Stars in their eyes: Rotherham results round-up as students celebrate A level success
The traditional Thursday morning results day was thrown out in favour of Tuesday, while GCSEs students will find out their results today, a week earlier than normal.
Some schools welcomed learners back to pick up their grades and catch up with their mates, but many academies and colleges opted to allow them to discover how they’d done by email or online.
Despite having to learn remotely for much of their post-16 studies, thanks to a series of lockdowns, many teenagers in the borough secured places at top universities with a clutch of A* and A grades.
Talented athlete Mel Coxon cleared all the hurdles on her route to university as she secured a clutch of top A level grades.
Mel, who will compete in the hurdles at a major national meeting next week, was among a group of high-flying learners picking up their grades at Wales High School.
She achieved an A* in maths and As in chemistry and biology and will head off next month to study biological sciences at Loughborough University, which is known for its strong sporting pedigree.
Mel (below) said: “If someone had offered me this last year, I would have been surprised but happy — overall it’s an amazing set of results.”
The teenager, of Haigh Moor Way, Swallownest, said combining studying and training had been “very challenging” but had been a welcome distraction from school.
Fellow students celebrating top grades included head prefect Alex Clarke, who has achieved four A levels at A or A* in biology, maths, further mathematics and chemistry to secure his place at Cambridge to study natural sciences.
Tom Shah has secured his place on the PWC Flying Start programme at Reading University, having achieved a combination of A and A* results in mathematics, further mathematics, accounting and economics.
Joshua Newbold bagged a spot at Leeds University to study economics, having achieved exceptional results in economics, mathematics, physics and EPQ, with a combination of A and A* grades.
Joshua was recently recognised for his selfless work in the community by receiving The High Sheriff Award for his involvement in the National Citizen Service programme.
Headteacher Pepe Di’Iasio said: “We are immensely proud of all the work and achievements of our students, especially after such a difficult and disrupted year.
“Our teachers have worked tirelessly to ensure students are all able to progress onto further education and study, and it is with immense pride that we look forward to seeing what they will achieve in the future.”
More than 700 students at Thomas Rotherham College received their results by email, as the college was not open as usual for them to be collected in person.
A TRC spokesperson said: “We are proud of the many achievements of our students. Individually and as a year group, they have overcome almost unimaginable challenges and it is testimony to their commitment and determination that so many of them have been so handsomely rewarded today.”
TRC’s top students include Steven Cheshire, who is heading to Oxford University to read philosophy, politics and economics after notching up A*s in economics, philosophy, further maths and French.
Classmate Goda Zabitaite achieved three A*s and has Sheffield and New Zealand in her sights.
The Rawmarsh teenager said she had been so shocked by her top grades after checking her results online that she had thrown her mobile phone across the room in disbelief.
Luckily, the phone survived and Goda was able to ring her mum at work to tell her the good news.
“I spoke to my mum over the phone and she told all of her workplace,” said Goda.
“They all started cheering — I don’t even know these people!”
The 18-year-old achieved the highest grade possible in maths, biology and chemistry.
She will now go on to study biomedical science at the University of Sheffield, which will include a study year abroad in New Zealand.
“I was definitely shocked — I expected less,” added Goda, who said she had missed the experience of picking up her results in-person with her peers.
“All of this academic year has mainly been online,” she added. “The teachers did a very good job of teaching online with the resources they had been given.
“Of course, it comes down to your own mental strength and being able to turn up to these classes that are just outside of your bed.”
Goda also faced another challenge after falling ill with the flu during her internal assessment period, which had made it hard for her to focus.
Unsure of her future career plans, Goda is “taking one step at a time”.
Celebrations with friends are planned for Saturday and the rest of her A Level results day was spent “chilling”.
Among Wath Academy’s top performers were several Oxbridge-bound students, including Alex Boardman, whose three A*s and one A secured a place to study maths at Oxford, Sam Brashaw, who will read natural sciences at Cambridge after achieving two A*s and one and Katie Booth, who will go to Oxford to study biomedical science at Oxford after achieving three A*s.
Classmate Elli-Jane Little’s three A*s paved her way to studying history in Sheffield.
Principal Liam Ransome said he was “incredibly proud” of the students, adding: “These past two years have been very challenging, however our students have responded tremendously.”
Rotherham’s top performers also included Hill House School student Eve Nicholson, whose four A*s take her to Oxford to read geography, while Joshua Bergomi, of Dinnington, was delighted with three As, while Haiqa Ali came away with two A*s and one A.
Dinnington High’s top students included Alfie Bloor and Evie Moss, with two A*s and one A; Megan Bunfield, with two A*s and one B; Sarah Taylor, who achieved two A*s and a starred distinction; Kayleigh Gibson, Lauren Stewart and Charlie Harper, who all scored a triple starred distinction; and Ellie Holt and Becky Hankin, with one A*, one A and a starred distinction.
Classmate Becky Brooks achieved an A* and two distinctions, Eleanor Kitson, Minnie Wallhead and Alice Peace notched up an A* and two As, Joshua Truswell scored two As and a starred distinction, Natasha Wolf bagged three As and Sophie Bisby collected a A*, an A and a B.
Principal Beka Staples also praised students Thomas Rackham, Carlie Glen, and William Hunter whom she said had made “phenomenal progress” from their GCSEs to achieve high grades.
She also highlighted Eleanor Kitson and Beyonce Vaci “for achieving so highly despite huge personal challenges”.
For the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years, there will be no published pass rates from schools or local councils.