16 August 2018, The Tablet

Catholic schools celebrate new A level success

by Ruth Gledhill , Edward Kendall

'Anyone who goes through A levels understands there are low points. In that way, faith was always there as a comfort.'

Catholic schools celebrate new A level success

New Hall students celebrate record average results per student of AAB
Photo: Photo: New Hall

Catholic schools in both the state and private sectors recorded another exceptional set of A level results yesterday, with many citing students achieving top grades and securing places at universities such as Oxford and Cambridge to continue their studies.

In a separate development, there was  a significant drop of 22.8 per cent in the number of young people taking Religious Studies at A level in England and Wales.

The Oxbridge tradition continued at New Hall with the Head Girl and Deputy Head Girl among those getting the results they needed to take up their offers and a record average UCAS point score per student equating to AAB. 36 per cent of grades were at A* -A and 91 per cent of grades were at A*-C. The highest number ever of pupils also secured competitive apprenticeship places, including with top London firms.

Principal, Katherine Jeffrey, said: “We are extremely proud of all our students today. Their hard work and persistence throughout their time at New Hall, along with that of their teachers, has paid off. The university places and apprenticeships that New Hall students have gained reflect the holistic education that the school offers.  Successes range from humanities to veterinary medicine, vocational theatre school places to modern languages. We are also proud to share news of the continued tradition of Oxbridge success at New Hall, with New Hallians achieving places to read Biochemistry, History and Mathematics.  This brings the number of New Hallians currently at Oxbridge to 18.”

Constance Day, Head Girl, scholar and boarder, achieved A*A*A, plus an A* in the Extended Project (EPQ) and will read History at Trinity College, Cambridge.  Elizabeth Skells, Deputy Head Girl, scholar and boarder, achieved A*AA, together with an A* in the EPQ and A in an AS Level, and will read Biochemistry at Hertford College, Oxford.  New Hallian scholar, Lucy Greenwood, former student of New Hall Preparatory and Senior Divisions, is also celebrating outstanding results, with A*A*A*A*A*, and will read Mathematics at St Peter’s College, Oxford.

Also celebrating are Rose McQuillan, who received an unconditional offer to read English Literature at the University of Birmingham, and achieved A*AA, together with an A* in the EPQ; Charles Mabbutt, outgoing Deputy Head Boy, who achieved A*AA, plus an A in an EPQ, and will read Politics at the University of Durham; Natalie Chan, who achieved A*A*AA and will read Philosophy at UCL; Jake Powell, who achieved AAA and will read Veterinary Medicine at the Royal Veterinary College; James Beagley, who achieved A*AA and will read Spanish & Arabic at the University of Durham; Matthew McCarthy, who achieved AAA and will read Politics at the University of Leeds; Jake Wakelin, who achieved AAA and will read Criminal Justice and Criminology at the University of Leeds; and Oluwaferanmi Aloko, who achieved AAA and will read Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham.

Among those securing apprenticeship places are Drew Mead, outgoing Head Boy, who is celebrating outstanding results that have secured his place on an apprenticeship course with RSM UK in Business and Finance; Henry Hall, who is taking up an apprenticeship in Quantity Surveying with Mott McDonald; Henry Webster, who will be undertaking an apprenticeship in investment banking with UBS; Thomas Clayton, who has an apprenticeship with AON Insurance; and Elliot Swallow, who will be a management trainee with Weston Homes.


 New Hall students celebrate record average results per student of AABHead Girl, Constance Day, pictured above with Deputy Head Girl, Elizabeth Skells, told The Tablet that her success was down to sheer hard work. The temptation with the new A levels for some is to leave it to the last minute to "cram", because of the removal of course work and AS levels, she said. But Constance, who knew she was aiming for Cambridge, planned a schedule of hard work throughout the sixth form in her three A levels of history, English literature and theology.

Her Catholic faith also helped. "The nature of New Hall inevitably means that faith played a significant role," she said. "Anyone who goes through A levels understands there are low points. In that way, faith was always there as a comfort.' 

