Monthly Archives: August 2013

Making the grade: Sussex students excel in A-levels

A brave student has defied a life-threatening illness to accomplish four top grades at A-level.

Aisling Lyle, 18, has suffered from rare pulmonary hypertension since she was 13 and was forced to overlook a month of faculty in her first term.

Despite this, she scooped an excellent A* in textiles, A in history, B in English literature and B in drama at Varndean College, Brighton.

Courageous Aisling was not alone in overcoming adversity to secure top grades.

Tom Woodward, 18, underwent three rounds of chemotherapy in the midst of his exams after being diagnosed with testicular cancer over Easter.

The Brighton College student went directly to achieve an A* in psychology and As in history and English to secure an area at Bristol University.

Aisling and Tomwere most of the thousands of A-level pupils in Sussex to be celebrating yesterday.

Sussex schools maintained their high pass rates, but top marks have slipped, per the national average.

Aisling told The Argus she now desires to become a teacher after being inspired by her grandparents.

She said: “I just can’t believe I got the grades especially as I missed lots to visit hospital appointments in London or for blood tests after which it may be exhausting then having to meet up with college work while being ill.

“Both my grandparents were history teachers and i’m so grateful to my teachers for the support they’ve given me.

“I think that has sort of inspired me to need to become a teacher.”

There isn’t a cure to Aisling’s condition and he or she must constantly have medication pumped into her heart through a tube.

The serious condition can damage the proper side of the guts, making it less efficient at pumping blood across the body and getting oxygen to the muscles.

She said: “It really affects my breathing and my heart can’t take an excessive amount of pressure and doesn’t function normally.”

Aisling is applying to Warwick University to read history in September 2014.

She added: “I would like to take a while out over the following year to target seeing my family and focus on my music.”

Rugby player Tom, of Lewes, told The Argus of the strain of tackling cancer and his exam.

He said: “It was pretty stressful but i did not have any choice and that i just needed to get on with it.

I’m pretty relieved now.

Celebratiing “I were given the all-clear and that i just must have check-ups done every three months.

“It wasn’t too bad because I had the chemo round my exams.”

School-leavers were celebrating yesterday after receiving above average A-level pass rates.

A standard of 98.74% within the city received passes within the exams – higher than the national average of 98.1%.

Greater than half grades achieved by A-level students in Brighton and Hove schools and colleges were inside the top grades A*- B range.

But per national trends the choice of students getting top marks fell.


While BHASVIC managed a 2% increase in pupils getting A*-B grades, Blatchington, Cardinal Newman and Varndean all recorded decreases.

Independent schools maintained impressively high standards with 100% pass rates and increases in top marks.

Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA), that is undergoing a prime transformation, posted a 95% pass-rate, the bottom within the city.

Paul Shellard, Brighton and Hove secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said: “We would say the best way A-levels had been rubbished recently isn’t helping to nurture young people’s potential.

“I’m not likely surprised by the drop because loads is as a result political interference.

“It appears to be practicing an agenda and about doing something quickly and never in keeping with what the community and professionals want.”

The percentage of top grade A-levels has now fallen for the second one year in a row.

The most recent drop comes amid rising numbers of teenagers taking A-levels in science and maths – which was suggested because the explanation for the drop.

The University of Sussex said it was demanding better grades from students this year.

A spokeswoman said: “The A-level grades we ask for at Sussex have risen year on year because the quality of our intake has risen.”


Thousands of pupils were waiting nervously for his or her A-level results yesterday.

Students lined up along the corridors of schools, huddling with friends, watching for the instant they may discover their fate.

But despite being the topic of a political debate and being told A-levels were “too easy”, grades remained high – albeit dipping slightly.

Greater than half grades achieved by A-level students in Sussex schools and colleges were within the top grades A*-B range.

The national breakdown of results shows the general pass rate rose marginally to 98.1% and this mirrors ends up in the city’s and county’s schools and colleges.

BHASVIC was one college which beat the national trend and posted increased top A-level grades.

Greater than 900 students sat the exams in June 2013, with 98% of scholars passing overall and 60% achieving the head A*, A and B grades.

Charlotte Hones, 18, of Worthing, got two As and two A*s.

