University Academy Holbeach A-Level students excel and set new record

Joseph Baragwanath, Callum L'Estrange and Emma Horton celebrate their results.
Joseph Baragwanath, Callum L'Estrange and Emma Horton celebrate their results.
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University Academy Holbeach is celebrating a record 46 per cent of A-Level passes at grades A-B in the first year of tougher exams.

Principal Steve Baragwanath said: “It’s about three times as high as we have ever had, so it’s a really big increase.

“I am delighted for the kids, it’s a big relief for them especially with all the changes that have taken place to A-Levels this year – new syllabuses and more demanding specifications.

“It’s the first year of the new exams so it’s difficult for teachers and pupils to predict what the exams are going to be like because they don’t always follow the specimen papers.”

The overall A-Level pass rate dipped from last year’s 100 per cent to 98 per cent but UAH maintained its outstanding 100 per cent pass rate in vocational courses, with an average grade of distinction compared to the county average grade of pass.

Mr Baragwanath said: “The kids have performed really well. I just want to say well done to the kids for all their hard work and well done to the staff for all their hard work. I am very pleased for them all.”

As well as being a principal proud of all of his students, Mr Baragwanath had reason to celebrate as a dad.

The top student was his son, Joseph, with As in maths and biology, a B in chemistry and a C in physics.

Fellow students showing they were a class act included Callum Bell, who achieved an A in government and politics and Bs in law and history, Joseph Ingle, who gained an A in chemistry, a B in biology and a C in physics, and Angel Osei-Kissi, with an A in English, a B in religious studies and a C in history.

Callum L’Estrange was among the creme de la creme too with his A in maths, B in biology, and Cs in chemistry and physics – as was Rachael Wlkinson, who went ABC in English, biology and geography respectively.

Joseph Baragwanath told us: “I am very pleased with my results. I have managed to get into the ‘uni’ I wanted to, the University of Nottingham, to study plant biology.”

He’s currently working hard in a different sphere.

Joseph said: “I am working at Worldwide Fruits, working on a line doing 12-hour shifts. It’s good money but hard work.”

Wednesday was a sleepless night for Callum Bell, who believed – wrongly – that he had done badly in his exams.

Callum said: “I was up every hour, just looking at my phone to see how much time I had left until today.”

He was “really shocked” to do so well and is looking forward to going to the University of Nottingham with an eye on a career in diplomatic relations in the Foreign Office.

Callum L’Estrange said: “I’m very happy, very relieved. I was surprised that I did so well.”

He’s going to university in Sheffield to study zoology.

Joseph Ingle was surprised to find he had higher grades than expected and is ready to join the University of Lincoln to study chemistry.

He said: “We are all going out tonight in Spalding, having a few drinks.”

Vocational student Emma Horton was celebrating two double distinction stars in media and IT, and is off to university in Northumbria to study film and TV production. She believes vocational studies suit her better than A-Levels because of the coursework element.

Angel Osei-Kissi told us: “I am very, very happy, I didn’t expect these grades. I am over the moon.

“I am going to Goldsmiths University of London to study anthropology.

“The waiting (for the results) has been awful. I have been so nervous and I have been counting down the days.”

Seventeen students sat A-Levels, the same number as last year.