Success for Portsmouth College as students bring A-level grades back up to standard

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DELIGHTED students and teachers are celebrating after bringing A-level grades back up to standard.

Portsmouth College has been praised for getting a 97 per cent pass rate, with 49 per cent of students with high grades (A*-B). Those results are up four and one per cent respectively.

Students at Portsmouth College in Tangier Road, Portsmouth, collected their A-level results on Thursday, August 15. ''Pictured is: Tom Blain, 18,  from Portsmouth, achieved one A* and two As.''Picture: Sarah Standing (150819-5541)

Students at Portsmouth College in Tangier Road, Portsmouth, collected their A-level results on Thursday, August 15. ''Pictured is: Tom Blain, 18, from Portsmouth, achieved one A* and two As.''Picture: Sarah Standing (150819-5541)

Among the high achievers was maths fanatic Tom Blain, 18, from Cosham, who was delighted with an A* in maths, and two As in further maths and computer science.

Tom was home schooled by tutors between Year 9 and Year 11 after leaving Portsmouth Grammar School and only returned to the classroom for college.

READ MORE: Brainy Portsmouth College student eyes Nasa career as A-level grades open a pathway to the stars

He said: ‘Weirdly enough I’m one of those people who loves maths and and wanted (to study it at university) for a long time – since I was in junior school.

Students at Portsmouth College in Tangier Road, Portsmouth, collected their A-level results on Thursday, August 15. ''Pictured is: 17-year-old James Robinson.''Picture: Sarah Standing (150819-3500)

Students at Portsmouth College in Tangier Road, Portsmouth, collected their A-level results on Thursday, August 15. ''Pictured is: 17-year-old James Robinson.''Picture: Sarah Standing (150819-3500)

‘I’m pretty good at it, and I’m not good at anything else. Luckily, it’s a course which leads to some good prospects. I find it the most fun.’

He missed out on a place at Cambridge but was delighted to have gone through the process that pushed him to improve.

‘I got so much better at maths, really pushing myself,’ he said.

Southsea-based 18-year-old Lacey Burr’s attendance in her A-level psychology classes plunged to 25 per cent due to difficult personal reasons.

Students at Portsmouth College in Tangier Road, Portsmouth, collected their A-level results on Thursday, August 15. ''Pictured is: Sabine Newman, 18, who got three As and Libby Gissing, 18, who got two As and one A*.''Picture: Sarah Standing (150819-5484)

Students at Portsmouth College in Tangier Road, Portsmouth, collected their A-level results on Thursday, August 15. ''Pictured is: Sabine Newman, 18, who got three As and Libby Gissing, 18, who got two As and one A*.''Picture: Sarah Standing (150819-5484)

But that did not stop her scoring an A grades in biology and psychology and a Distinction* in health and social. She said: ‘I’m really glad.’

READ MORE: Live updates on A-level results day in Portsmouth, Havant, Gosport and Fareham

Her mum Maria Burr, 35, added: ‘I’m very proud, she hasn’t had the easiest time at college.’

Teenager James Robinson, from Baffins, swung into college before going to his insurance job in Portsmouth.

The 17-year-old, who picked up an A in politics, a B in history and C in geography,  said: ‘I was a little bit nervous. Because I’m not going to university I wasn’t quite as nervous but I was a little on edge.’

James hopes to get an apprenticeship at BAE Systems.

Solicitor hopeful Sam O’Donnell, 18, said he has ‘had enough of education’ and is pursuing a law apprenticeship course.

Sam, from Baffins, was rewarded with Bs psychology and now plans a year out but already has a work placement lined up.

READ MORE: Grades from schools and colleges in Portsmouth, Gosport, Fareham and Havant as they come in

He said: ‘I don’t really want to go to university because the idea of having to go through education again, I don’t want to, and it’s a lot more work.’

Principal Simon Barrable said: ‘I am extremely proud of all our Portsmouth College students for the excellent set of results they have achieved today.

‘They are a testament to all the hard work, determination, resilience and sheer talent that our students possess in abundance.’

Portsmouth College student James Baxter, 18, from Fratton, secured an A* in graphic communications, an AS in photography and digital film.

He is taking a gap year while working out which university to attend but was shocked what he got.

The South African national, the son of a postman and teacher, said: ‘I’m speechless, I wasn’t expecting that it’s a bit of a shock to me. It’s still taking a moment to sink in.’

James hopes to study graphics or illustration.

Education cabinet member at Portsmouth City Council, Councillor Suzy Horton, was at the college this morning.

Cllr Horton said: ‘For the (students) I’ve met so far it’s been good news and big congratulations to them, and their lecturers and teachers who helped with that success.’