VAST numbers of A level students across Dorset are rejoicing after collecting their results as, nationally, top grades have reached a record high.

With the cancellation of exams for second year in a row due to the pandemic, almost 45 per cent of pupils in England, Wales and North Ireland achieved A* or A grades in replacement exams.

This is an increase on last year’s results when 38.5 per cent achieved top grades.

This year has been an unusual and challenging year for students in Year 13, who have worked hard through a combination of online learning and face-to-face learning in school.

Grades have been based on students’ work assessed by their subject teacher using a range of materials.

Michael Antram, Headteacher of St Edwards School added: “I’m sure that all Headteachers will want to pay tribute to the teachers and subject leaders who have worked tirelessly to ensure that unique arrangements for this year’s examination year groups were fair and balanced and compiled with great integrity.”

Just under 60 per cent of grades for students at Bournemouth Collegiate School were A* or A grade, with 95 per cent of grades A* to C.

Headmaster Russell Slatford said: "The students at Bournemouth Collegiate School have shown commitment and resilience like no other, and these outstanding results are a true reflection of their extraordinary dedication and admirable abilities.

Twenty-six students at The Purbeck School received at least one A* or equivalent grade, as headteacher Adam Darley said that students have outdone themselves after being “severely disrupted” over the past two years.

He added: "We are so pleased that their resilience, character, determination and hard work has been recognised by this fantastic set of results. We wish them all the very best for the future."

Headteacher of Parkstone Grammar David Hallsworth applauded pupils for their persistence and commitment during challenging circumstances, saying “Their outstanding level of achievement has not been possible without the support of the excellent staff team.”

Whilst Twynham School haven’t published headline figures of their A Level cohort to not feed into the ‘grade inflation’ conversation, headteacher Jy Taylor has commended the “resilience and adaptability” of students not just from his school, but around the country.

"Whilst the national press seems to be focused on comparing results from previous years, what is missed is the positive impact the pandemic has had on these young people,” he added.

The Bourne Academy have said that 36 per cent of their students going to University have gained a place at a Russell Group Institution.

Principal Mark Avoth said: "This has been an unbelievably tough year for our Year 13’s – they have had so much to endure during the pandemic, and we just want to say how extremely proud we are of them.”

More than 500 A Level students at Brockenhurst College received their results today with the overall pass rate at 99 per cent. The percentage of students achieving A*-B grades was 56 per cent, with over 78 per cent achieving A*-C grades across all their subjects.

More than two thirds of students in 13 A Level subjects achieved A* to B grades.

Brockenhurst College principal Polly Perkins CBE said: “Today I am confident each Brockenhurst College student has received the grades they deserved and has used the adverse circumstances as an opportunity to build the digital skills and resilience necessary to continue achieving in this rapidly changing world.”

Highcliffe School are celebrating a set of “excellent results” and have praised their cohort of year 13 students for their “hard work and talent”.

Headteacher Patrick Earnshaw said: "Congratulations to our Year 13 students on your excellent results, earned by your hard work and determination to succeed during a prolonged and unprecedented period of intense disruption to your education.”

Arnewood School pupils achieved a glittering set of results, with some stand-out performers gaining the necessary grades to study Chemical Engineering at the University of Southampton and Modern Languages at Warwick University.

Headteacher Nigel Pressnell said: “Despite all the difficulties of the past 17 months students have thrown themselves into their A Level studies and reaped the reward of their hard work.”

Staff at Ferndown School say they are “very pleased” with the results for its STEM subjects, particularly Further Mathematics where 100 per cent of students achieved the highest grades of A* and A, and in Maths where 50 per cent of the students achieved the highest of grades.

At Bournemouth School, 52 per cent of the grades awarded were A* or A, with 93 per cent A*-C. The average points score per entry was 44.2, and ten students have secured places to study medicine or dentistry.

