Vandyke Upper School in Leighton Buzzard says there have been outstanding achievements by its students in their A-levels and other qualifications this summer, following a disrupted and challenging period of time due to Covid.
This year, following the cancellation of exams, grades were awarded through a process of school assessed grades, against a national standard and approved and awarded by the exam boards. The government is not publishing performance data for any schools this year due to the varying impact of the pandemic.
Vandyke headteacher Tim Carroll said: “It has been a time when, more than ever, we have all needed to work together. This year results across the country are based on a completely different system of assessment. Assessment was robust and rigorous but this year’s results are not comparable with previous years. The important thing is that students’ hard work is rewarded and they are able to progress.
“Students have shown great resilience and determination, they have worked hard, had excellent teaching and support from their teachers and so they deserve the excellent grades they have received today. Over 80% of Vandyke Sixth Form students will be taking up university places with others accepting some great offers on higher level apprenticeships and job opportunities.”
Will Harris achieved four A* grades in maths and the sciences and will now take up a place at Magdalen College, Oxford to study Biology. “I am definitely pleased with those grades, “ he said. “The support from my teachers has been amazing especially in the pandemic. I just want to thank them.”
Cara Randall is also going to Oxford to study Biochemistry at St Hugh’s having achieved straight A* grades. “I am delighted with my results even if I only just managed to get them by email this morning as I am away camping and the service was weak! I have enjoyed my time in the Sixth Form but it feels weird that it’s over so quickly.”
Ryan Kelly got A* and a grades and is taking up a prestigious law apprenticeship in London. “It feels like I have waited a long time to get the results and yesterday felt like the longest day ever. My teachers have got me there. In my 5 years at Vandyke they have always pushed me on and it has paid off.”
Alyssia Orbell got two A* and two A grades and will be studying Engineering at university in Durham. “Engineering is a mix of the logical, hard facts and creativity and feels like the perfect subject for me. I couldn’t be happier," she said.
Lois Aggett admitted her grades were not where she had wanted them to be but pulled it round by sheer hard work and a determination to achieve her aim of studying in Sheffield. She ended with A* and two A grades and will take up her place in Sheffield to study Law.
Rebecca Devereux got A in maths, A in media studies and A* in business studies. “My teachers were great and gave me so much help and I had lots of support from my fellow students also. Thanks to everyone.”
Sophie Flynn got two B grades and a C grade in psychology, law and media studies and will be taking up one of the new apprenticeships leading to recruitment as a police officer. “I am delighted with my grades because I was a bit worried but it all feels good now. My teachers were incredible, especially when we were working from home that I found challenging. I want to join the police so thank you to everyone at Vandyke for helping me get there.”
“We didn’t have exams as such but the assessments were stressful,“ Molly Tooman said. “I am delighted with my A* and A grades and am going to Bristol to study film and television. My ambition is to work as a producer for TV or cinematography – I want to see my name on the credit reel! My teachers have been the best I could have asked for. It has been an amazing time and I am sad to be leaving.”
Leah Quinn will be going to university in Cardiff. “Having got my grades I will be studying media which I am really looking forward to. French was the toughest course I took but I was determined to study a foreign language and I am pleased I did. It is time to leave but I will be sad. Vandyke is an incredible school and I have had a great time here. My role in Beauty and the Beast lives long! Thanks to everyone.”
Ollie Ashwell said: “I got three A* grades and can now go on to study psychology at university in Leeds. My A-level teachers inspired me and psychology is going to be so interesting to study further. I chose the course at Leeds because it is a diverse course and includes an unusual module on animal psychology. I got very involved in student voice at school and was Youth Parliament rep for a time. I have had lots of opportunities at Vandyke and would like to thank everyone at school.”
Kaya Karatas achieved straight A* grades in History, English Literature and Geography is looking forward to studying Anthropology at UCL. Eleanor Moyle also achieved 3 A* grades and has accepted an offer to study Biology at the University of Bath. Eleanor said: "I have loved being in the Sixth Form at Vandyke but I can’t wait to start my course as it will allow me to pursue my interest in genetics and personalised medicine."
Both Darcey Miller and Tia Halliwell will begin undergraduate courses at Cardiff University this Autumn. Darcey, who achieved 2 A* and an A grade will read Modern Languages and Translation, and Tia, who achieved 2 A grades and a Distinction* in Commercial Music intends to study Music.
Molly Vaughan-Springate, who achieved an A and 2 Distinction* grades said: "I had applied to study nursing at Manchester University but have been offered a degree apprenticeship with the NHS and have decided to take this instead. I am due to start at the Luton & Dunstable Hospital in a couple of weeks time and I can’t wait!"
Director of Sixth Form, Kerry Quinn, said: "This group of young people are remarkable, and have been a joy to work with. They have weathered a particularly challenging period to achieve a phenomenal set of results which are well deserved. We are extremely proud of all of them and I know that they have all the skills, mind-set and personal qualities to fulfil their potential. They must now grasp every opportunity open to them. I wish them every success in the future."
Mr Carroll added: “Students make strong progress in their time in the Vandyke Sixth Form. Today is all about individual students and after the emotional rollercoaster of the past year we are delighted that they are able finally to move on. Students have worked so hard over two years and have been a pleasure to teach. Sixth Form courses are demanding and students deserve every credit for their achievements. This is an exciting time for them and they deserve our congratulations and best wishes.”