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The Corporation

Posted: 13/08/20

A-level students praised in “most extraordinary of years”

** UPDATED 21 August 2020 **

  • A-level students celebrate results day at the college's Derby Road campus.
  • Matthew Singlehurst proudly achieved a clean-sweep of four A* grades.
  • Patryk Swidnik was delighted with his A*, two As and B grade in four subjects.
  • Molly-May Burchell and proud mum Jess celebrate her A* and two A grades.
  • Nikita Joharchi is taking her A* grade and two As to the University of York.
  • Charlotte Dallman, who wants to be a hospital pharmacist, was delighted with her A* and two A grades.
  • Alex Wilkes scooped A grades across all her subjects.
  • Charlie Young's two A grades and a B grade means she will study journalism at university.
  • Charan Mandeir achieved a triple-distinction in his BTEC Extended Diploma in Applied Science.

Students at West Nottinghamshire College have been praised for achieving their qualifications in “this most extraordinary of years” after collecting their eagerly-anticipated A-level results today (Thursday 13 August 2020).

Speaking on A-level results day, principal and chief executive Andrew Cropley paid tribute to the ‘class of 2020’ for securing the grades to progress to university, an apprenticeship or employment despite their studies being disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw them complete their courses remotely through online learning and grades awarded by tutor assessment and awarding body moderation.

The college has announced an overall pass rate of 100% – a 1.2% increase on the college’s results last year.

  • There were 359 A-level entries at the college this year (2019/20) by 130 students;
  • The college achieved 100% pass rates in 15 out of 15 subjects;
  • Over one-third (44.1%) of all passes were at the ‘high grades’ of A*-B – an increase of almost 18% on the previous year;
  • More than three-quarters (76.8%) of grades were at A*-C, which represented a 12% increase on the year before;
  • In all subjects at least half of students achieved a grade A*-C;
  • Sixteen A* grades were achieved, along with 47 A grades, and 95 B grades – meaning 158 passes were at the high grades;
  • English language recorded a 100% pass rate for the 15th consecutive year;
  • 21% of students that took the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) achieved A*-B.

Principal and chief executive Andrew Cropley said: “Congratulations to all our students who have received their A-level results. In this most extraordinary of years, I’m very pleased that our results have improved and that students have achieved the outcomes they deserve. I’m thrilled that so many of them have done extremely well and will be taking up a place at their university-of-choice next month, or embarking on their chosen career from a position of success.

“Whilst the means by which results were derived were very unusual, students, their friends and families who have supported them, and their teachers, should be no less proud of their achievements.

“I am delighted that the number of students receiving high grades has significantly improved and I’m sure all of our students are excited about progressing in their education and careers. I’d like to thank our teachers and support staff who have prepared them very effectively and we look forward to hearing about our students’ future journeys.

“I also commend all our students who have achieved really well in their technical and professional courses or in their apprenticeships. Many of those will also be going off to study on a higher education course or a degree apprenticeship.”

Students collecting their results outlined their next steps after college, and reflected on their experience of online learning throughout lockdown and how grades have been awarded this year.

Matthew Singlehurst, 18, from Mansfield, studied four A-level subjects, gaining A* grades in all of them – namely maths, biology, chemistry and physics.

He said: “I feel great. I did really well, so I’m very pleased. I’ve worked really hard to get these grades.

“I revised most days and always did my home-work. I found learning online throughout lockdown much more difficult, especially staying motivated, with the distractions that come from being at home, but I made sure I knuckled down and got on with it.

“I feel all the hard work has paid off. With these grades I’m going to the University of Nottingham to study physics. I don’t have a particular career in mind at the minute; I’m just going to see what I enjoy at university and take it from there.

“I’ve enjoyed my time at West Notts – I found it better than if I’d gone to sixth-form. There’s more freedom, more choice, and my teachers have been good.

“I’m looking forward to telling my family how I’ve done in my results.”

Also studying four subjects was Patryk Swidnik from Shirebrook. 

The 18-year-old gained an A* in maths, A grades in physics and chemistry, and B in biology.

He said: “These are the grades I need to study medicine at the University of York. I’m having a gap year and am going to keep working and saving-up money. I’ll  do some extra studying as well, such as first aid and other healthcare-related courses. I want to become a consultant surgeon specialising in trauma, either in the Army or in a hospital.

“What really made me decide that medicine was the career for me was last year, on my way home from a night out, my friend and I saw a road traffic collision and we attended the scene and helped the victim until the ambulance arrived. It was a very harrowing situation but I loved stepping-in.

“And even better, hearing from her some days later that she’d left hospital and gone home to her two little girls – that was so very rewarding.”

Molly-May Burchell, 18, from Boughton, collected her results accompanied by her mum, for moral support – and was delighted to gain A* in sociology and A grades in history and law.

