As the proportion of A-level entries receiving the top A* grade at A levels has reached a new record level, FE and sixth-form colleges have hailed a strong set of results in this summer's exams.
An A* was awarded to 8.3 per cent of entries in the UK – the highest proportion since the elite grade was introduced in 2010. Meanwhile, the proportion of entries with an A or A* also rose – by 0.5 percentage points – to 26.3 per cent this year.
But the proportion of 18-year-old entries receiving A*, A/A* and A*-E grades across these subjects – art and design, biology, business, chemistry, computer science, economics, English language, English language and literature, English literature, history, physics, psychology and sociology – all fell compared with last year. At A*, the fall was from 7.7 per cent to 7.2 per cent.
Students from Tower Hamlets College in London jump for joy after receiving their exam results.
Organisations representing colleges across England have welcomed this year's results, and stressed the importance of considering FE-based career pathways.
David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “Congratulations to all students receiving their A-level results today. While many young people will now be considering going to a university or negotiating the clearing process, it is important to remember there are other options available. Traditional three-year, full-time university degrees have a vitally important role, but may not be right for everyone. There are many routes to getting into a chosen career. Further education colleges, for example, offer a wide range of higher-level technical and professional education, including apprenticeships and part-time study options."
Bill Watkin, chief executive of the Sixth Form Colleges' Association, said: “Sixth-form colleges have done remarkably well to take on board all the recent changes to A level and applied A level specifications and examinations, and to deliver once more the fantastic results that we have become used to from them. Because they can focus exclusively on teaching sixth-formers, and because they have large numbers of students, they are able to lead the way in supporting young people to get the best results they can and reach the destinations they want.”
Earlier this month, Tes reported that almost two-thirds of colleges offering A levels had reduced the number of subjects available to students. Half of the colleges surveyed said that the main reason for cutting A-level options was a lack of demand from students, with 9 per cent blaming low funding and 6 per cent attributing it to staffing issues.
Tes has been out and about at Tower Hamlets College, in East London, this morning.
At Christ the King Sixth Form College in Lewisham, students received some fantastic results. The college was recently covered by Tes after it created a £15,000 university scholarship scheme for some of its most disadvantaged students in partnership with a private equity firm.
Rob McAuliffe, newly-appointed executive principal, said “I am so proud of all of our staff and students…The combination and achievement of young people in this part of South East London is to be celebrated.”
Students around the country have also been celebrating.
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