VIDEO: Sheffield students celebrate success under 'increased pressure'' due to education reforms

The nervous wait was finally over for thousands of Sheffield teenagers this morning - as they got their hands on their A-level results.

Some students and headteachers told how they felt they were operating under extra pressure - brought on by Government-imposed changes.

L to r:- Andrew Crowhurst, Rob Goligher, Riley Steer and Jeremy Simons.

L to r:- Andrew Crowhurst, Rob Goligher, Riley Steer and Jeremy Simons.

This year’s results mark a key step in major reforms to A-levels introduced by ministers, which includes a move away from coursework and modular exams, as well as a significant decision to separate AS-levels to form standalone qualifications.

Former education secretary Michael Gove, who pushed through the changes, argued this will give students a better understanding of subjects by allowing them to study more in-depth over an extended two year period, rather than sitting stage-by-stage modular exams.

But on the ground level, students and teaching staff, said this put more of an emphasis on ensuring you perform well on the day of major exams at the end of the course.

King Edward VII School student Rob Goligher, aged 18, of Heeley, said: "It does put more pressure on the end of course exams definitely.

Mary McCarthy with her dad Paul.

Mary McCarthy with her dad Paul.

"It has felt like more of a long wait. But I'm just so relieved."

His As in history and politics plus a B in computer science got him into the University of Nottingham where he will study history on his way to launching a career as a teacher.

His friend Andrew Crowhurst, aged 18, of Stocksbridge, gained As in chemistry and biology along with a B in geography ensuring a place at Newcastle University to study chemistry.

He said: "The results got me into the university I wanted so I'm very pleased."

(l-r) Silverdale students Mark Whithers Kate Whiteley, Ellie Millen and Grace Bourne jump for joy as they celebrate getting their A Level results.

(l-r) Silverdale students Mark Whithers Kate Whiteley, Ellie Millen and Grace Bourne jump for joy as they celebrate getting their A Level results.

Star pupil Riley Steer, aged 18, of Deepcar, was 'over the moon' with his As in physics, chemistry and maths and will study astrophysics at the University of York.

He said: "To say I was nervous this morning would be an understatement. The nerves build up over the weeks."

There was also reason to celebrate for Mary McCarthy, aged 18, of Broomhill, who gained an A* in geography, A in sociology and C in physical education, earning her a place on a sports science course at the University of Birmingham.

She said: "I would like to go into something like teaching or being part of the Olympics team."

Linda Gooden.

Linda Gooden.

Fulwood's Jeremy Simons, aged 18, earned an A* in Spanish, A in music and B in maths ahead of starting a music course at Durham University.

He said: "I was particularly pleased with maths as I thought the exam went really bad. I was relieved because there's a lot of emphasis put on the exams at the end."

Nancy Lee, aged 18, received and A in psychology and Bs in geography and biology.

She can't want to study geography in Newcastle and added: "I feel so happy. I will miss my friends but I'm really excited for university."

Joey Myers, aged 18, is taking a gap year to travel around the world after receiving As in sociology and economics, plus a B in business.

He said: "I'm happy with the results and can't wait to go travelling. I'm going to apply to university when I get back."

The results were positive across the whole school, based in Broomhill, which saw 56.3 per cent of grades come in as A* to B – an increase of seven per cent on last year.

A total of 29 students gained all A* or A grades, with 45 sixth-formers achieving one A* or more.

Headteacher Linda Gooden said: "This year has presented significant challenges and our students, staff and parents have worked incredibly hard under increased pressure.

"We have conducted internal assessments along the way and given pastoral support to students to help them on their journey.

"The results are excellent and we have improved significantly."

She added that around 210 students out of 240 are set to go to university, and this includes as many as eight going to the esteemed Oxford and Cambridge universities. Meanwhile, others will be starting apprenticeships or going into other forms of training.

Jeremy Twyman, head of Post 16, added that results in psychology were "particularly excellent" which showed 70 per cent of the results were A* to B.

Elsewhere, at Silverdale School, in Bents Green, 72 per cent of students got A* to B grades – up from 64 per cent last year.

Head of sixth form and deputy headteacher Richard Horton said: “Yet again our students and staff have much to be proud of and have shown that Silverdale Sixth Form is one of the highest achieving in the city."

Longley Park Sixth Form College, in Longley, has a pass rate of more than 96 per cent with the proportion of high grades rising to more than 57 per cent.

Principal Mo Nisbet said: “We are delighted to have maintained our high achievement rate in this first year of more rigorous assessment of A-levels."

Students at Forge Valley School, in Stannington, part of Tapton Academy Trust, have achieved ‘excellent’ results, with a high number of A* and A grades in STEM subjects – biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics.
Clive Hobbs, head of sixth form, said: “We are delighted with the achievements of our students this year and another set of excellent results.”

Students at Tapton School, in Crosspool, achieved 61.5 per cent of grades A* to B with four sixth-formers expected to gain entry to Oxford and Cambridge. Three students have also achieved all A* grades.
Head of sixth form Andrew Wright said: “We are especially delighted that the results have remained stable at Tapton – despite the turbulence caused by A-level reform."