A Sunderland sixth form college is celebrating its A level students’ “outstanding” achievements today. Students from St Aidan’s and St Anthony’s Catholic Sixth Form College, which is part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, nervously picked up their A level results this morning.

Nerves turned to overwhelming relief and joy for many students including Lucy Pells, who achieved two A*s and an A in maths, psychology and sociology. Excited to study psychology at the University of York, she said she is “just delighted with the results”.

Kenneth Juan had a fantastic results day achieving A*, two As and a B. He said: “I’m relieved and happy with how my results have turned out. I cannot wait to study maths at Durham university now, it’s what I’ve worked for.

Another student, Jessica Robinson, who achieved three A*s in maths, further maths and psychology, is off to Manchester University to study maths. She said: “I’m so happy with my results and I’m off to study my first choice of maths at Manchester University. I have worked so hard for this.

Darren Pinto was another student with plenty to celebrate, as he achieved three As in biology, chemistry and maths which has allowed him to access his first choice of university. He said: “I’m extremely happy and grateful for my results and looking forward to studying pharmacy at Sunderland University.

Kate Graham studied A levels in English, French and Spanish and achieved an A* and two As. She said: “I’m so happy with my results and I am off to my first choice: York University to study French and Spanish.

Lucy Potts, who is going to Durham University to study sports science, was thrilled to receive an A* in sociology, an A in philosophy and a D* in BTEC sport.

Millie Balcombe was equally thrilled to receive two A*s in biology and maths, an A in chemistry and a D* in BTEC engineering. She is going to Leeds University to study mechanical engineering.

Executive headteacher Glenn Sanderson said: “We are incredibly proud of our students’ achievements this year. Their hard work and dedication, along with the support of our talented staff, have resulted in outstanding results. These results reflect the commitment to excellence in education at our school. We congratulate our students and look forward to supporting their continued success in the future. With almost half of all pupils achieving grade A* to B, almost 40% of pupils achieved AAB and a fifth of all grades were A*/A, we are delighted with the success of our pupils. The achievements haven’t stopped at A level either, with 40% of applied general grades being Distinction*. It has been a day of celebrations all round.

He added: “Our focus is ensuring each of the pupils we serve moves onto the next step on their journey. We are confident, that with the outcomes they have achieved this year, the vast majority of pupils have been accepted at their first-choice university, apprenticeship or workplace. For those who has missed out, we have a great support network available to them to ensure that they can move on to a different but still successful future.

The proportion of A or A* grades across England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 27.2%, down from a peak of 44.8% during the pandemic. The fall in grades this year is steepest in England, where 26.5% received the top grade (compared to 35.9% in 2022). In Wales, 34% received the top grade (compared to 40.9% in 2022) and 37.5% in Northern Ireland (compared to 44% in 2022).

For more information about BCCET, please visit www.bccet.org.uk.