Dr Dorian Lewis, the school’s headteacher said: "These outstanding results will enable the majority of our students to progress to further education and study; we look forward to seeing what they will achieve in the future.”

Many students at LeAF Studio completed formal vocational exams in the January 2021 series, but the cancellation of summer exams meant that some grades were awarded through teacher assessed grades.

Nadine Lapskas, LeAF Studio Principal, said: "Our teachers and coaches have worked tirelessly and with incredible dedication to ensure students are all able to progress onto further education and study, and we look forward to seeing what they will achieve in the future both in their specialisms and beyond.”

A record number of students from St Peter’s Catholic School have secured places at Russell Group Universities, with one in four students achieving an average grade of at least an A across all of their subjects.

The school’s headteacher, Ben Doyle, said: “We are immensely proud of all the work and achievements of our students, especially considering the disruption they have faced since March 2020.

Sturminster Newton High School Headteacher Jason Davis has lauded students for their “sheer bloody minded grit and work ethic” over the past two academic years.

Ringwood School have said more students had applied for university than ever before, and all students holding Oxbridge offers have the required grades to take up these prestigious places next month.

Leanne Symonds, the School’s headteacher said: "We credit their resilience in these difficult times and we thank our teachers who have worked tirelessly to ensure students are all able to progress onto higher education and study.”

Students from The Burgate School outside of Fordingbridge are leaving to embark on a variety of university courses ranging from Chemistry to Law, Psychology to Sports and Midwifery to Mechanical Engineering.

David Pover, Headteacher said: "These results reflect the hard work, perseverance and, above all, the determination of Burgate students to do their very best.”

Students from Queen Elizabeth’s School achieved a host of stars across their A Levels grades, allowing them to study courses such as Actuarial Science at Norwich University and at the prestigious Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in London.

Headteacher Katie Boyes said: “We are immensely proud of all the hard work of our students, especially after such a difficult and disrupted 18 months. Despite this our students have achieved so much.”

Shaftesbury School said that 31 per cent of A levels results were A* and A grades while 70 per cent of the BTEC grades were Distinction* and Distinction.

Headteacher Donna London-Hill said: “Every grade gained is a result of the hard work of these remarkable young people and the support they have been given by our exceptionally dedicated team.”

More students have gone on to university from Poole High School than ever before, with the most popular degree courses being Psychology, Law, Architecture and Mechanical Engineering.

Sian Phillips, deputy headteacher, said: "Massive credit goes to our staff and students who have worked so hard.”

Magna Academy Poole Principal Ms Natasha Ullah praised the “skill and professionalism” of teaching staff I helping to award “fair and realistic grades” to students based upon Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGS).

She added: "Despite the challenges of the pandemic students, staff and families have worked hard together to produce superb outcomes."

Corfe Hills School have complimented pupils on achieving a glowing set of results following “a very challenging year”.

Headteacher James Sankey said: “Our students have worked incredibly hard, and we are delighted to be celebrating with them today as they receive their A level results.”

Students at United Sixth Form (UCSF), part of Avonbourne Boys’ and Girls’ Academies are celebrating today after securing places at their first-choice universities.

Executive Principal at Avonbourne Girls’ and Avonbourne Boys’ Academies Stuart Ingram said: “In what has been an unprecedented past 18 months, I am delighted to see so many of our Sixth Formers achieving the qualifications they need to take up places at their first-choice universities.”

Students from Bournemouth and Poole College achieved a pass rate 100 per cent across all the final subjects, with 49 per cent of students achieving A* to B grades.

All seven pupils holding Oxbridge offers at Canford School confirmed their places for courses in Engineering, History and French, Chemistry, English and Medicine, alongside a choral scholarship to Cambridge.

Headmaster Ben Vessey said: “I am very proud of the way in which this cohort has faced the situation, demonstrating the courageous attitude, humble ambition, purposeful engagement and gracious leadership which are the core values and hallmarks of a Canfordian.”