Schools and colleges across the Derbyshire Dales were scenes of joy, relief, dreams fulfilled, and tough questions about the future as students received their A-Level results today.
Highfields School in Matlock continued its recent streak of great success, 31 per cent of all grades achieved were A* or A.
Students’ performance was consistently high across all subjects with 57 per cent of students achieving A*–B grades, and well over 80 per cent achieving A*–C grades.
Director of Sixth Form, Martin Flett said: “The fantastic work ethic of the year 13 students, inspired by their skilful and dedicated teachers and support staff, has led to many excellent results.
He added: “We are especially pleased that every one of the students who joined Highfields for Sixth Form from other schools is now heading for their first choice university.”
“These students achieved 56 per cent A* or A grades, which was really stunning, and their contribution to the atmosphere of our Sixth Form was strongly felt over the two years.”
Many students can now begin preparing to depart for prestigious university courses across the country, from maths and the sciences to law, English and philosophy.
Mark Robins is heading to Oxford to study history and Spanish having achieved three A* grades and an A* in his Extended Project, while Isabel Bunting is going to Cambridge to study archaeology.
Charlotte Hand and Ella Ingram have gained places at fiercely competitive music conservatoires, a confirmation of their truly elite talents which have enriched school life during their time there.
Liz Cruise, the assistant head of Sixth Form, said “This year group has been hugely busy outside of their studies.
“Whether they have been mentoring younger pupils in school, working with charities for the homeless, or volunteering at Golding Grange, they have been so friendly, generous and pro-active, and it has made them a pleasure to deal with.”
She added: We know these are qualities which will make a great impact wherever they work in the future.”
Over in Wirksworth, senior leaders at Anthony Gell School are predicting that their results will once again place them among the top 25 per cent of schools in England, and in the top 10 per cent for certain qualifications.
The average points per entry at A level was the school’s best in recent years and there were notable successes for students from a wide range of abilities and backgrounds.
Students secured 26 per cent A*–A grades, 71 per cent A*–C and an overall pass rate of 99 per cent. The average grade was a B.
Headteacher Malcolm Kelly said: “It was wonderful to see so many ecstatic students this morning as they opened their results envelopes.
“For those in year 13, today marked the end of their time at a school in which they have developed friendships, achieved personal goals and developed their learning.”
He added: “This group of students have been excellent ambassadors throughout their time at AGS and contributed a great deal to the school, while being outstanding role models for younger years.
“In addition to their examination successes, these youngsters have shown themselves to be outstanding performers in a range of other areas which include sport and the performing arts.
“I wish them all the very best of luck for what lies ahead and look forward to hearing about their future successes. We are very proud of them.”
A record number of Anthony Gell students have secured places at their preferred choice of university, including Russell Group institutions such as York, Sheffield, Leeds, Durham and Glasgow.
Other students have been successful in gaining employment with training, as the apprenticeship route proved to be a popular option for some this year.
In Bakewell, a majority of Lady Manners School Sixth Form students achieved or exceeded expectations with their results.
Of the 121 year 13 students who completed their A-Levels this year, 16 achieved the highest grades of A or A* in every one of their chosen subjects.
Headteacher Gary Peat said: “Congratulations to all of our A Level students who have worked extremely hard to achieve these results.
“They should be very proud of themselves and can now look forward to the exciting opportunities that the future holds. We wish them all the very best of luck.”
For many, it will be the final step in a journey they have shared with each other going back to early childhood.
For Matlock resident Uther Naysmith, 18, it was a slightly different story, having spent just two years at the Derby College Group’s Joseph Wright Centre after previously being homeschooled by his actor parents Fionn and Malcolm.
Uther clinched a coveted place at the University of Oxford to study law having achieved an A* in politics and As in history and French, setting him on course for a career as a constitutional law and human rights barrister.
Uther said: “Having been homeschooled, I wanted to come here where I would have the independence which I have been used to growing up.
“My teachers encouraged me to apply for Oxford which I had not thought of doing before.”