Hereford Cathedral School students enjoyed outstanding successes again in the 2021 A-Level and GCSE results, despite the challenges presented in these unprecedented times.
This summer’s A-Level results have been impressive across the board, with excellent outcomes in all departments including Maths and the Sciences, the Arts, languages and the EPQ (Extended Project Qualification). Over two thirds of all grades awarded were A*/A (or the equivalent) and almost three quarters of all students secured nothing less than a B grade in their exams.
Outstanding individual achievements include Will P and Polly S, both of whom will be heading to Cambridge University this autumn. The pair have scooped ten A* grades between them.
Will P (above left) who gained a clean sweep of A*s in Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Further Maths and Music, will read Natural Sciences, while Polly S (above right) will be studying Classics, having achieved 4 A*s in English Literature, Latin, Maths and Spanish. She had previously achieved an A* in A-Level French which she took in Year 10.
Polly said: "I joined HCS in Year 7. All the teachers have been so lovely and I’ve especially enjoyed coming into Sixth Form. It’s been really nice to have people caring about you.”
Will added: “It’s been really good here and my teachers have been really helpful - and they let me do five A-Levels which was nice!”
A further nine pupils also achieved all A* grades, including Liberty M who gained the top grade in Art, Biology, Chemistry and Maths. Along with Isobel P (A*A*A), Jake H (A*A*A*), and Laura B (A*A*A), Liberty has won a place to study medicine at university.
Liberty (above, third from left), who alongside her studies competes in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and has held the title of European Jr Jiu-Jitsu Champion, will miss how close she has felt to her teachers and fellow pupils: "The thing I’ll always remember about HCS is the sense of community here. I’ve really enjoyed having a year group where you know everyone and everyone supports each other."
Fellow medic Laura B (above, far right) joined the school in Year 9 and has thrown herself into all aspects of school life alongside her academic work, becoming a Cadet Head of Section in the CCF and Chairman of the Debating Society. She said: “The extra-curricular is what has made this school for me. When I came into the school I would never have considered joining CCF but I’ve loved it and the same with debating. They’ve been amazing – I think they’ve been really important in terms of leadership and working with other people.”
After a Gap year, Laura will study Medicine at Cardiff University and has her sights set on an interesting career ahead: "I’m really interested in aid work in medicine so I think that’s something I’d really like to go and do.”
Alongside outstanding A-Levels results, Hereford Cathedral School pupils have also achieved fantastic grades in the EPQ (Extended Project Qualifications). Both Tom C and Tom B (pictured below) gained top A* grades for their efforts.
The EPQ offers students the opportunity to extend their love of learning with the chance to study an area of their choice. For Tom B (A*A*A*A*), this meant extending his interest in computing to app design: "In my EPQ I developed an app called Work Out Your Workout, and I published it to the Google Play Store. It's basically all about helping people work out their work-out plans during lockdown."
The arts subjects have also seen an excellent set of results. One exceptional drama student, Alfie J (below left), joined the school in Sixth Form and has won himself a place at the prestigious Mountview Academy - one of the most sought-after drama schools in the UK.
Alfie credits the school’s teachers with putting him on the right path for his hoped-for future career: "Thousands apply [to Mountview] and 35 people get in so I feel really lucky to have got a place. I joined HCS into the Sixth Form and I’m so grateful to the arts teachers especially. I wouldn’t have been able to go to Mountview without their support."
Bethan G (above right) who achieved two D*s (distinction *) in Sport BTEC (equivalent to two A-Levels) and an A in Art Textiles is similarly grateful for her teachers’ support and encouragement: “I’ve been here since Nursery all the way through. It’s hard to put it into words but I’ve loved every single bit of being at HCS. The amount of support that we’ve had from our teachers has been amazing and the idea that we can just go up to them at any time has been brilliant.”
She added: “I’m so happy! I really enjoyed the creative aspect of both my subjects and now I’m going on to Cardiff Met to do Sport, PE & Health.”
There were equally impressive results for the school’s GCSE pupils with the Sciences, Latin, Music, PE and Drama being of particular note.
Keira T, one of the school’s top performers, achieved an amazing eight 9s and four 8s and is looking forward to studying Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Further Maths in the sixth form. She said “It’s been months of revision and hard work that went into it and I’m so happy that it’s paid off in the end.
“[At HCS] you know the teachers are there, not just for the teaching side of things, but for you as a person.”
The Music department has achieved great things again this year with just under three quarters of students achieving the top grades 9-7 (A*/A).
For Isabel D (pictured below, front left), a member of many of the school's choirs, orchestras and instrumental ensembles, music was just one of her fantastic results as she bagged all grade 9s and one 8. She credits her love of music as a real saviour to her during lockdown: "Being at home practising every day and enjoying it is one of the things that got me through lockdown."
Isabel enjoyed the opportunity to perform again in the school's open air summer concerts saying, "It was really great, quite unusual at first, but it was great to see the audiences again and entertaining them."
Dimity S (far right, back row) who achieved all grade 9s, one 8 and one 7 in her GCSEs today, is similarly committed to her musical pursuits. Alongside her school studies at HCS, Dimity is also part of the Royal College of Music in London, but with a lot of hard work has been able to find a balance that paid off: "I enjoy what I do so it doesn't seem like a chore!" Dimity had previously achieved a grade 9 in GCSE French when she was in just Year 8.
Three other outstanding GCSE students who achieved all 8s and 9s, Thomas P, Ed M and Ioan O (pictured above), gave credit to the school’s remote learning programme. Ioan said “the support has been astonishing” while Thomas agreed “The support from my teachers has been great, I couldn’t expect more.”
Ed found opening his envelope this morning nerve wracking but said “All the teachers have been working their absolute hardest to make sure that everyone gets everything they need and the online learning support was amazing.” He is looking forward to studying Biology, Chemistry, French and Economics in the sixth form.
Academic Deputy, Alex Hartley, has been impressed with pupils and staff alike: “I’d like to congratulate all our pupils for their success in their GCSEs qualifications. There is no doubt that these results are well earned after what has been the most demanding of years.
“I would also like to thank our outstanding team of teachers for their efforts, and in particular for the quality of our online programme which has been so beneficial in maintaining each and every student’s progress.”
Paul Smith, Headmaster, congratulated the students on their endeavours through what has been a challenging period: "The last 18 months have been a particularly challenging time for pupils and staff. Today's results are a testament to the determination and resilience of pupils, and the hard work and professionalism of staff in adapting to the various demands of remote teaching.
“I congratulate all pupils and staff for the GCSE, A-Level, EPQ and BTEC results this week and commend them all for their endeavours during these exceptional times."