She said: “I’m shocked. It’s quite a bit better than expected, i will not believe it. It hasn’t sunk in yet. The work has finally paid off.

“I’m going to name my parents now and tell them the excellent news.”

Alice Chapman, 18, of Lewes, got three As despite having glandular fever on the time.

She said: “I’m really relieved because i used to be quite ill on the time. I’m going to King’s College London. I didn’t have the center to envision online but I’m so happy now.”

Joe Powell, 17, of Brighton, got an enormous 100% in his maths and physics AS-level exams.

He said: “I’m so happy. i used to be hoping for high marks but I didn’t think it will happen. It’s really easy to make small mistakes. It’s still sinking in.

“I wish to stay alongside of maths and notice what happens.”

Not everyone was pleased though.

Student Amelia Torrens-Johnson, 17, said: “I’m not happy. I didn’t do brilliantly in any respect. I’m quite a calming out person but when i used to be sensitive it’d be very different.

“I’m going to need to try to visit another university.

“I did try really hard and located the exams really hard. i guess I’m quite a negative person on the subject of talking about myself.”

Principal Chris Thomson said: “BHASVIC has received national recognition for its ability to consistently deliver good quality teaching and learning.

“This is a thrilling and nerve wracking day and i’m proud that when again, BHASVIC students have achieved outstanding results.

“I wish to congratulate everyone involved – schools, parents and specially our excellent staff and scholars.”

Independent school Brighton College celebrated a record-breaking year.

The Sunday Times UK School of the Year is the sole school in England to enhance its results each year for seven years.

Nearly 100 pupils achieved AAA or better of their results with 20 securing places at Oxford or Cambridge.

Headmaster Richard Cairns: “I am delighted for the men and women of Brighton College.

“They have once more achieved the head grades in Sussex without ever losing their sense of fun or their commitment to life beyond the study room.

“So a lot of those celebrating places at Oxford or Cambridge today were top sportsmen, dancers, artists and musicians. That they have got found time to excel academically in addition is actually humbling and encouraging.”

Year 11 Dorothy Stringer students were celebrating a 90% pass rate yesterday – despite taking their AS-level exams a year early.

Headteacher Richard Bradford said: “We are committed to providing opportunities for our more able students to stretch themselves beyond what’s normally expected.

“Their success in these exams is all the way down to their exertions and that in their teachers and we’re all extremely happy with them”.

Sixth formers at Brighton and Hove Highschool for ladies were celebrating a 100% pass rate with almost half achieving A*-A grades and 79% B and above.

Meera Patel, 18, of Brighton, said: “I’m going to Imperial College to check chemical engineering. It’s a male-dominated field so I’m breaking the mold.

“I’m really hopeful for it. I don’t knowwhat to assert – I’m ecstatic!”

Ellie Thompson, 18, of, Brighton, said: “I’ve got a spot at Oxford to read law. i believe great but a piece weird.

“It seems like tons of exertions. i need to be a human rights solicitor.

I’ve got the summer off to celebrate then i must get packing.”

Headteacher Jennifer Smith said: “We was delighted with the girls’ exertions and commitment and each of the staff and governors at Brighton and Hove like to congratulate them on their achievements.

Delighted “We are so happy with our sixth form where girls have excelled in this type of broad range of subjects and from where we’re sending undergraduates to better education establishments starting from St Edmund Hall, Oxford to Imperial College and St. Martin’s School of Art.”

Varndean College was “delighted” with the success of its students who maintained a magnificent 98% pass rate with 48% achieving A*-B.

Emily Grimble, 18, said: “It feels really, fantastic. I’m doing an art foundation year but now i do know what grades I’ve got i will start taking a look at universities.

“I’m undecided where i need to head but probably one of the vital main art colleges in London.”

George Houghton, 18, of Brighton, told The Argus: “I wish to study history at King’s College London or Royal Holloway but I’m torn between the 2 because I’m just under my first choice but above my second choice.

“I thought I had got an A and 2 Bs though so it was a pleasing surprise.

“For two months it’s a concept on your head and this morning you awaken and think ‘oh God, it’s here’. It’s a relief to finally know.”

College principal Dr Philip Harland said: “We must keep in mind that behind these figures lie countless individual student success stories in any respect levels.

“Our A-level success follows our equally impressive International Baccalaureate leads to July.”

