Bright futures beckon for Leeds Sixth Form College’s A level students
Leeds Sixth Form College students are celebrating achieving exceptional A level results, following a challenging past two years.
Despite nationwide fears about lower grades, there was an increase in the number of students achieving higher grades at the sixth form compared to 2019, the last time externally assessed examinations were held.
Many students excelled, including a number who achieved a clutch of A*-A grades.
Excelling at STEM
Some, like Poppy Middleton, shone in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects. This is a skills-shortage area that the sixth form, which has just opened a new state-of-the-art science laboratory, is committed to increasing uptake in.
Poppy achieved A grades in chemistry, maths and physics along with a B in further maths, and will now go on to study aerospace engineering at the University of Leeds.
She said: “Studying here was pretty good! Obviously it was impacted by the pandemic, but that wasn’t the sixth form’s fault.
“I had good support from teachers and if I needed any help I knew I could always ask. All of the teachers care about you, and not just about your grades.”
Heading to university after mastering English
For others, there were challenges to overcome before even beginning their educational journey with Leeds Sixth Form College.
When Sabrina Nekkab arrived in the UK from Italy, aged 16, she knew she needed to work on her English before anything else.
She has now, a few years later, achieved the grades she needed – A*s in law and psychology, and a B in business – to progress to the University of Sheffield, where she’ll study economics.
She said: “I’m really happy and proud of my results. My English wasn’t perfect when I moved here so I took a year to work on it, then did five GCSEs before moving on to A levels.
“I got a lot of support from my teachers and have made a lot of friends for life, it’s been amazing!
“Every day when I came in I looked forward to the lessons and seeing my classmates, and I’d like to thank all of my A level teachers.”
Grasping a second chance following a family crisis
Jamal Mottley, meanwhile, credits the sixth form’s Step-up Pathway for helping him get his life back on track after a family crisis led to him initially failing his GCSEs. The programme helps students aged 16 to 18 work towards gaining five GCSEs.
Jamal did well through Step-up at Leeds sixth form college and went on to progress internally onto A levels in sociology, media and English language. His grades – an A in sociology and Bs in the other two subjects – mean he can now look forward to studying creative and professional writing at the University of Bangor.
He said: “Around the time I was doing my GCSEs my mum went into hospital, she had some mental health stuff going on, and I was living with my grandfather. It was a different environment – mum was gone, and I had to look after my sister too.
“So I failed my GCSEs when I first did them. I didn’t know you could re-sit them and thought it was a one-time thing. But my mum got out of hospital and helped me look for somewhere to re-sit my GCSEs, and found Leeds Sixth Form College.
“I don’t know where I’d be without Step-up, and now I’ve got ABB for my courses at A level, which is really exciting!
“It’s been great here. The teachers are really considerate, understanding and kind. They are great people that you can go and talk to.”
Exceptional results in the face of adversity
Leeds Sixth Form College Principal, Rachael Booth, said: “We’re delighted that many of our students have achieved some exceptional results, despite the challenges of the last two years. These grades reflect the hard work and commitment they have put into their studies.
“All our students have shown tremendous resilience and flexibility throughout their time , while they have been learning new skills and pushing themselves.
“It’s a testament to our teachers who have worked tirelessly to ensure students have been supported throughout the year. We’d like to thank them for their incredible efforts.
“Many of our students will now be progressing to higher level study, and we look forward to seeing what they will achieve in the future.
“Education changes lives, it gives people opportunities. We were happy to be here on results day to support and guide our students.
“This was a particularly special A level results day at Leeds Sixth Form College, following the disruptions that the pandemic caused to these students’ lives. Many of our students experience challenges, and I am particularly pleased to celebrate an increase in the number of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who gained higher education places this year.”