Published on: Thursday, August 18, 2022

Sixth Form students celebrated with family and friends this week, and marked yet another year of excellent academic and personal achievement.

This cohort has had to manage three years of disruption. They did not sit public GCSE exams two years ago, and much of their Sixth Form career has been marked by remote or blended learning. Despite all this, they have risen to the occasion and have produced an excellent set of A level and BTEC grades.

There were some outstanding results, with 29 delighted students gaining three or more A or A* grades, or equivalent; Terry Siu (A*A*A*A*) and Pia Hermanns (A*A*A*A) topped the list, with Louis Benneyworth, Amelie Ridley and William Serrell-Cooke all achieving three A* grades. Samantha Cheng, Max Gauntlett, Ella Dai, Julia Vijayaratnam and Jack Wong all achieved A*A*A. Five pupils achieved the top D*D*D* grades in BTEC Sport: Katie Beale, Indie Burrows, Lucy Day, Martha Lawford and Abbie Stride.   

The great majority of students who had offers from universities have been accepted onto their first or second choice courses, which will see students join some of the country’s leading institutions, including Cambridge, Imperial College, KCL, Durham, Nottingham, Manchester and Exeter.

Of particular interest is the fact that among the group of 29 top performers were students who had joined the school in different years and from all over the world. Louis Benneyworth, Martha Lawford and Amelie Ridley came to King’s College from our own prep school, King’s Hall. Terry Siu joined in Year 9 from Hong Kong, Pia Hermanns in Year 10 from Germany and Max Gauntlett in the Sixth Form from a local school.

Departments that performed particularly well this year based on their A* to B rates include art (89%), BTEC Sport (100%), Chinese (100%), drama (100%), design technology (88%), economics (95%), further maths (86%), geography (93%), German (100%) and history (87%). Over a quarter of maths and economics candidates achieved A* grades, and 80% of the students who studied the extended project qualification were awarded an A* or A. 77% of grades were awarded at B grade or above.

Oliver Ridley, Head of Sixth Form commented: “I am so pleased that the hard work both during the periods of lockdown and since we came back together as a community has paid off with such a wonderful set of examination results.”

Like most independent schools in the south west, King’s selects pupils for more than just their academic abilities, so an analysis of the top 50 candidates (out of a total of 80 taking exams this year) is a good way of comparing the results with those of more selective schools. Amongst this group, the A* to B rate was a remarkable 91%, with a 100% pass rate. These results compare favourably with the top schools in the country.

The recent high-profile success for national women’s sport has been echoed in our own BTEC Sport programme: All five female students taking the course achieved the very highest grades possible – three starred distinctions (the equivalent of three A* at A level).

School captain Louis Benneyworth achieved three A*s and an oboe diploma whilst showing outstanding leadership across the year, and now plans on taking a gap year before starting at Oxbridge. Oliver Baines and Samuel Whitelegg are heading off to drama school, and Matt Osbourne has secured a place at The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire to study the trumpet. Pia Hermanns and William Serrell-Cooke have a place at Bath University to study architecture and economics respectively, and Amelie Ridley will join Edinburgh to study biological science.

The school prides itself on offering an all-round education and providing opportunities for young people to succeed. James Rew, who recently established himself as an up and coming star in the Somerset County Cricket team in the first few weeks of his professional career, spent much of his final Sixth Form year playing for the England U19 side, including a World Cup tournament in the Caribbean. Against that backdrop of sporting success, his A level grades of A*AAB are an impressive achievement.

This is the last cohort of Sixth Formers that Headmaster Richard Biggs will congratulate, as he retires from King’s College. He reflected: “The celebration of A level results has been an annual highlight for me over fifteen years as Headmaster. Every year it has been a joy to be able to look our students in the eye and say ‘well done and good luck’. This particular group have had a tough ride, but they have shown courage and determination and boundless energy in preparing for their exams, and I could not be prouder of them. They have done this without in any sense dialling down their extraordinarily wide commitment to school life – they have continued to throw themselves into sport, the performing arts and our outdoor education programme with gusto. In their resilience and good cheer, they have been outstanding role models. I thank them warmly for their leadership and wish them every happiness for the future. They are going to thrive, and they will make a difference to the world.”

Mr Biggs went on to say: “I thank and congratulate all my colleagues for the outstanding job they have done under very difficult circumstances in supporting and inspiring our students. These excellent results are a testimony to their dedication and professionalism.”

King’s College is delighted to confirm that interest in places at the school remains extremely high. The school’s reputation for strong A level and BTEC results has meant that over 35 new students will be joining the Sixth Form in September. They will join the first cohort of students studying in the exciting new Sixth Form Centre, now nearing completion. This state-of-the art facility will support a university-style approach to Sixth Form life and provide opportunities for collaborative working and private study, along with a vibrant social scene - all good preparation for life and study beyond school.

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