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A-LEVELS 2021: Resilience pays off as King’s Lynn school celebrates increase in grades

todayAugust 10, 2021

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A Lynn school leader has paid tribute to the “determination and resilience” of A-level students who achieved an array of top grades this year.

Officials at the King Edward VII Academy (KES) say 2021 marks a fourth year of “significant improvement” after 83 per cent achieved A* to C grades.

And one of the 67-strong cohort, Hannah Robins, is set to swap Lynn for Cambridge University after her three A* grades secured her a place to read English.

From left, Inga Aleksejeva, Sophie Watson, Anya Biran, Grace Vonk and Cameron Backham. (50078914)
From left, Inga Aleksejeva, Sophie Watson, Anya Biran, Grace Vonk and Cameron Backham. (50078914)

She said she was “over the moon” with her grades and “extremely proud” of her colleagues for coping with the disruption caused by the coronavirus crisis.

She added: “As Head Girl at KES Sixth Form my communication with my fellow classmates has allowed me to realise the pandemic affected everyone in some sort of way both academically and mentally, so to say that we made it together is a big achievement for all of us.

“It goes without saying that the support from teachers and staff at KES helped immensely in getting me where I wanted to today; the support system is unmatched.

King Edward VII Academy, King's Lynn.. (40415517)
King Edward VII Academy, King’s Lynn.. (40415517)

“It’s going to be sad having to leave it all behind, but I also cannot wait to start university soon.”

Meanwhile, Cameron Backham can look forward to an audience with The Queen as his three A* grades in English Language, History and Philosophy and Ethics, plus a fourth A in Maths, made him the school’s leading student.

He is heading to Birmingham University to read History and Philosophy and will be presented with the school’s Gold Medal in a tradition which dates back to 1864.

He said: “I was quite surprised, as I didn’t expect to have such high grades because of the unique circumstances, but I was extremely pleased.

KES Gold Medal winner Cameron Backham (50078907)
KES Gold Medal winner Cameron Backham (50078907)

“It was a struggle to balance my A-levels and other responsibilities, but I am glad that I managed to be able to do so well.”

Meanwhile, Jade Smalley is heading to Nottingham University to study Biology with her three A* grades in Biology, Maths and Psychology.

She said: “After such a challenging year it’s great to see what everyone has achieved. The staff at KES have been incredibly supportive throughout the pandemic.

“I’m over the moon with my grades and am really looking forward to starting university in September.”

Also heading to Nottingham is Anya Biran, who will read Architecture after achieving an A*, an A and a B grade.

She said: “I achieved the exact grades that I needed; I couldn’t have been happier when I saw them.

“I had the honour of being a senior prefect and with the role I was able to organise myself and others, helping me to focus and make great friends with new people.”

Meanwhile, Grace Vonk will be heading to York to study Psychology after achieving three A grades, plus a B in the Extended Project Qualification.

She said: “I was initially in shock when I initially opened my results; followed by an overwhelming sense of joy. I expected to do well, but I didn’t expect to do this well.

“With everything that has been happening with Covid, I’ve had to work harder to try and balance everything that was going on, but KES was a great support for this, and I am grateful to have made it this far.”

Principal Sarah Hartshorn today said 85 per cent of students had secured places at their first choice universities, well above the national average.

And she paid tribute to both students and staff for their dedication during an academic year heavily affected by the Covid crisis.

She said: “It has been another challenging year for both staff and pupils.

“I have been very proud of the determination and resilience our students have shown during this year’s examination series.

“The centre assessed grade process was extremely rigorous and fair. We were pleased that members of staff, who know the young people best, were central to this.

“I cannot thank the staff at KES enough for the many additional hours supporting this process.

“All of our students are secured places on their next pathways to success. It has been a privilege to work with these students and we wish them well for the future.”

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