Students at Christ the King Sixth Form in south London are also once again celebrating outstanding exam success.

Collegiate Principal Rob McAuliffe said he was delighted: “Our A-Level and BTEC Diploma students have achieved excellent results and we are proud to say that progression to university and employment is extremely strong.”

Christ the King Sixth Form is one of the largest and most successful providers of education for young people aged 16-18 in London and the South East. It has two campuses in south London and one in Sidcup, Kent. It is a Catholic school that admits pupils of any faith or no faith. 

Among the A-level results, Esther Adebiyi achieved AAA in Law, Psychology and Sociology and will be studying Law at Warwick University. Tariq Odunua’s AAA in Psychology, Business and RE has secured his place at the University of East Anglia to study Business Finance and Management.

Patricia Mofus will be studying Political Science and Sociology at the University of Birmingham after gaining A*AB in Sociology, Psychology and English Literature.

Students who studied BTEC programmes also achieved outstanding grades, with many now planning to study at Russell Group universities. 

Natalie Summers achieved triple Distinction in BTEC Business and has been accepted on the International Football and Business course at Wembley Stadium UCFB (University Campus of Football Business).  Callum O’Neill gained triple Distinction in BTEC Sports &Exercise Science and will be off to Liverpool Hope to study Sport and Physical Education. 

Golda Quarcoo will be going to Warwick University to study Biomedical Science after achieving D*D*D* in BTEC Extended Diploma in Applied Science.  Natalie Poku gained D*D*D* in BTEC Extended Diploma in Health & Social Care and will be going to Nottingham University to study Midwifery.

Piriyankan Thavaraga

Piriyankan Thavaraga (pictured above) gained D*D*D* in Engineering and will go on to study Civil Engineering at Brunel University. 

Daniel Okirika

Daniel Okirika (pictured above by Vicki Couchman) achieved D*DD in his Engineering BETC and is now off to Hertfordshire University to read Engineering.

Mr McAuliffe added: “Our young people are ambassadors for their generation and our best wishes go out to each and every one of them as they start the next phase of their education or employment journey. There are some remarkable individual achievements and successes but there is also a sense of whole-college achievement here at Christ the King Sixth Form. As acommunity we go from strength to strength.”

At St David’s Catholic College, Cardiff, the percentage of students achieving A*to B grades at A level rose from 50 per cent last year per cent to 58 per cent. With 83 per cent of students gaining A* to C grade at A level, this puts them almost 7 per cent higher than the national average. In the College’s Honours Programme for gifted and talented learners, an 57 per cent of students achieved A* to A grade at A level. With 85 per cent of students achieving A* to B grade.  

Three students met their offers for Oxbridge. A further five have met offers to read Medicine at Imperial, Cardiff, Exeter and Edinburgh, along with many others who have accepted their places in the fields of STEM, Languages, the Arts, Humanities, Business, and many more. Overall, more than 400 students have been accepted onto their university places and many others are going on to apprenticeship and work placements.

Ashna Anil (left) is off to Cardiff University and Coco Zhang (right) is heading up to Edinburgh, both to study Medicine

Students, Ashna Anil (left) and Coco Zhang (right), who previously went to Corpus Christi, are off to Cardiff University and Edinburgh respectively, both to study Medicine


St David’s College offers more than 50 A Level and BTEC courses and caters to more than 1400 students from across Cardiff and beyond each year.

The principal, Mark Leighfield, said: We are delighted with the results that the students have received today. They are a testament to how hard both learners and staff have worked over the past year and I am immensely proud of everything we have achieved together as a College community. We look forward to hearing about all the exciting and interesting future endeavours of our leavers. In just a few weeks we will be welcoming a new cohort of students to the College. We will continue to strive for the best academic outcomes from all our learners, in order to provide them with the best possible foundation to face the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”


Four in ten of the Oratory School pupils achieved A*-A, showing gains on last year's results.