At Hove Park sixth formalmost 40% of A-levels and BTECs taken on the school were awarded an A*-B grade – up from 25% last year.

The whole pass mark was 99% – described as an important achievement for college kids and staff.

Headteacher Derek Trimmer said: “Even though nationally exams have become tougher, Hove Park School and sixth form continues to buck the fashion.

“We are always working to narrow the distance between our students and scholars within the top schools within the country and our sixth form has made an immense leap towards that this year.”

Blatchington Mill School had a 97% pass rate with 74% of grades A*-C – equal to its record achievement last year.

Deputy head Ashley Harrold said: “This was another excellent year for Blatchington Mill Sixth Form results. Building upon the success from 2012, where the college got the top result of the past five years, results are again the highest Blatch has ever achieved.”

Students at Cardinal Newman Catholic Sixth Form College were a “credit to themselves”, with one student achieving 4 A* grades.

Headteacher Dr James Kilmartin said: “The students are a credit to themselves, their families and the college. They fully deserve their success and that i know that they’re going to are looking to join me in thanking their teachers for the support and advice which has made a gigantic contribution to their success.

“We wish our students the best for the longer term, which for lots of of them will include taking on places at one of the crucial country’s best universities, including Oxford.”

Roedean Independent School had an overall pass rate of 100% with 94.9% getting A*-C.

Headmistress Frances King said: “I am delighted that our additional investment in teaching and learning is already paying dividends with regards to higher grades. Furthermore, our encouragement of independent learning – so prized by both universities and employers – is being acknowledged by some outstanding ends in the Extended Project Qualification.”

Meanwhile Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA) got an overall A-level pass rate of 95% but a Btech pass rate of 100%.

As portion of the £12.7m refurbishment of its Chalky Road campus PACA would be opening a new sixth form centre within the autumn.

Principal James Fox said: “I wish to congratulate our students and want them well of their future careers.”

Councillor Sue Shanks, chair of Brighton and Hove City Council’s children and youth committee, said: “I am delighted with the outcomes achieved by the city’s students of their A and AS-levels, supported by their many able and talented teachers in addition to their parents or carers.

“It’s great to determine the ongoing improvement in ends in the college sixth forms, and the continued excellent ends up in the sixth form colleges which might be a cause for far celebration.

“I wish your entire students every success with their next steps to better education, to employment or training or during a niche year.”

Ends in . . .now clearing

Now that A-level results were announced, universities are receiving a surge of phone calls from students trying to secure a spot during the clearing process.

Both the University of Sussex and the University of Brighton have spaces available for added students, with the University of Sussex even doing away with an entire page advert within the Guardian yesterday.

Places are expected to be snapped up quickly with the University of Sussex expecting most vacancies to be filled by the top of the weekend.

Like other universities within the country, Sussex is now allowed by the govt. to recruit unlimited numbers of UK and EU applicants who achieve A-level grades of ABB and above.

This suggests the establishment now has a capacity of as much as 2,900 new students, 200 of which it hopes will come through clearing.

Additionally, due to the new government funding, the university may be capable of consider applicants who may fall slightly under the specified ABB.

Rob Evans, head of admissions for the university, explained: “For example, if an applicant has achieved BBB grades at a university where the typical A-level performance is solely BCC, we’d recognise the aptitude demonstrated by this student, even though they’re seeking entry to a course at Sussex that normally requires AAB.”

On the University of Brighton, a limited variety of places can be found across courses, although fewer places compared to last year.

The recommendation being given to students is to take time to examine the UCAS website.

A spokesman for the University of Brighton said: “They have the desire to make sure that they’re prepared for this, perhaps make the effort to seize some fresh air after which take a seat in a quiet space where you could really specialise in the telephone calls that they have to make.

“If you’re made a suggestion, attempt to get to go to the university before the beginning of term, at Brighton we’re running open days for those students that can be coming to us through clearing.

“The principal thing is they make the precise choice for them.


