Pupils celebrate rise in top A-level grades despite exam changes

Diss High School pupils Rebecca Emsden, Martin Nunn, William Ashwood, Georgina Dunkinson and Max Cou

Diss High School pupils Rebecca Emsden, Martin Nunn, William Ashwood, Georgina Dunkinson and Max Court. Picture: Simon Parkin - Credit: Simon Parkin

Schools in South Norfolk all saw a rise in grades A* to C despite changes to A-levels away from coursework to final exams that many had predicted would make them harder.

The changes, brought in by the then education secretary Michael Gove, has seen students sit all A-level exams at the end of two years of study, instead of taking modular exams throughout the course, as they had done in previous years.

At Diss High School 83pc of pupils achieved grades A* to C, a rise from 79pc last year.

Dr Jan Hunt, headteacher, said: 'A-levels were more rigorous this year and students and staff are to be congratulated on a fabulous set of results. Nearly all of our students have already had their university places confirmed.'

Notable successes were William Ashwood who gained three A* grades and a grade A and is going to read natural sciences at York University. He also gained an A* for his extended project. 'It was an extra dissertation that you got to do on the subject of your choice. I chose to do it on de-extinction,' he explained.

In case you're wondering de-extinction is the process of resurrecting species that have died out.

Georgina Dunkinson gained an A* and three grade As and an A in her extended project and is planning to study medicine at Newnham College, Cambridge.

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She said: 'It has been an anxious summer. It seems such a long time since university applications and offers; then we had to do the actual exams. Now it's been worth it.'

Rebecca Emsden achieved the equivalent of three A* grades and will study maths at Loughborough; Martin Nunn gained 2A*s and two As to study economics at Leeds; while Max Court gained three grade As and a grade C and will read physics at Bath.

Hartismere School and Sixth Form also saw its A* to C grades rise from 81pc last year to 86pc.

Headmaster James McAtear, said: 'These results are a testimony to the hard work of all our staff, governors and students and to the support given to them by their parents.'

Bungay High School saw a rise in A* to C grades from 65pc last year to 73pc this time, and Thetford Grammar School was up to 85pc from 76pc.

Elsewhere at Wymondham High Academy saw 86pc A* to C grades, Wymondham College 84pc, and Thetford Academy 50pc.