High achievers included Harry Davies and Sai Muvvala who met and exceeded their offers for Medicine at Sheffield and Economics at UCL respectively, with both achieving 3 A*s; other high achievers included Matthaeus Gemmingen-Hornberg with 3 As (Philosophy at Edinburgh); Jack Radford with A* and 3 As (Computer Science at Surrey); Will Sudding with A* and 2 As (Civil Engineering at Bristol); Ryan Sprules with A* and 2 As (gap year); and Luke Thomson with 3 As (Classics at Durham).

Particularly outstanding once again were the results for Art & Design with 8 A*s and 1 A and Photography with 3 A*s and 2 As. In other areas there were excellent departmental performances in: Classics where there were 100 per cent A*-B grades in Latin and Greek; History and Economics where more than 80 per cent of pupils achieved A*-B grades and Maths in which more than 70 per cent of grades were at A*-B.

The Head Master, Joseph Smith, said: “We are delighted with these results, which show another significant increase in the percentages of A*-A and A*- B grades achieved on the last two years’ results. This is in line with our goal to ensure that every boy achieves his academic potential at The Oratory, whatever that might be. For a school with a broad intake and spread of ability these are results to be proud of, for our pupils, their parents and their teachers.”

Dimitrios Mylonas and Mary Habtes

St Thomas More Catholic School pupils in north London achieved their best ever A level results.

Martin Tissot, Executive Headteacher said: “These results will propel the school into the top 5 per cent of college performers." Initial estimates show a rise in the pass rate with half of the students achieving A*- B Grades (39 per cent last year).

Mark Rowland, Head of School, said that he was particularly pleased with the 99 per cent pass rate at A Level: “This is particularly impressive as A Levels this time around were the new, tougher, revamped linear qualifications.”

Dean Saunders, Head of Sixth Form, paid testimony to the hard work of both teachers and students and said that the school’s University preparation programme was clearly effective. He said that the percentage going on to University at 93 per cent of Year 13 was at an all-time high with 16 per cent of these going to Russell Group Universities.

Top performers this year were: Mary Habtes A - Biology, A - Mathematics, A - Geography Dimitrios Mylonas A - Mathematics (pictured above with Mary Habtes), A - Further Maths, A - Physics Amma Blankson A - Economics, A - Business Studies, B - Maths Adrian Raymond** A* - Maths, B - Further Maths, B - Physics **

Mr Rowland said that Adrian’s achievement was particularly laudable as he came from a school in the borough that was closed in 2013 - John Loughborough - and consequently had a lot of ground to make up when he joined the school as a Year 10 pupil. In one of his core Mathematics papers, Adrian was in the top few percent of the country securing full (100 per cent) marks. 

A Level students at Ratcliffe College gained an overall pass rate of 99 per cent, with 87 per cent of all grades C or better and 40 per cent of grades A or A*.  At the top end, 15 per cent of students achieved grades of A, A, A* or better. All students who applied for university courses gained places with the overwhelming majority securing their first choice, many of which are coveted courses at Russell Group and Oxbridge universities, with 10 per cent attending Durham University this year.

Headmaster Jonathan Reddin said: “Our Year 13 students have been exemplary in every way. Throughout their Ratcliffe careers, they have given freely and generously of their time to the College community both in and out of the classroom.  I am confident that each and every one of them has benefitted immeasurably from his/her time at Ratcliffe, not only by achieving these excellent grades but also through the co-curricular programme.  I know that they have been inspired by their teachers as well as one another, and that their experiences at Ratcliffe have helped to mould them into fine young people who epitomise our inclusive ethos.  I am delighted that their dedicated work ethic has been rewarded with demonstrable academic success.  We are especially pleased that, at the time of writing, the overwhelming majority of applicants have secured places at their first choice university.”

Matthew Ward, who joined Ratcliffe College Nursery, gained 3 A*s to take him to Durham University to read Geography.  He said: “I will be joining my brother, who started there last year to read Law”.

