Published on: Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Our pupils and staff have been celebrating an excellent set of A level and BTEC grades this week.

Due to the pandemic, this year individual schools were allowed to decide what evidence they would use to generate the grades. At King’s, all A level candidates were required to sit formal assessments, under normal examination conditions, and these results formed the bulk of the evidence used to produce the final A level grades.

Two of our pupils achieved the extraordinary feat of securing four A*s each: Freya J, a gifted linguist, in French, German, Latin and Spanish; and Tommy R-J in maths, further maths, physics and chemistry.

A further seven pupils achieved three A*s: Charlotte K, Lola M-J, Abigail H, George G, William H, Henry S and Monica Y.

Lola has the grades she needs to take up her place to read modern languages at Oxford University. Monica’s achievement is all the more impressive considering that she had to spend much of the past two years learning remotely. She will be going to St Andrew’s to read Art History. Both Freya and Lola joined King’s College from Minehead Middle School.

A further 18 pupils received three or more A*s or As. These include our Head Boy and Head Girl, Joss C and Lydia T. Joss is heading off to a history course at Birmingham; Lydia has a place to study geography at Leeds University.

This group also includes the year group’s top sportsman and sportswoman: William C (A*A*A) and Elizabeth C (AAA), who were awarded trophies as the best all-round games players at the end-of-year prize giving event. Indeed, a high proportion of our academic high-flyers were also stalwarts of the school’s first teams in a wide range of sports. Sonny B(AAB) managed strong grades while committed to a busy summer cricketing schedule, playing for the school’s very successful 1st XI and for the Somerset senior 1st and 2nd XIs.

Two sets of twins feature near the top of the results table: Emil and Karl D (both A*AAB) joined King’s three years ago from Germany on our one-year GCSE programme and so enjoyed the experience that they stayed on for A levels as well. Lydia (A*A*A) and Rosanna (A*A*B) T have been at the school since Year 9. Rosanna, a first-team netball and cricket player, also stage-managed the recent school production of Chicago.

Our outstanding and popular BTEC Sport programme has once again set the bar high. Taylor I-H achieved three-starred distinctions (equivalent to three A*s at A level). Taylor will be studying Sports Science at Exeter University, one of the top such courses in the country. Michael Bray received two starred distinctions and a distinction.

This year’s leavers will be going on to a wide range of courses at universities and colleges both in the UK and abroad, some highly competitive. Henry S (A*A*A*) and Olivia T (A*A*A) have places to read veterinary science. Max C (A*AA) has a place to read medicine. This year’s art students were a particularly strong group. Jago S (A*AA) and Jamie S (AAB) have places at the University of the Arts London.

In addition to our full A level and BTEC courses, there is the opportunity for pupils to take an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), which counts as half an A level. A record 17 pupils completed the qualification this year, 13 achieving A*s or As.

Commenting on the results our Headmaster, Richard Biggs, said “In a very disrupted year the awarding of grades has come under some press scrutiny. We are confident that our methodology was fair and rigorous. Overall our results are in line with the upward trend that we have seen at King’s over recent years. We gave our pupils every opportunity to show us what they could do, and we believe that their grades properly reflect their abilities and hard work. We were hugely impressed by their efforts in preparing for the final assessments last term. This was a strong year group, who set a record standard in their GCSEs two years ago. I congratulate them warmly on navigating their way through two challenging years. These outstanding results are fully deserved reward for their resilience and good cheer throughout.”

“I do, too, want to make a special point of thanking my teaching staff for their extraordinary achievements over the past two years. Not only have they sustained an excellent and effective teaching programme through two lockdowns, they have also had to play a key role in assessing our candidates – setting and marking papers, and following our assessment methodology meticulously – all the while managing and working around tough and intrusive Covid measures. They are absolute heroes and I congratulate them all for an outstanding effort.”

“Returning to the pupils themselves: This particular cohort of leavers has been through the wringer, and they have come through it all with flying colours, wiser and stronger for the experience. They will make their mark on the world!”

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