A Level results day: Acland Burghley pupil’s success comes after caring for her nan during lockdown, as pupils celebrate at LaSwap amid grades controversy
PUBLISHED: 13:30 14 August 2020 | UPDATED: 11:18 17 August 2020
Katie Barton-Hackett is off to follow her dream of dancing professionally – after helping her nan recover from coronavirus - while Finley Dyer will be the first in his family to do a degree when he heads to Royal Holloway to study geography.
The duo were just two of the students at Acland Burhgley School to pick up positive A Level results, despite deep unease nationally at the way exam boards awarded grades to pupils who had not sat exams due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Katie, 18, scored two starred distinctions in applied science and a B in photography, and said she was “really pleased”.
She’s off to the prestigious LMA performing arts college to dance, but for her lockdown had been harder than for most – her nan contacted coronavirus.
Katie added: “Me and my mum were looking after her, luckily she’s made a full recovery.”
Finley, who got grades of ABB, told the Ham&High how strange the culmination of his time at school had been. He said: “It was a bit annoying not to be able to do the exams and prove what I would have been able to do, at the end of the day I know how hard I’ve worked and what I deserve.”
He’s keen to get stuck into his geography degree — and to move out.
READ MORE: A Level results day 2020: Live blog as grades come in around Hampstead, Highgate, Camden, Haringey and Barnet
And on being the first in his family to enter higher education, he said: “My family are very happy, dead excited. There’s a lot of pressure but someone’s got to be the first!”
Across William Ellis and Parliament Hill schools – also part of the LaSwap consortium, the impact of grade moderation appeared to have been minimised too.
Some incredible success has seen students off to Oxford, the famous Ravensbourne film school, and Leeds, among other top destinations.
Eleanor Goldthorpe got stunning grades, three A*s in biology, history and her extended project (EPQ), and an A in English lit, and she’s bagged a place at Regent’s Park College in the University of Oxford.
She said: “I’m very, very excited. It was a bit of a weird time, it almost felt like the results didn’t have much to do with us. When I came in I had prepared for the worst, i didn’t think I’d be quite so nervous.”
With A*AB, her friend Beth Scully is heading to Sheffield University, where she will study French and history.
She said: “It’s exciting but I’m very nervous. Moving away will be putting myself in a vulnerable position as I have medical issues — I’m epileptic. I’m very reliant on family.
“But it’s time. I’m looking forward to buying so much stationery. That’s just what I’m like!”
Other pupils, such as Denzel Quartey, 19, are off to film school. Denzel, who is going to Ravensbourne in Greenwich, said: “I’m going to start making short films, maybe realist films, then look to make features.”
At LaSainte Union, teenage whiz-kids included Katie Stacey who’s off to study maths at Bristol with A*A*B – and Jade Kouakoua who got AAAA and is going to Birmingham to study sociology and criminology.
Back at William Ellis, Kentish Town’s Safi Yule, who scored A* and two As, was looking forward to a gap year but looking to study politics after that, adding the pandemic-caused school closure had been “anxiety-inducing”.
Safi added: “It’s been tough, it’s felt like we’ve not been in control. Definitely for some of my friends who have not got what they wanted, it’s difficult to explain how it feels.”
Another star performer was Acland Burghley’s Alfie Sumner-Smith, who walked away with an almost-unbelievable A*A*AAB across five subjects. Lockdown was hard, he said, but added: “I think I’m quite good at keeping myself busy. It’s not been great, but I’ve been reading a lot, and it’s been good.”
Joe Dwyer, who scored also got A*AA, is heading for Leeds to study politics and sociology. Joe, who changed his mind over the summer having applied to do maths, told this newspaper: “It’s better than I would have expected. I’m not going to lie, I’m looking forward to moving out.”
One of Joe’s As was in maths, his teacher Dixie McLean said: “He absolutely deserves it. He’s one of the students, who, when school closed, was telling me he was worried about feeling like a fake, that’s far from true. He put the work in, and should be really proud of his results.”
At Acland Burghley, more than 75 per cent of students’ grades were A* to C, with 47.8pc getting at least a B. Headteacher Nicholas John said this represented a slight increase on last year – despite the vagaries of the moderation system. William Ellis and Parliament Hill were yet to release wider results breakdowns.
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