Students celebrate but face fight for uni places

OXBRIDGE: Nick Lyons and Sophie Rutherford from English Martyrs with their A-level results
OXBRIDGE: Nick Lyons and Sophie Rutherford from English Martyrs with their A-level results

TEENAGERS were today finding out whether they had made the grade in their A-levels, amid record pressure on university places.

The Hartlepool and east Durham students picked up what are expected to be the region’s best ever results ahead of the last academic year before tuition fees rise.

Hartlepool Sixth Form College’s A-level pass rate of 99.6 per cent showed continuing success for students that have achieved an average pass rate of 99.5 per cent over the past seven years.

The results included 52 A* grades, 24 of which were achieved in maths and further maths, and principal Rick Wells said pressure was on students to achieve the top mark more than ever.

He said: “It is very stressful for all students to take A-levels knowing that university entrance, which gets more competitive and expensive each year, depends on the results.”

The top performing UK female student at the college was Georgia Liddle, 18, from Seaton Carew, who got A*s in English literature, psychology, and general studies and has offers from Durham and Manchester universities to study biomedical sciences and eventually wants to go into research.

English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College achieved a 99 per cent pass rate, with A*, A and B grades accounting for 53 per cent.

Headteacher Michael Lee said: “Our students can feel proud of their results which have surpassed last year’s.”

Overjoyed students included Sophie Rutherford, 18, from Wilton Avenue, Hartlepool, who got A*s in RE and English, and As in critical thinking and history and is going to study English at Homerton College at Cambridge University.

Nick Lyons, 18, from West Park, got an A* in English and As in French and German and is off to Merton College at Oxford University and is considering becoming a translater.

Hartlepool College of Further Education saw a 96 per cent pass rate and Martin Old, head of sixth form at the college, said: “ Obviously we’re delighted with our percentage pass rate, once again in the high nineties, because we want the very best for our learners and the high pass rate will enable students to progress to their first choice universities and careers.”

Among the delighted students were twins Katie and Charlotte Jones, 19, from Sedgefield, who got seven A-levels between them.

Katie got an A in sociology, A in English literature, B in English language and a B in history, while Charlotte got an A* in sociology, A in history and B in English language.

Universities are said to be inundated with applications for courses starting in September as less students are expected to take gap years and take advantage of the lower costs.

From 2012, universities will be able to charge up to a maximum of £9,000 a year in tuition fees compared with the present level of just over £3,000 a year.

Anyone taking up a place this autumn will pay the lower fees for the whole of their time at university.

So far, there have been just over 673,000 applications for undergraduate places in the UK, last year, there were places for 487,000 people.

About 47,000 of these were allocated through the clearing process, where students are matched to university places which have not been filled in the first instance.