An ecstatic Isobella Gillies can now dream higher and take a shot at Cambridge instead of Bristol. But Bodhraj Jaman is on tenterhooks: will his B in physics still allow him a shot at civil engineering at Bristol?
As students of Hackney’s Mossbourne Community Academy started getting their A level results this morning, marking the end of their school years and the first proper steps towards a career, happy shocks seemed the rule.
Although there has been a fall in the proportion of A-level grades awarded an A or A* for the first time in over two decades, the results are promising for this high performing school in East London.
Gillies was awe struck as she opened her brown envelope. “I really can’t believe this…,” she said as her eyes filled with tears of joy. Taking her A-level a year before most, 17 year-old Gillies has got four A* – in English Literature, History, Religious Studies and Fine Arts.
“I think I will now defer my placement at Bristol University and reapply to Cambridge. I want to study English and probably be a writer,” Gillies said. But right now she wants to do a one-year Foundation course to prepare herself for university.
It is the first year for Peter Hughes the head teacher of the school, who took up his responsibilities only this January. His predecessor, Sir Michael Wilshaw was the founding principal of Mossbourne and is currently Chief Inspector of schools in England and head of Ofsted since January 2012.
Head teacher Hughes is proud that the school is continuing to do well and says both the teachers and students are not surprised but definitely overjoyed by this year’s results. “In our school, this year’s results are very similar to last year’s. 81% grades are A* to C, 56% of grades are A* to B and 10% A*. Sixteen of our students got at least one A* and there is one student who got four A*. So it is another year of fantastic results for Mossbourne,” Hughes said.
Alya Bulgan, 17, is as surprised as Isobella with her results. “I am really surprised, shocked…. I don’t know what to say,” she choked with joy as she kept looking at the sheet almost every few seconds. Bulgan achieved A* in Maths and Sociology and an A in Economics.
She will get into the University she has been aiming for. “I will be studying Maths at Bath University,” she said. But she has not decided what she wants to do after that.
Some students haven’t quite got what they were expecting, among them Bodhraj Jaman, 18. With A* in Maths, A in Spanish and English and a B in Physics, he may not get his choice, civil engineering.
“I was aiming to do civil engineering at Bristol University. Now I will have to wait for their response with B in Physics,” said a rather disheartened Jaman. His second choice is Southampton University.
Santina Graham, 18, arriving later with her mother. Biting her nails as she walked into the hall, she collected her results – nervous as she opened the envelope. She was speechless for the first few seconds – “I can’t believe I got two As – in English and Design. Wow”.
Though she got a D in Chemistry, that is not her strong area. She was in fact expecting a U.
Santina will look out for an apprenticeship and have a year’s break before going into university. “Because the fees have gone up. And I am not sure whether I can afford to. I want to go to Portsmouth University to do English and Pyschology,” Santina said.
The government’s decision of increase tuition fees for university students has largely dampened the enthusiasm of students.
But Head Teacher Hughes is confident about his students. “It is a matter of choosing the right course for the right student when it comes to fees, and ensuring whatever course they decide to do is worthwhile,” Hughes said.
“It is the money they invest in their own career and will pay back dividends in the future. That is the message. But of course funds are available to tap into for students from poorer backgrounds,” said Hughes.
This summer’s results across the county show 26.6% of A-level entries achieved the top two grades – down from 27% last year.
Ucas is running a hotline for would-be students who have questions about their university application, clearing or adjustment. The number is 0871 468 0468.