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Dudley College and students celebrate their outstanding achievements against national furore over “triple lock”

Dudley Sixth College students are once more celebrating their A level results, with an overall pass rate of 99.3% and 100% pass rate in 31 of the 34 subjects studied, in what has been a unique year for staff and students alike.

Dudley Sixth students began their celebrations at midnight when their places at University were confirmed under the UCAS Tracker system but then had a sleepless night until they could collect their individual grades at 8am.

Even though the overall pass rate has risen this year in line with the college’s three year trend the number of students receiving the highest grades (A* -C) seems to have fallen foul of the awarding bodies complex statistical moderation process, whereby centre assessed grades have been changed. A factor that has prompted Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to introduce a “triple lock” option whereby learners can use whichever result is highest from estimated grades, mocks or exams in the autumn as their final result.

Commenting on the results College Chief Executive and Principal Neil Thomas today said he did not want the concerns over the awarding bodies and government’s approach results to deflect from all of the hard work that students had put into their studies over the last two years:

“Once again we have been able to support many students to achieve amazing results that will allow them to progress to the next stage of their education; both here at the college and in the best universities nationally. Learners who have worked hard over many months; including via online learning in lock down should be proud of what they have achieved – we shouldn’t take that away from them.”

Acknowledging the political storm which is the background to this year’s results he added:

“It is disappointing that exam boards have not reflected the upward trend in high grades that the college has been demonstrating over the last three years, with some of our students not achieving the final grade both we and they feel they deserve. However, I am encouraged to see that universities such as those on our doorstep like the University of Wolverhampton, fully understand the exceptional circumstances and have increased flexibility in their approach to recruitment thereby supporting students to progress to higher education. An approach we ourselves are also adopting for learners wishing to study on our own higher education programmes and indeed when we start to enrol school leavers on full time courses after the release of GCSE results next week.”

Assistant Principal Lisa Stevenson who oversees Dudley Sixth’s A level programmes echoed these sentiments saying: “We have shown that we are able to nurture young people and bring the best out of them in their educational attainment. In some of our subjects like Further Maths 80% of learners got an A* - and many subjects like French, Photography and Sociology did exceptionally well with 100% higher grades. We acknowledge it has been a difficult year but our young people and our teaching staff have risen to the challenge and have demonstrated their resilience in a way we could not have imagined.”

Individual outstanding success stories include Daniel Folan (aged 17) who achieved A* in Maths and Further Maths and A in Computer Science and Physics. Whose love of all things mathematical will now further flourish as he progresses to the University of Warwick to study for a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science, with the ambition of going into software development. Commenting on his time at college Daniel said:

“I found the environment at college very supportive – tutors were very helpful and my class mates and I kept each other going through lockdown working on Teams. I’d encourage anyone to study A levels at college although I’d tell them not to underestimate the amount of work involved – but reassure them that you develop your capacity for learning as you go, dealing with harder and harder concepts – so you kind of grow into your studies as you go.”

Fellow students Manpreet Wadhwa (aged 19) and Faye Whitehouse (aged 18) will both be pursuing careers in medicine after obtaining a clutch of high grades. With Manpreet obtaining: Further Maths – A*, Chemistry – A, Maths – A and Physics – B allowing him to move to the University of Bristol to study Cellular and Molecular. Medicine. Whilst Faye will take up a place at the University of Sheffield to study General Medicine after achieving straight A’s in Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics.

Arts student Orla Carter (aged 19) who secured a place at Liverpool John Moores University to read – Fine Art with As in Drama, Fine Art and Film Studies acknowledged that the last six months have been difficult for many young people but that they can finally move on. Speaking passionately, she said:

"I've had a great two years at Dudley Sixth meeting new people and have always felt supported by my subject tutors during challenging times. Despite the difficult time I am looking forward to the next chapter at university.”

Dudley College is currently taking applications for September admission in A Level and vocational subjects. Higher education courses are also available at the college. Students who are interested in joining should telephone 0800 783 6095 for further information or visit www.dudleycol.ac.uk