Students at Birkenhead Sixth Form College are once again celebrating record A Level and BTEC results, as this year’s grades even topped 2018’s outstanding performance.

The Class of 2019 achieved more than 50% high grades of A* to B at A Level and Distinction* and Distinction in BTECs.

Pass rates stand at 99%, with many of the 40 individual subjects available to study at the College boasting 100% passes in the first year that every A Level course has fully reverted back to being examined at the end of the two years of teaching, bringing fresh challenges to both teachers and learners.

Hannah Davies celebrates with her mum

The impressive results will now allow 90% of students to go onto their first choice universities, along with a growing number gaining places on prestigious and hugely competitive higher apprenticeships with the likes of Unilever.

Figures will also reveal that students at the College continue to lead the way in achieving more from their starting points than many of their counterparts in selective schools in the region.

Principal at Birkenhead Sixth Form College, Mike Kilbride, said: “We’re in the wonderful position of sounding rather repetitive about the success of our students, as we see it each and every year. To say that is not coming from a place of arrogance either, it’s a complete confidence that we have the right systems and processes in place to get the best out of the young people studying here.

“That the College has, once again, done so well only matters in as much as this represents the success of hundreds of individuals.  We take pride in what they have done and in how they have grown in their time with us and now wish them all the very best as they move on to the next stage of their lives and careers.”

Mike continued: “Another outstanding set of results delivered by dedicated staff and enjoyed by a wonderful group of young people - well done to everybody.

“These results, achieved through hard work and excellent teaching, cement our position as the preeminent post-16 academic provider on the Wirral.”

Jack Fitzpatrick with his mum


Individual achievements and stories shine through on A Level Results Day

While overall statistics take the headlines on A Level Results Day, it’s easy to forget that the grades, the pass rates and the progress scores are all about the individual stories behind the young people sitting those exams.

Each student comes to Birkenhead Sixth Form College from a different background, both personally and educationally, and begins a new chapter in their life having left their old high schools.

Hamza Jouma only moved to the UK four years ago from Syria with his family. Coming to the College after completing his GCSEs at The Birkenhead Park School, Hamza had his sights set on becoming a doctor. This Results Day, he got the A Level grades to allow him to go to the University of Liverpool to study Medicine.

Hamza with fellow student Adam

Hamza said: “My time at College has been really enjoyable – the teachers were great and all the staff are really nice and helpful. It’s been a good experience. I couldn’t pick out a particular highlight, it’s just everything added up to having a good time, and to finish my time here coming out with the grades that I wanted makes it all the better.”

Hamza’s brother Abdou graduated from the College at the same time last year, and has just finished his first year at the University of Central Lancashire, also reading Medicine.

Hamza explained: “It was my plan to become a doctor before it was his, so I’ll say that he’s following in my footsteps rather than the other way around!”

Former Woodchurch High School student, Hannah Bendrey, is now headed to Leeds University to study Law, having discovered her passion for the subject since starting at Birkenhead Sixth Form College.

The intense morning of Results Day was made even more so for Hannah as she volunteered to open her results live on national television, hoping for the three As she needed to get into her first choice university.

Although she was disappointed with achieving a C in one subject, she outdid her own expectations by receiving A*s in both Law and Psychology, and her place at Leeds was confirmed.

Hannah said: “It was so nerve-racking this morning, I didn’t even know where to look. When I saw the C, my heart sank but the two A*s were just so unexpected. It’s been an amazing two years, I’ve loved it.”

Hannah was even hospitalised with appendicitis during the exam period, and she said: “I was in hospital for a week and totally wiped out for a week after that, so there was a two week period of no revision, so to come out with two A*s makes me really proud. I think it shows that it’s not just about the exams and the build up to them; it’s about putting the work in across the whole two years.”

Hannah’s mum added: “I’m thrilled. Absolutely thrilled. These results are always so unpredictable so I was preparing Hannah for the worst, even though I know that she’s so capable of doing incredibly well. To come out with these results had made me very proud, and I think the two years at College has been the making of her. It was definitely the right decision, and she’s found something that she really loves in Law.”

Earning places on higher apprenticeships schemes at organisations such as Unilever is extremely competitive, and even comparable to being offered places at the Oxbridge universities, so student Louisa Hawksworth was extremely pleased to earn a place in their data analytics team.

Having gone through a two month application process, Louisa’s excellent final grades sealed her apprenticeship position, as she excelled in her IT BTEC qualification.

Louisa said: “I’ve put in a lot of hard work over the two years. I put hours and hours into my coursework and I’m really feeling that effort paying off now. I thought that Unilever would only want to take people studying A Levels but this just shows that BTECs are equally valuable.

“I’m made up. My dad is as well. He always believed in me but I think it’s just a bit unreal that it’s happened.”

On her future career plans, Louisa said: “I’d like to stay with Unilever but if I move on to something different, I know I’ll take the skills that I’ve learnt at College and what I’ll learn from working there with me wherever I go.”

Nikita Louwes took the decision to move to the UK from the Netherlands to study for her A Levels.

Nikita said: “I wanted to work in the film industry and the opportunities here are far better than in the Netherlands. It couldn’t have worked out better for me right now.”

Nikita (left), like Hannah, also opened her results live on national TV

Despite sitting her A Levels in her second language, Nikita got an A and two Bs and got into her first choice university.

She said: “There have been a few times where I’ve doubted myself, especially leading up to Results Day. I know I can do it in Dutch, but I was worried about doing it in English – do I speak the language well enough, did I understand the questions? But it’s all seemed to work out fine!”