Pass masters as A-level records are smashed

St John Rigby College students
St John Rigby College students

A-LEVELS may be getting tougher but records were still smashed at Wigan’s sixth form colleges and high schools this week.

There was joy a-plenty for all five of the major centres. This despite a national fall in the overall pass rate for the first time in 30 years - although the number of teenagers getting the highest grades (A* and A) has continued to rise.

At Orrell St John Rigby College the pass rate was close to 100 per cent for the third year running.

Principal Peter McGhee was particularly pleased with the biggest ever hike in top grades (in this instance A* to B) which went up by seven per cent.

He said: “These are wonderful results from an exceptional group of young people. We are delighted that they have achieved so much and that their efforts have been rewarded.

“In recent years we have been focusing on our equivalent of the Believe in Wigan campaign through valuing every individual student, celebrating their achievements and raising aspirations.”

Winstanley College, which consistently appears near the top of national state sixth form league tables, again produced an impressive array of results.

Of all the exams sat, a whopping 11.2 per cent of them achieved A* grades - way above the national average of 8.2.

Its overall pass rate was 98.9 per cent, with 65 per cent of the results being A* to B and 35.7 per cent being A* or A.

Principal Louise Tipping said: “Once again, we are delighted to celebrate our students’ outstanding results. Both staff and students have worked incredibly hard so it’s lovely that all that hard work has paid off with most of our students getting into their first choice universities including, of course, Russell Group Universities.”

Wigan and Leigh College enjoyed a 100 per cent A* to E pass rate this year: up from 97 last.

Vice-principal for curriculum, Dr Teresa Farran, said: “We have worked hard on quality improvements and have a good and dedicated team of staff coupled with an excellent cohort of hard-working students.”

The Deanery High School’s headteacher Janice Rowlands explained her much improved crop of results on the latest students being the first cohort to have gone through a much-changed curriculum first implemented two years ago.

The end product has been an increase in the pass rate for A-levels and equivalent BTec qualifications from 96.7 last year to 98.4 this. The number of youngsters receiving A* or A DOUBLED from 16.5 to 32.7.

The changes have included the creation of three alternative pathways for 16-year-olds to take: straight A-levels; level three BTecs with the possibility of adding an AS-level to them; level two BTecs for those who did less well in their GCSEs but are still a chance to progress and consolidate.

At Astley St Mary’s the students once again achieved an A* to E pass rate of more than 99.5 per cent but with a significant increase in the number of students achieving the highest grades. In all, an outstanding 41 per cent of all grades were at A*/A or their equivalent and 62 per cent were A* to B.

Head Andrew Dawson said: “The results that the students have achieved are outstanding and due to their ability, hard work and determination.

“We all know though that natural ability needs to be nurtured, challenged and channelled and I thank all the staff within the school who have supported our students academically and pastorally.”

- Don’t miss a 12-page A-levels special in next week’s Wigan Observer, out on Tuesday August 19.