2013 pass 2012 pass A*-B 2013 A*-B 2012 -/+%

Blatchington 97% 99% 46% 51% -5%
Cardinal Newman 98% 97.2% 43% 47.5% -4.5%
Varndean College 98% 97.7% 48% 58.5% -10.5%
B&H High 100% 100% 79% 77% +2%
Brighton College 100% 100% 96% 96.3% +3.3%
Roedean 100% 100% 82% 80% +2%
PACA 95%
Hove Park 99% 100% 40% 41% -1%
BHASVIC 98% 98.2% 60% 58% +2%
Average 98.74% 99% 61.75% 63.6%


Students make the grade as A-level results pop out

Nervous pupils might be opening their exam results today – but early indications suggest a bumper year with record results.

Despite promising to make school exams harder, Sussex schools last night reported improved A-level results.

Education Secretary Michael Gove has criticised exam standards, saying too many university undergraduates were getting A grades.

Yet despite a promise of “more rigorous” exams, A-level students seem to have overcome the hurdle.

Brighton Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College (BHASVIC) students achieved “outstanding” results with greater than 900 students getting a 98% pass rate overall, with 60% getting top A*, A and B grades.

Out of 40 subjects, 22 had 100% pass rates, with many students gaining three or more A grades.

Students taking AS-levels also improved to an overall pass rate of 91%, with 50% achieving A-B grades.

Principal Chris Thomson said: “BHASVIC has received national recognition for its ability to consistently deliver top of the range teaching and learning.

“This is a thrilling and nerve-racking day and i’m proud that when again, BHASVIC students have achieved outstanding results.

“I wish to congratulate everyone involved: schools, parents and in particular our excellent staff and scholars.”

Independent school Brighton College will have achieved the appropriate cause the county and is celebrating a record-breaking year.

The Sunday Times UK School of the Year is the sole school in England to enhance its results for seven consecutive years.

It achieved a 100% pass rate, with 96% of grades at A*-B and 99.6% of grades at A*-C.

Nearly 100 pupils achieved three As or better of their results, while 21 gained three A*s, with 20 pupils securing places at Oxford or Cambridge.

Headmaster Richard Cairns said: “I am delighted for the men and ladies of Brighton College.

They have got again achieved the head grades in Sussex without ever losing their sense of fun or their commitment to life beyond the lecture room.

“So a lot of those celebrating today had been top sportsmen, dancers, artists and musicians.

That they’ve found time also to excel academically is both humbling and provoking.”

Pupils at Dorothy Stringer are celebrating another type of success after 90% of Year 11 students taking their AS exams a year early passed.

The 70 maths, philosophy and ethics and French pupils achieved 48% As or Bs.

Headteacher Richard Bradford said: “We are committed to providing opportunities for our more able students to stretch themselves beyond what’s normally expected. Their success in these exams is right down to their labor and that in their teachers and we’re all extremely pleased with them.”

Independent boarding school Roedean also celebrated a 100% pass rate, with 94.9% getting A*-C and 54.9% A*-A.

Headmistress Frances King said: “I am delighted that our additional investment in teaching and learning is already paying dividends when it comes to higher grades.

“Furthermore, our encouragement of independent learning – so prized by both universities and employers – is being acknowledged by some outstanding leads to the Extended Project Qualification.”

Specialist technology college Varndean was delighted to disclose its students had maintained its impressive academic record.

It achieved an overall pass rate of 98% with 48% achieving A*-B, 71% achieving A*-C and two-thirds of all subjects achieved a 100% pass rate.

College Principal Dr Philip Harland said: “Our students continue to illustrate their exertions and commitment – they thoroughly deserve their success.

“I would also desire to thank my staff for his or her dedication achieve these excellent results. We must keep in mind that behind these figures lie countless individual student success stories in any respect levels.

“Our A-level success follows our equally impressive International Baccalaureate leads to July. Yet again Varndean College looks set to have outstanding value added this year.”

Varndean College is the sole college in Brighton and Hove designated by the govt to give the International Baccalaureate Diploma, that’s now in its sixth year, and this year achieved the very best ends up in the united kingdom with a pass rate of 100%.

Sixth form Worthing College recorded record pass rates of 97% with 41.6% of scholars achieving A*-B.

Nearly 60 students achieved three or four A grades or equivalent at A-level or Advanced BTEC Diplomas.

Worthing College principal Peter Corrigan said: “We are extremely happy with the wonderful achievements of our students.

“This is a just reward for all of the exertions and energy of scholars and staff.

