‘Step change’ in improvement of A-level grades at Northampton College

College students Lauren Plumer and Jess Bliss

College students Lauren Plumer and Jess Bliss

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A-level grades at Northampton College have reached a seven-year high with students achieving a 98 per cent pass rate.

More than 200 students took around 600 exams and the percentage of high grades (A*-C) was 12 per cent above the national average.

The pass rate for first year AS exams showed an even bigger improvement, moving up by 12 percentage points to 87 per cent. The number of high grades achieved was nine per cent higher than the national average benchmark.

Pat Brennan-Barrett, Principal said: “We are delighted to have seen such a step change in improvement with our A Level grades this year. We have achieved this by setting even higher expectations of our students and making sure that they always attended their classes regularly and punctually. We also increased the amount of support that was available for students to keep them on track.

“Our students have achieved some extremely impressive results and it is excellent to see their hard work paying off. Their success this year will provide a solid foundation for their continuing studies and future career progression.

“Once again our A Level students and those on our equivalent vocational and Apprenticeship courses deserve to be proud of their achievements. We are also proud of our staff who have worked so hard to support their students throughout the year.”

Among the standout students was David Field, aged 23, who returned to education after having to leave at the age of 16 to look after his mother and brother.

Despite being forced to miss some time at the start of his course due to health problems, David remained determined to succeed and gained the grades in business studies, biology and chemistry to secure a place at the University of Brighton to study pharmaceutical and chemical sciences.

David said: “I am just relieved that I have made it; things have been pretty tough and I was older than the other students on my course. But all the hard work was worth it and I am pleased to be going off to university.”

Christopher Griffin is heading to the University of Nottingham to study English having gained an A grade in English language and Bs in history and English literature. The 18-year- old, who is hoping to go on to eventually complete a masters degree, said: “I’m absolutely delighted. I’m hoping to eventually go on to work in international relations and this is a fantastic starting point.”

He will be joined at the University of Nottingham by Emmanuela Boakye, who secured an A* grade in accountancy.

The 20-year- old, who served as a student governor at Booth Lane, hopes to become a fully-qualified chartered accountant and said: “I’ve had an amazing time at Northampton College and am very grateful to everyone who has helped me along the way, particularly the teachers who have been excellent.”

Jessica Bliss will study a sports marketing degree at Coventry University having passed A Levels in media studies and communication and culture. The 18-year- old said: “I’ve loved my time at Northampton College and now I’m looking forward to combining my passion with my studies.”

Lauren Plumer, aged 18, is heading to the University of Southampton to study criminology, following in the footsteps of her father, who is a prison officer. She said: “I managed to get three Bs which is great, it means I can go to university and carry on with my studies. I’m over the moon.”

Northampton College re-launched its A Level Academy last September with the aim of raising standards and improving outcomes for students.

The A Level offer has been streamlined to include ‘facilitating subjects’ outlined by the Russell Group as core qualifications which are approved by these universities.

Applications for A Level programmes for this September are up on last year and the college is happy to receive further applications for courses starting on September 12.