Future looking bright as students make the grade

IT might have been cold and wet yesterday morning, but there was a bright outlook for most of the borough's A-level students.

Students at South Tyneside College were celebrating after opening their results and finding out they had got the grades they needed.

Quadruple A student James Fleming was among the last to receive his results. He got top grades in chemistry, biology, maths and further maths, and is going on to Newcastle University to study chemistry.

The 18-year-old, of Marsden, South Shields, said: "I have a cold, and I was feeling sorry for myself."

But finding out he had secured four As certainly cheered him up.

He added: "I was hoping for three As, but didn't have a clue I'd get four. I'm a bit shocked really."

The borough's students achieved a 97.6 per cent overall pass rate, up one per cent on last year.

At the college, 97.3 per cent of candidates achieved A to E passes, above the 97.2 per cent national average.

Out of 556 A-levels taken, there were 541 passes.

Karen Redhead, vice-principal for quality and curriculum at the college, said: "It's great news to hear we've surpassed the national average.

"It's always great to see people receiving their results and meeting their aspirations. The majority of students have been pleased."

Nicola Cockburn was celebrating getting an A in psychology and two Bs in sociology and English literature.

She now plans to head to university to do psychology.

The 18-year-old, of South Shields, said: "It was always the plan to go to university, and I'm really pleased. My mum is pretty happy too."

Emma Nagouse is celebrating being top of the class in English literature.

The 18-year-old got As in English literature and film studies and Bs in history and archaeology.

She collected full marks in her English literature exam, and is now heading for Sheffield University to study archaeology.

Emma, of the Lawe Top in South Shields, said: "I have been on the phone to everyone I know.

"I'm really pleased, especially with my English mark. I had no idea I would do this well.

"I thought I was sacrificing grades to do four A-levels, so I'm pretty chuffed." Helen Richardson is hoping to live out her childhood dream of becoming a vet after gaining a place at the Royal Veterinary College in London.

Helen, 18, from Sunderland, gained three As in biology, chemistry and maths to make it on to the course.

She said: "Becoming a vet is something I have wanted to do since I was a little girl. I'm really pleased."

Rachel Raine, 17, picked up a B in maths after studying for just a year.

Rachel, of Cleadon Park, South Shields, is now destined for Oxford with As at AS-level in English language and psychology.

Next year, she will also be taking further maths in just a year.

Carolyn Thomas, head of department for humanities, English and language, said: "She should be heading off to Oxford next year.

“She is very modest, but we’re all very proud and thrilled for her.”

Rachel said: “I was surprised with my English result, and I was shocked to get that.”

Everything was adding up for football player Mark McLeod after he got an A in maths in less than a year.

The 21-year-old was on the books of Darlington Football Club and combined training with doing A-levels in chemistry and economics.

But after being dropped from the squad, Mark decided it was time to head off back to the classroom.

He already had an A and a B, and with another A, will be studying economics at York University.

Mark, from Burdon Village, Sunder-land, said: “Now I’m just looking forward to three years of fun and, hopefully, a decent job at the end of it.”


By LEAH Strug

Education reporter