“These results reflect the standard of educating and learning we provide.

“We wish our students every success of their future at university or on earth of labor.

“We have now moved to our state-of-the-art new college on the Warren and anticipate welcoming our students, who may have the perfect student experience in outstanding facilities.”

Lancing College is toasting some outstanding individual results with a pass rate of 99.7% and 93.2% getting A*-C grades.

Headmaster Jonathan Gillespie said: “I congratulate our students on their splendid achievements at A-level.

“Our sixth formers have gained outstanding leads to a variety of the foremost challenging academic subjects, and they’re going to now go directly to study at elite universities both in theUK and additional afield.

“These grades represent the culmination of much labor and exuberance at the portion of our students who’ve been encouraged throughout their time at Lancing by inspirational staff.”

Not all schools were ready to provide results because the Argus went to press.

Attempted arson at University of Sussex

For those whose labor has not paid off, the University of Sussex has offered advice to concerned school leavers.

Professor Clare Mackie, pro vice-chancellor for teaching and learning on the University of Sussex, said: “First off – don’t panic!

“Keep calm and ensure you check out your whole options instead of rushing into clearing and picking a college and course that during the long run will not be a sensible choice for you.

“It’d be that you’d be deferring for a year to work, travel or gain other qualifications, all of in an effort to assist you make a much better informed number of university for next year.

“If you’re keen to get into university now, there’s advice and guidance available – out of your schools and A-level colleges and the colleges themselves, so don’t treat unexpected results because the end of the realm.

“And thanks to Government changes to the numbers of scholars universities can admit, it could be that there are still a lot of suitable degree courses from that you may choose, and from quite a lot of universities.

“Ultimately, be aspirational.

Set your sights high but after all, be realistic. Select a course that you really want to do and would enjoy after which choose one of the best university you may get into.”

Prospective undergraduates can refer to UCAS online to go looking for available courses through clearing in addition to with individual universities who would be posting clearing news on their websites.

An admissions team may be to be had at Sussex’s Falmer campus during results week to present advice and explain the method for gaining a spot on the university.

Open days could be hung on campus from Thursday to Saturday for offer-holding students if you’re ready to visit.

Check the web site for details or ask the hotline team for info.

To determine more call the hotline on 01273 678416 or visit and choose Home/EU vacancies.

2013 pass-rate A*, A and B grade 2012 pass-rate

BHASVIC 98% 60% 98.2%
Brighton College 100% 96% 100%
Varndean 97% 41.6% 97.7%
Worthing College 97% 41.6% 97%
Lancing College 99.7% 93.2% 98.8%
Roedean 100% 94.9% 100%

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Parents at Portslade school may have to offer employer note to take term-time holiday

A headteacher has told parents they can be forced to produce letters from their employees in the event that they want to take their children on holiday during term time.

Michele Lawrie, of St Peter’s Community Infant and Nursery School in Portslade, said she will be requesting parents produce evidence from their bosses that they can not take their holiday entitlement at other time within the year.

This comes after it emerged average attendance for the summer term was 92% in comparison to 95% for the spring term.

She said she got a “huge shock” when she saw the St Peter’s Road school’s attendance figure and subsequently issued the warning to folks.

In a letter, taken home with children on the end of last month, she said: “The local authority deems anything below 95% as unsatisfactory, as a number of you are going to know out of your children’s reports, but if it drops below 92% it becomes a “cause for concern”.

“Next year, we will should be very tough on authorising a scarcity.

“Some of our neighbouring schools have a lot better attendance than us – West Hove Infants for instance has 97% so please, when you are desirous about booking holidays please don’t book them inside the 190 days that your child ought to be at college.

“Please book them within the other 175 which are available.

“Next year, it is usually essential to request that folks provide a letter from their employer to back up claims that no other holiday was available to them, and people requests for holiday in term time, at the basis of there being exceptional circumstances must be truly exceptional.”

Yesterday no person was available for comment on the school.

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said: “It is for individual headteachers to find out whether they will authorise a request for a kid to be absent from school for the aim of a family holiday.

“The guidance from the dept for Education on attendance has changed. The amendments clarify that headteachers might not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.

“Headteachers should determine the choice of school days a kid could be faraway from school if the leave is granted.”


