three As which will enable him to read Economics at Bath University. Darth Xie, from Shanghai, will be reading Psychology at Edinburgh University following his achievement of A*AA.
Head of Christ College, Emma Taylor, said ‘This year’s candidates have achieved spectacularly well, and all the careful guidance and support offered to them at school has paid off; they have chosen their courses and institutions ambitiously and wisely, playing to their strengths and thereby achieving their potential, whatever their particular gifts are. Of course the pupils themselves deserve huge congratulation for their talent and hard work, but their teachers and tutors, too, should be applauded for preparing them and advising them so excellently.’
Estyn, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales, particularly commented on the care, support and guidance offered to individual pupils at Christ College in their inspection in 2011, identifying it as ‘sector-leading practice’ as they adjudged the school ‘Excellent’ both in its current provision for pupils and in its future prospects.
One interesting feature of this year’s success stories was the importance of the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), which enabled a number of candidates to explore an area of particular interest to them, while also demonstrating the study skills so beloved of universities. From the life of Queen Victoria to the psychology of criminality, and from the organisation of a major charity event to the process of writing and recording music, the projects were not only absorbing and interesting in themselves, but gave candidates huge success, with 75% of candidates achieving A or A* grades. These projects played a large part in the success of candidates’ university applications.
Emma Taylor added ‘The great strength of the A level system is its flexibility, which we at Christ College are able to use to produce programmes of study individually tailored to individual pupils, giving them access to courses and employment opportunities that suit their strengths and interests. In the end, though, it is their own talent and hard work that produces results, and I am so delighted that they have done so much to make themselves and their families proud.’
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