Trent College Head, Mr Bill Penty, has described the school’s close to best ever A-level results as “the icing on an already fantastic cake” as students celebrated their achievements today (Thursday 17 August).
Despite national concerns around the volatility created by new style qualifications in 13 subjects this year, Trent College’s A-level results were up across the board on last year, with an almost 8% increase in the number of results graded at A*-B – from 62.5% to 70.3% – and a rise of 12% in the grades at the top A* and A rankings (32% 2016, 44% 2017). The school’s overall pass rate is 99.4%.
Matthew Jackson, who started his school life in the nursery at Trent College’s junior school The Elms, was Trent College’s top performer with 4A*s and he is one of four students who are now heading to Oxbridge universities.
Computer Science at Cambridge awaits Matthew, while Cambridge is also the destination for Music student Pia Rose Scatttergood, who got 1A* and 3As. Meanwhile Joe Sisson and Fin Willits, who have been partners on the school’s debating team for the past two years, are both Oxford-bound, Joe (5As) to study PPE and Fin (2A* 1A) History.
After opening their envelopes, all four candidates paid tribute to the breadth of extra-curricular opportunity they have enjoyed in providing the work-life balance that has enabled them to achieve their academic ambitions.
Matthew, who as well as playing various sports has been part of the school’s debating team and Combined Cadet Force (CCF), said: “It’s not about being chained to a desk studying, Trent do a really good job of making sure you do other things and the stress of exams has been relieved so much because we have had all these other things to do.”
Fin, who opted to board for his two years of Sixth Form, agrees: “Debating is still a relatively new thing here but it was so important in the Oxford prep because the interview asks very abstract questions so you have to be ready to think on your feet in the same way as you do in debating. It’s been great for building my confidence too.”
Joe added: “The past two years have been challenging and incredibly rewarding. Doing 5 A-levels, the teachers have been really supportive and make sure you never feel like you have too much on your plate.”
Meanwhile Derby City and County Youth Orchestra principal flautist and holder of five Grade 8 music certificates, Pia Rose, admitted it was her love of performing cultivated throughout Trent that led to her applying to study Music.
She said: “I always had my eye on Oxbridge as I really wanted to challenge myself academically and be with the best musicians. I changed my mind about what I wanted to study every week! So I just thought I should go with doing something I love. I was six when I first started playing the flute but I never thought it would go this far.”
Maths was the best performing subject, with 47 of the 102 A-level candidates (46% of year group) sitting the exam, achieving 85% of results at A*-B. Further Maths (100%) and English Literature (83%) also produced standout results as did a new edition to the Trent College A-level curriculum, Photography (83%).
In a year of memorable sporting, performance and artistic highs, the U18 rugby team’s Natwest Vase victory at Twickenham in March was certainly one of the highlights. One of the team, Issac Smith, secured 3As to study Medicine at Manchester.
He said: “It’s been an incredible couple of months; the high of Twickenham and now this. It was very difficult to come off that high and go into study mode but it helped that all the boys worked together to get into the hard work.”
The team’s captain, Andrew Brown, who missed the final through injury, is now off to Leeds to do Management and Human Resource with 2A*s 1A. He added: “At the time it hurt a lot not to play at Twickenham, but the feeling now makes up for that. You come to school to get your grades and move on and I could not be happier.”
In addition, head of the school’s Academic Forum and netballer, Amy Beresford, will study medicine having achieved 3A*s while England U21 hockey star and Trent College U18 hockey captain, Paige Gillott achieved 3As, and Pheobe Badcock, first team hockey goalkeeper and Grade 8 bassoon player, scored 2A* and 2As to study Maths at Warwick.
Ali McCulloch ended his Trent College journey as Head of School, leader of the orchestra (violin) and member of the hockey first team. Having achieved 3A* 1A to study International Relations at St Andrews he admitted he loved seeing his year group celebrating today.
“A lot of people have got into their university of choice; the look on their faces was really good to see. You have seen each other on day one at school in Year 7 and now you have shared today with them, it’s been great to be part of it.”
Mr Penty concluded: “In a year of anticipated volatility we are delighted that has not materialised at Trent College and we are in fact very close to a record year. The breadth of academic curriculum mirrors what we stand for as a school in the opportunities we offer. This has been a sensational year group who have done us proud and this is the icing on an already fantastic cake. They have been exemplary in all fields.”