Published: 13:41, 10 August 2021
| Updated: 09:58, 11 August 2021
No one denies it has been a tough year for pupils and staff but sixth form students at Fulston Manor comprehensive school in Brenchley Road, Sittingbourne, have every reason to celebrate.
More than 60 pupils have been offered university places across the country.
Out of 139 teenagers sitting exams across 32 subjects, 127 have walked away with A* to C grades.
Head of School Susie Burden said: “It is good to see so many students achieving the grades they needed to progress to the next stage of their lives.
"We are immensely proud of the success of our young people and for all they have done to get through an incredibly turbulent year. We wish them all well for the future.”
Hannah Davies, 18, who is off to study film production at the University for the Creative Arts after getting four As and a C, said: "I am so pleased with my results. The past year has been really hard but it was made much easier by my teachers and the support they gave us.
"Working from home had its challenges but the hard work has paid off and I’m now off to Uni.”
James Harvey, who is now on his way to Oxford to study physics thanks to getting two A*s and an A, said the past year had been "a blur" and he couldn’t remember much of it!
Staff agreed the past 18 months had been "hugely unsettling and complicated" but were pleased with the results.
School spokeswoman Sarah Palmer said: "There is no doubt that after last year’s hugely complicated awarding process, the process this year has hopefully presented a much fairer result. Many students achieved excellent grades."
Fulston Manor results include: Callum Apps going to University of Reading to read computer science (Dist*, Dist, Dist); Claudia Bennett, Royal Holloway reading law with politics (A, B, C); Mark Chittenden, University of Portsmouth reading computer science (Dist*, A, C); Hannah Davies, University for the Creative Arts to study film production (A, A, A, C).
Megan England, University of Exeter, environmental science (Dist*, A*, B); James English, Canterbury Christ Church University, primary education (Dist*, Dist, A); Caitlin Fuller, University of Kent, English literature (A, B, B); Kirsty Genfi, Imperial College London, medicine (A*, A*, A*, A*).
James Harvey, University of Oxford, physics (A*, A*, A ); Charlotte Hilden, University of Kent, law (A*, A, Dist, B); William Kilby, University of Exeter, computer science (A, Dist*, Dist*); Tobias McGinn, University of Liverpool, history and politics (A*, A*, A) and Bethany Ward, University of Creative Arts, fashion design (A*, A, Dist*).
This year, following the cancellation of exams, results were awarded using teacher assessed grades against a national standard and approved and awarded by the exam boards.
The Government is not publishing performance data for any schools or colleges because of the varying impact of the pandemic.
But Sittingbourne's Borden Grammar School for Boys in the Avenue of Remembrance reported some "outstanding achievements". Fifteen achieved three or more A*/A grades with Toby Heather, Haris Khan, James Northwood and Matthew Reeves the top achievers all with four A*s.
They will be going to study computer science at Nottingham University, medicine at Queen Mary University of London, sport and exercise science at Loughborough University and physics at Warwick University.
Ethan Tracy and Katie Bostock both achieved A*AAA and are now going to study physics, astrophysics and cosmology at Lancaster University and criminology at Salford University respectively.
As well as university entry, students also secured degree apprenticeships including Gregory Smith who will be taking up a position at Pfizer.
Ashley Tomlin, the school’s head teacher, said: “We are immensely proud of all the work and achievements of our students, especially after such a difficult and disrupted year.
"Our teachers have worked tirelessly to ensure students achieve the grades they deserve and are all able to progress onto their next steps, whether that be further education or apprenticeship. We look forward to seeing what they will achieve in the future and wish them well in their endeavours."
The coronavirus pandemic appears to have inspired pupils at Highsted Grammar School for Girls in Highsted Road to consider careers in health.
Kiruthigaa Arunan, Imani Irinoye, Toluwalashe Oseni, Neegar Sharabun and Preet Sharma are all planning to study medicine in the autumn and Ella Gray will pursue pharmacy.
Continuing the school’s relationship with Oxford University, Lily Bamber will read French and linguistics.