At St George’s Weybridge more than 50 per cent of all papers were awarded an A* or A grade – a figure that increases to 83 per cent awarded A* to B grades.

“This Upper Sixth year were among the best students I’ve ever had the privilege to look after,” said Mandy Smith, who is retiring from her role of Head of Sixth Form.  “They truly deserve their excellent results.”

Francesca May, Deputy Head Academic, said: “Ellie and Demi, Head Girl and Head Boy, easily matched their potential. Ellie was awarded A* in Biology, Chemistry and Maths and Demi achieved A*s in Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Further Maths and the EPQ. Ellie has already started her course in Neurobiology at Harvard. Two other students have also opted to study abroad, both at Dutch Universities. Meanwhile Demi will be heading up to Churchill College, Cambridge to read Engineering. He will be joined by Ethan, reading Computer Science, and Alex and Harry, both of whom will be reading Natural Sciences.”

Headmistress Rachel Owens,said: “In line with the ‘perfectly balanced’ heart of the school, the range of subjects achieving over 50 per cent A*/A grades goes from Art to Computer Science, English Literature to Music and Economics to both French and Spanish – to name but a few. It’s been a very good year and these excellent results are a tribute to both our exceptional students and our dedicated – and equally exceptional – teachers.”

All three students who applied to read medicine have had their places confirmed, while six more are off to top art foundation courses, two will be going on to study music courses and, in a new departure, two will be reading Japanese studies. At the same time, all nine Lower Sixth students taking the A Level a year early achieved an A*.

At Our Lady's High School HackneyJenna Colaco, who achieved the results she needed to secure her place at Oxford, said: "My seven years at Our Lady’s has certainly gone quickly. It seems so bizarre to actually be leaving school and leaving home. I’ve had the privilege of some wonderful teachers who inspired me greatly, especially my English teacher Mrs Detain. I’ve really loved studying Shakespeare and Chaucer as well as classical texts such as the Iliad and Aeneid, it helped reaffirm my choice of studying literature to degree level. Next month I’m really excited to be starting at the University of Oxford to read Classics and English." Here grades were AAA in Classical Civilisation, English Literature and History, and A* in extended project.

Other successes were Diana Sufaj, A*BC in English Literature, Fine Art and History; Mandy Tan, A*A*A in Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics. She will be studying Medicine at UCL; Mary Karayel A*AB in English Literature, Geography and Politics, and A* for her extended project in "How Disney changed the Grimm fairy tales". She will be studying English at York University and wants to go into either publishing or journalism; Angela Takyi, AABB in History, Politics, Sociology and Extended Project. She will be studying Law at Brunel; Marie Tighe, A*A for English Literature and Fine Art and a merit in Health and Social Care.

It was also another successful year for Ampleforth with almost three quarters of our students achieving A*-B grades across the board. 

Alice Shen (A) was amongst one of our highest achieving students with three A*s, one A and a B in Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry, Chinese and Physics, and will be studying Mathematics at University.  Joshua Dutin (T), who will be heading to University College, Oxford to study History and Politics, and Gabriela Grobelny (B), who will be studying Economics and Management Science at Edinburgh University, also excelled with three A*s and an A each and Serene Yik (B) was awarded four straight As. 

Joshua said: “I am planning on becoming a lawyer, and it is very hard to describe the feeling I had when I got the offer, but the least I can say is that I was delighted.  All my teachers dedicated much of their time to ensure that we all had the best preparation and chances to get an offer. I would have not made it without their precious help.”

Other Oxbridge successes include Bridget Stuart (B), who achieved three A*s plus an A and who has secured a place at St John’s College, Oxford, for Experimental Psychology and Chiara Wittmann who has secured her place to read to read Theology at Magdalene College, Cambridge.  Julian Boecker (H), who was awarded two A*s and two As, will be heading to Imperial College to study Medicine.

