Newham A-levels: Top universities want more than good grades, say teachers

Puplis form St Angela's & St Bonaventure's Sixth Form with their A-level results.

Puplis form St Angela's & St Bonaventure's Sixth Form with their A-level results. - Credit: Archant

Teachers at Newham’s top performing sixth form say their results have got even better this year - but students have to work harder than ever to win a place at a top university.

St Angela’s and St Bonaventure’s Sixth Form in St George’s Road, Forest Gate, saw 99.1 per cent of its students recieve an A* to E grade at ‘A’ Level this year.

The number of students picking up top A* to C grades increased by seven per cent to 78 per cent.

Girls just out-performed boys overall with 98.5 per cent achieving A* to E grades while two per cent more boys achieved higher A* to B grades.

But grades are not all they are cracked up to be these days with many students having to do far more to win a place at a top university.

Sarah Siaw, head of sixth form, said: “University application now is about the academic results but it’s also abnout all of those wider experiences.

“And, actually, to have the increase in the results we’ve had with the amount of extra examinations that are required with medicine, the work experience, the pathways, and the wider reading that the students have to do, we are so, so proud of the end results.

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“Actually without them, the application isn’t whole enough any more. It is such a credit to them and their families. It is never-ending for them from the beginning of Year 12 to this point.”

But good old-fashioned studying is still the key to success should not go unrecognised, says Paul Halliwell, headteacher of St Bonaventure’s.

He added: “One thing you can’t ignore is how hard the students have worked for it. That’s why they were waiting outside the school gates at 6.15am this morning. It’s because they have worked hard for it, for many, many years.”

Students at the comprehensive this year all live within a 1.6 mile radius of the school and Mark Johnson, headteacher of St Angela’s, believes the aspirations of local youngsters have never been higher.

He said: “A fifth of the results were at A* and A. So it’s important for us as a school and for them as students that they are achieving the very highest grades. Even though they all come from Newham, they’re going off to the best univeristies.

“We’re very proud of them and what they’ve achieved.”