This year, following the cancellation of exams, teachers assessed grades against a national standard. The recommendations were approved and awarded by the exam boards. The government is not publishing performance data for any schools or colleges because of the effects of the pandemic.
Assistant head teacher Frances Tiernan-Powell said: “We are immensely proud of all the work and achievements of our students, especially after such a difficult and disrupted year. Our teachers have worked tirelessly to ensure students are all able to progress onto further education and study. We look forward to seeing what they will achieve in the future.”
Westlands School in Westlands Avenue, Sittingbourne, also reported "outstanding achievements" by its students in their A-level and other qualifications.
Seventy-two per cent of pupils achieved A* to C grades and 89% were awarded a Distinction* or merit in their vocational subjects.
The school says there has been an increase in the number of pupils going on to higher education and is "thrilled" all those students secured a place at their first-choice university.
Head teacher Christina Honess said: "We are immensely proud of the hard work and resilience our students have shown this year. Throughout all the challenges and disruptions to their learning, they have impressed their teachers with their determination and their positivity."
She added: "I would like to personally thank our staff for their continued commitment to helping all students achieve their full potential, and our parents and carers for their support throughout this time. Each one of our students should be very proud of their achievements and their success.”
Sixth formers at The Sittingbourne School in Swanstree Avenue were also celebrating after receiving their A-level and BTEC results. Forty pupils achieved at least one A/A* or Distinction/Distinction*.
Head teacher Nick Smith said: "We are incredibly proud of all of our hard-working students. Despite all the issues placed in their way by Covid, they have shown fantastic resilience and determination to succeed.
"These great results mean that they are able to proceed to the next steps of their lives, joining some top universities, starting apprenticeships or taking up exciting employment opportunities. Whatever they are doing, we know they are going to be very successful."
He added: "I would also like to thank all the teachers, support staff and parents for their hard work in supporting these students on their successful journeys.”
Top performing A-level student was Elizabeth Davis who achieved an A grade, two Bs and a C to win a place at the University of Birmingham to study English language. Elizabeth said: "I'm so pleased with my results and can't wait to start university now."
Abigail Dingle got one A, two Bs and a C to win a place at Surrey University to study law. Abigail said: "I am delighted with my results."
Callum Humphrey achieved a double Distinction and C grade and is taking up a place at the University of Kent to study sport therapy and rehabilitation. He said: "I am very happy with my results and want to thank all the teaching staff who I've had over the years at TSS."
Taya Johnson achieved a Distinction*, Distinction and A grade and is taking up a place at Canterbury Christ Church University to study primary education. Taya, who opened her results while on holiday in Cornwall, said: "I want to thank everyone at Sittingbourne School for all their support. I'm absolutely delighted with my results. I’m just so happy."
Teenagers expecting GCSE results will get them in two days time on Thursday.
Pupils should check with their school or college whether they are still required to pick up their results in person or whether they will be sent out by email or post instead.
As there were no exams this year because of coronavirus lockdown results are based on teacher assessments.
They have taken into account mock exams, coursework and in-class assessments using questions set by exam boards.
Headteachers had to submit a personal declaration that they believed the grades to be accurate.
Schools and colleges were asked to provide samples of student work to exam boards as well as evidence used to determine the grades for the students selected as part of quality assurance checks.
Random and targeted sample checks were also carried out after grades were submitted.
In some cases, where the evidence did not support the grades submitted, schools and colleges have been asked to review their grades.
Last summer thousands of A-level students had their results downgraded from school estimates by a controversial algorithm before the education watchdog Ofqual announced a U-turn. This year, no algorithm has been used.
Pupils who want to appeal against their grade must first ask their school or college reviews whether an administrative or procedural error was made.
If the school rules no error was made students can appeal to the exam boards. The deadline to appeal is Friday, September 17.
Teenagers unhappy with their A-level or GCSE grades can take AS and A-level exams in October and GCSE exams in November and December.
Ministers hope exams will go ahead as normal next summer after two years of being cancelled.