They have endured the upheaval of lockdown, the turmoil of their A-level exams being cancelled due to the country’s battle with coronavirus but the long wait has finally come to an end today (Thursday August 13) for teenagers across the Banbury area.
Some 54 per cent of students achieved B grades or higher and 28 per cent of students achieved A or A*. It has also been another very successful year for those students who completed an EPQ course (Extended Project Qualification), with a 100 per cent pass rate and 80 per cent of students achieving B or above.
Many of the students are going on to prestigious Russell Group universities, including Durham, London School of Economics, and Warwick University to begin a wide range of academic courses, including medicine, clinical psychology and mathematics.
Students taking vocational courses also excelled achieving 100 per cent pass rate across the board and 100 per cent merit or above in health and social care.
Carly Berry, head of sixth form at Banbury Aspirations, told the Banbury Guardian: ‘’We couldn’t be more proud of our students. They have demonstrated such resilience and maturity in the face of a very challenging year.
“They deserve every success as they move on to their next stage of education and we will be watching their flourishing careers with interest. They are a credit to the school, their families and the Banbury community.’’
Case studies: Soniya Aryal & Toben Barrett (pictured above)
One student from the school, Soniya Aryal, has come from Nepal to Banbury and will now be heading onto the University of Warwick on a scholarship to study mechanical engineering.
Student Soniya Aryal, 18, took four A-levels and was predicted AA*BB. This morning (Thursday August 13) she found out she had achieved A* maths A* further maths A in chemistry and B in physics.
A delighted Soniya said: ‘’I’m very happy. Glad that I got in. I feel like all the years of hard work have been worthwhile. I’m very grateful that I’ve been able to get my firm choice.
‘’I’m going to go out with my friends this evening to celebrate, they also got in to their first choice universities and I’m so happy for them too.’’
Her impressive results mean that she will be able to accept her scholarship from the University of Warwick to study for a degree in mechanical engineering – just three years after arriving in the UK from Nepal. Soniya is taking a gap year and will take up her place in 2021.
Soniya is the only girl from the Banbury Aspirations Campus’ sixth form to have applied to study mechanical engineering.
She said: ‘’It has been a bit of a stressful situation as I didn’t know what to expect. The school has been very supportive. They have given us resources and I have carried out online courses about computer programming.
‘’Warwick University has also set up a tutor programme and I have been doing one day a week every other week in order to prepare for undergraduate studies.’’
Soniya revealed it was a week-long trip to NASA which inspired her to pursue mechanical engineering. The trip is unique to the Aspirations Academies Trust and sees sixth form students from across the trust selected to go.
She added: ‘’I will be the first person in my family to go to university and my family are super proud of me.’’
Toben Barrett, 18, studied for A-levels in physics, maths and chemistry.
He was predicted AAB and achieved A in chemistry, A in physics and B in maths. He will now go on to study for a degree in physics at Queen’s University in Belfast.
Toben said: ‘’I’m very happy. It was scary and I was incredibly nervous. I’m happy that it’s all over now. It’s a massive relief. My parents are proud, which is great.
‘’I’ve always loved physics and I want to be a scientist because I crave answers for everything. I wanted to go somewhere completely different to Banbury. I like the fact that the university is modern, has an amazing library and the people are friendly.
‘’I’ve enjoyed my time at Wykham Park, it’s somewhere where I have grown in confidence and had lots of opportunities to try new things.’’
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