Parents’ anger at Brighton school plan to drag up trees for all-weather pitch

Building an Astroturf sports facility at a city school have been met with disgust by residents and campaigners.

Plans for the synthetic pitch within the grounds of Dorothy Stringer School would mean the lack of some mature trees at the site.

The proposal, recommend by the college, is currently being consulted on with the general public, and no formal planning application have been submitted yet.

David MacDonald, member of Save Our faculty Trees, said: “Generally the sensation is shock and disgust that they need to construct this pitch besides the fact that children they may ought to reduce such a lot of trees.

“We have organize a petition and we’ve already gathered 260 signatures.

“If we will be able to get 500 it’s going to send the message that it shouldn’t go ahead and sports participation shouldn’t come before our environment.”

But headteacher at Dorothy Stringer Richard Bradford believes the pitch would get advantages the area’s wildlife.

He said: “In the past 15 years the college has planted greater than 3,000 trees, actively managed the piece of woodland behind the faculty to extend biodiversity and we now have created a brand new pond which pulls a good selection of wildlife.

“The proposal involves the removal and replanting of a few trees.

“A landscape method of tree planting is a necessary constituent of the project.”

Sporting talent

Personal trainer Charlie Mears, from HITFITSOUTH, said the floodlit facility could have a big positive impact at the health of scholars and the broader community.

He said: “I can understand people’s concerns and worries.

“However, in an afternoon and age were obesity in children is at an all-time high, combined with a chance to enjoy and potentially excel at sport, i’d support it.

“Health benefits aside, Sussex and Brighton especially have taken pride in producing young talent in various sports for years.

“Small things similar to this at Dorothy Stringer opens up an international of opportunities for children on the school that they might never have experienced, let alone the broader community.”

Tom Druitt, local wildlife campaigner and managing director of The gigantic Lemon, thinks the proposals must be checked out more carefully.

He said: “When i used to be campaigning for the tree at Seven Dials, i used to be told categorically that it was impossible to have both the tree and a secure roundabout.


Not enough land in Brighton and Hove for brand spanking new ‘big schools’

Education bosses have ruled out creating larger secondary schools in accordance with one big site as there isn’t enough available land.

Brighton and Hove City Council has forecast that it’s going to run out of secondary school places by 2017/18.

But, despite the kids already being inside the education system, local authority leaders dismissed claims there has been a crisis in the mean time.

Speaking at a council meeting, Sue Shanks, the council’s education spokeswoman, said: “We do have issues with secondary school places but in the mean time we do have lots of capacity both in a number of our maintained schools but in our two academies.”

She added: “Sites for secondary schools within the city, in common with many cities around the country, are very difficult to seek out.

“There certainly is probably not another Dorothy Stringer or something of that sort of size as we simply wouldn’t have the land within the city.

“We can be seeking smaller provision, maybe on several different sites, aside from Toad’s Hole Valley where we’ve already indicated we might desire to build a faculty.”

The response was provoked after a query from Conservative councillor Andrew Wealls.

Coun Wealls said he was “extremely concerned” on the loss of progress, adding: “I still think there are lots of of inquiries to be answered “The problem is an identical in that we seem like running around like headless chickens once a year attempting to find extra places. Forever we don’t have a strategic plan in place we’re constantly setting the hares running.”

Labour councillor Anne Pissaridou said: “I don’t think the Greens are doing enough.

“The trouble is we don’t know what they’re doing and each time we ask for an inventory of websites, they’re very reluctant.

Mile Oak Primary School in Portslade unveils walk of fame for bookworms

Keen bookworms were added to a distinct reading wall of fame to recognise their literary efforts.

The names of selected children from year six at Mile Oak Primary School in Portslade who’ve significantly contributed to the advance of the college reading culture of their time on the school, are added to the pavement walkway yearly.

This year Cerys Philips, Indiana Descombes, Ellie Descombes, Caitlyn Wykes and Olivia Gaffney have all been added to the Children’s Reading Wall of Fame.

The pavement was carved out of honed chivakaski granite by Gary Boxall from Artists in Stone, who’s well-known for producing the Brighton Walk of Fame at Brighton Marina.

The concept was developed with the assistance of David Courtney and his wife, Manon, who also established the walk of fame at Brighton Marina.