She said: “I feel very happy and really glad I did the hard work. It means I can go to the University of Nottingham, which was my first-choice, to study history. Eventually I’d like to go into teaching, preferably as a university lecturer, possibly teaching abroad.

“Distance-learning was fun – I just sat in my bedroom doing college work! I found it easier than learning at college, because I was sat by myself studying, which worked well for me.”

Proud mum Jess Burchell said: “I’m over the moon for her – she’s worked really hard. With Molly-May being autistic, she’s coped really well with all the changes brought about by lockdown. I’m immensely proud. She absolutely deserves this.”

Nikita Joharchi, 20, from Mansfield also received the grades to get into her first-choice university – an A* in English literature and A grades in film studies and psychology.

“Next I’ll be going to the University of York and studying English literature.

“During lockdown it gave me more time to concentrate on university reading. The University of York gave us about 16 books to read before the start of term and I got through most of them.

“After the initial degree I’d like to study a Masters in Viking studies, or even English, at York. I chose York because of the heavy influence of classical literature and old Norse history – it’s something I’ve been interested in since being a child. I’d like to go into research in the future.

“I think I’ll be celebrating with a pizza tonight!”

Charlotte Dallman, 17, from Mansfield, was delighted to score an A* in chemistry and As in biology and psychology.

She said: “I’m really happy that I’ve got into my first-choice university, the University of Lincoln, to study pharmacy. I want to be a hospital pharmacist after my studies. I like hospital settings and the atmosphere, and being around the patients.

“West Notts has been really good. All the teachers have been very helpful and supportive. You can’t ask for any more than that.

“Online learning was difficult but the teachers were always available if you needed to ask any questions.”

Because of the way that grades have been determined this year, Charlotte said she was even more nervous opening her results envelope than she ordinarily would have been.

“When you sit an exam, you know whether it’s gone well or not. But this time we were completely in the dark,” she said.

“But I’m relieved I’ve got these grades and am looking forward to university. This has solidified what I’m doing next and where I’ll be going.”

Achieving straight-As in chemistry, maths and biology was Alex Wilkes, from Shirebrook.

Eighteen-year-old Alex said: “I didn’t get my predicted A* grade for maths, but that’s fine as I’m still going to study pharmacy at the University of Nottingham.”

Describing her experience of online learning, she said: “It was a bit tricky sometimes during lockdown; it’s harder for the teacher to explain practical things that we’d normally do in the science labs, but it did work well. It was great to be able to keep in touch with classmates in this way.

“I made sure I stuck to a routine to stay positive. I’d set my alarm, get all my books out and just kept going during the new routine. I’ve been looking ahead at what sort of modules I’ll be studying at university as well.

“I think I’ll have a little celebration with friends over the weekend.”

Charlie Young, 23, from Clipstone, “couldn’t wait” to tell her mum how she’d done after achieving A grades in English language and psychology and a B in law.

She said: “This is what I need to get into the University of Sheffield to study journalism. I’m studying a bit later in life as I have a four-year-old daughter. Just because you may decide to study when you’re a bit older, it shouldn’t stop you doing what you really want to do.

“Sheffield is my first choice and I can’t wait.

“I didn’t find distance learning too difficult, although it was a challenge sometimes with having my little girl at home and I’ve been quite busy, too, with doing some reading in preparation for university.

“I also want to do a Masters and a PhD in educational journalism in the future, so I’m going to be busy!”

Amongst those receiving their vocational results was Charan Mandeir, 18, from Ravenshead, who studied the BTEC National Extended Diploma in Applied Science.

He said: “I got a triple-distinction, which is what I needed to get into university. I’ll be going to the University of Leeds to study audiology because I have a very specific career goal – to become an audiologist.

“It felt great to see these grades, although I was predicted to get a higher grade in one of my exams, which we couldn’t sit.

“Because it was only one exam that I didn’t have to sit, I’d already calculated my grades and pretty much knew what I was going to get, so I was quite confident I’d get into university.

“I’m now off to work an eight-hour shift as I save-up for uni, so I’ll celebrate later today.

“I’m excited about what the future holds. After university, I may do a Masters degree or go straight into work.”

Students were unable to sit exams this year due to the pandemic and have instead received a ‘centre assessment grade’ (CAG), or calculated grade if higher, for each subject. CAGs are the grades tutors felt they were most likely to achieve had exams gone ahead, taking into account a range of evidence.

West Nottinghamshire College offers one of the largest choices of A-levels under one roof in Mansfield. It also offers a wide range of vocational qualifications along with higher national certificates (HNCs) and higher national diplomas (HNDs).

Anybody interested in studying at the college should call 0808 100 3626.