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Gloucestershire Business News

Students celebrate A-level results, but top grades are down

Across Gloucestershire and the UK, students are receiving their A-level results today (August 17).

But this year's results are down on the previous few years, closer to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

The proportion of A-levels marked at A* and A was 26.5% in England, down from 35.9% in 2022, as reported by the BBC. In 2019 - the last year of exams before Covid - it was 25.4%.

The fall in top grades is part of a plan to bring grades back down in line with pre-pandemic levels, after big rises in 2020 and 2021 when exams were cancelled.

But what do the grades mean for university admissions? Data from Cheltenham-based UCAS shows:

• 79% have secured their first choice for university (81% last year, 74% in 2019)

• 12% have been placed at their insurance choice (11% last year, 14% in 2019)

• The remaining 9% are now in clearing and have a choice of nearly 29,000 courses and 8,000 apprenticeships

Overall, 414,940 applicants have secured a place at university or college. Of those, 230,600 are 18-year-olds from the UK.

Despite the change, students at The King's School in Gloucester have exceeded the school's 2019 results.

Of this year's results, over 25% were at A*-A and over 50% of all grades were A*-B. There was a 100% pass rate.

David Morton, headmaster, said: "Our students have worked tirelessly in an ever-shifting educational landscape to achieve results of which they can be incredibly proud. And whilst it is important to recognise our students' academic success, we also need to reflect on how these students have developed their broader life skills, not least resilience and independence, as a result of lockdown learning.

"They should be very proud of all that they have achieved: they leave school as kind, talented, well-rounded citizens, who have bright futures ahead of them."

Next steps for King's students include reading politics and international relations at Exeter, geography at Loughborough and psychology and education at Warwick universities.

One pupil has gained a highly competitive IBM internship in New York and one student has just finished filming a lead role in a TV series in Belgium. Students are also joining the Navy and the police and taking apprenticeships.

Students at Cleeve School in Cheltenham have also made significant improvements. Headline figures show a rise in both A*-A (up by 5%) and A*-B (also up by 5%).

Ben Slatter, head of school, said: "It feels incredibly rewarding for us as staff to celebrate today with our year 13 students and a fantastic set of results. I could not be prouder of our students and staff in the way in which they have met the challenge of moving into sixth form following a disrupted KS4. The fantastic results achieved are testament to the character of the students and staff I am lucky to lead at Cleeve."

Students at St Edward's School in Cheltenham achieved A*-A - 16%, A*-B - 47% and A*- C - 71%.

Matthew Burke, headmaster of St Edward's, said: "I am so proud of each and every one of the students and the success they have achieved. The results that they have secured today are the result of many years hard work, dedication and personal drive to be the best them that they can be.

"Huge thanks must also be extended to our entire team here at St Edward's, who every day go above and beyond, enabling our students to attain above their baseline grades and secure places at their first-choice destination."

A large number of year 13 students at SGS Berkeley Green UTC applied to study STEM subjects at university and were successful in securing their first-choice places. Others are continuing into apprenticeships and employment, with many achieving degree level apprenticeships at some of the leading companies in the South West and across the world.

Gareth Lister, headteacher, said: "We are incredibly proud of our year 13 students. Our students are leaving us not only with brilliant qualifications, but also with the personal and professional skills they need to flourish in their future careers.

"If any young person would like to experience our technical curriculum in year 10 or year 12, then it is not too late to apply to us for entry this September. Our results show they will be in expert hands." said: "Congratulations to all students picking up their results today. But the rise and fall in grades is confusing for businesses. How do they compare candidates who passed their exams in different years? How do employers know whether an A* is really an A* or whether a student was given a top grade because exams were cancelled?"

Thoughts are always welcome. Email

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