Julian said: “Ampleforth has been a very valuable experience that I will always look back on with joy. I was immediately welcomed when I joined in Year 10, in spite of struggling to speak a sentence of English. It taught me values that I adopted in my daily life and especially a great sense of integrity. I think that it also broadened my horizons, encouraging me to try out new things such as rugby or debating and sparked in me an interested in politics and philosophy through various societies.”

Organ Scholars, Christopher Too (J) and Benedict Turner-Berry (H), also did well – Christopher received straight As across the board and Benedict received two A*s, an A and a B.  Both will head on to study music at University.

Twins Charlotte (M) and Patrick Morrison (C) were awarded identical grades with both achieving two A*s and an A. 

Charlotte said: “My time at Ampleforth has definitely been the happiest five years of my life. Coming from a state school in the middle of York, it was a massive change for me, but I’ve enjoyed the opportunities that Ampleforth has offered. The school has also helped me to excel academically, and as I was awarded an academic scholarship, I have always been pushed to my full potential. The academic staff are always happy to offer support whether I am struggling or want a challenge.”

Charlotte’s twin brother, Patrick, who will be studying Mathematics at St Andrews University, says: “My time at Ampleforth has been immensely valuable to me because the environment of the school has allowed me to develop in more than just my academics. I think that the kind of situations I have found myself in, have given me the capabilities to know how to behave and act in a variety of circumstances.”

Hannah Pomroy, Director of Studies at Ampleforth, said: “We are so proud of all our students and the results today are testament to their hard work and that of their teachers and tutors.  We encourage all our students to develop a life-long love of learning and we wish them all every success as they embark on the next chapter of their academic lives.”

Pupils from Stonyhurst College celebrated with 36 per cent of all entries achieving an A* or A grade and 61 per cent achieving A*- B.

Among the leavers, six will study Engineering, and five will study Law.  One of two students going on to study medicine this year, Vincent Ng, achieved two A*s and four A grades whilst Rafaella Stefani achieved an outstanding A* in all three of History, Politics and Religious Studies and will go on to University College London to read Philosophy.

Others destined for Russell Group universities include William Fildes with 2 A* and 2 A grades who will study Economics and Management at the University of Durham and Adam Moyle with 2 A* and 2 A grades who heads to the University of Manchester to read Physics.

In Mathematics, 40 per cent of students achieved A* and 80 per cent achieved A* - B; Religious Studies with 89 per cent A* - B and Economics with just under half the students achieving A*-A.

Stonyhurst College also offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) and the third of final year students taking this route had their results last month.  The pass rate this year was 100 per cent exceeding by a significant margin the global average 78 per cent. Louisa Jöhren achieved 42 points out of the possible 45, which places her in the top 2 per cent of students world-wide. The IB Diploma requires all students to study a second language, and 85 per cent of these grades were at A/A* equivalent.

Building on the success of the IB Diploma introduced in 2012, from September, Stonyhurst College will offer the opportunity for students to undertake the new IB Career Related Programme (IBCP).

John Browne, Headmaster at Stonyhurst College, said: “There have been some outstanding results this year at the College and I’d like to congratulate the students and staff who have worked together to achieve so much over the past two years, not to mention the families who provide so much support. The Stonyhurst motto ‘as much as I can’ has certainly been demonstrated by this fabulous group of young people.  I wish all our leaving students every success in the next stage of their journey.”

Pupils at Downside celebrated their A level results with another good year and some outstanding performances. 

Nine pupils achieved straight A*/As which represents 12 per cent of the cohort with great strength in the STEM subjects. Three pupils will go on to study medicine and one to read Earth Sciences at Oxford. One pupil was awarded a place to read Classics at Cambridge.

Andrew Hobbs, Head Master designate, said “We are very proud of our pupils and the results they have gained, which are testament to their hard work.  I wish them well as they move on and look forward to hearing news of their lives beyond Downside.”


Note: The Tablet wishes to celebrate the success of hard-working students at this time, and is particularly keen to include more results from Catholic state schools in this round up, and the one we will do this week for GCSE's. Email results to rgledhill@thetablet.co.uk and we will do our best to include. 


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