A-level results: Portsmouth High School sixth form boss praises pupils and digital resources for 'raising the bar' during lockdown

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A SIXTH form boss has hailed the ‘tremendous’ work of his pupils after they scored a higher percentage of top grades than their predecessors.

The praise from Rob Smith, of Portsmouth High School, came as 80 per cent of A-level learners yesterday received grades A* to B – a six per cent improvement on 2019.

Summer exams for A-level pupils across the nation were cancelled because of coronavirus, with grades calculated using schools' own predictions and national expectations from Ofqual.

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Mr Smith said: ‘It’s a strange old year. We would love for it to have been different but the girls will be in most instances very happy with their results.

Portsmouth High School A-level Results Day. Pictured is: Lowena Hull. Picture: Sally TillerPortsmouth High School A-level Results Day. Pictured is: Lowena Hull. Picture: Sally Tiller
Portsmouth High School A-level Results Day. Pictured is: Lowena Hull. Picture: Sally Tiller

‘We’re very much ready to support them and we’re looking forward to seeing our students go on and take up very, very decent offers at university.’

Pupil Lowena Hull, 18, from Rowlands Castle, scooped four A*s in maths, further maths, physics and chemistry.

She will now study physical natural sciences at the University of Cambridge.

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She said: ‘I know myself best of all and I know going into exams I would have done all the work I needed to do to get the grades I'm happy with.

'It was scary this year saying I have no influence over this, but I'm delighted.'

Olivia Cross, 17, from Fareham, also enjoyed a success story of her own – but was dubious over one of her grades.

She received an A* in art, an A in her extended project, a C in computer science and a D in maths.

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She said: ‘This year has been stressful and I feel if I was given the chance to do exams I would’ve done better in my maths.’

However the 17-year-old, who will head to Staffordshire University to study games design, added: ‘My family is full of engineers and I've always been fascinated by the mechanics of video games. This is a way of combining those two things.’

Despite months of disruption during lockdown Mr Smith said an online programme of pre-university seminars and lectures helped Portsmouth High School ‘raise the bar' in the face of adversity.

The resources digitally united thousands of Girls’ Day School Trust pupils and enabled them to speak to people experienced in their chosen fields of university study.

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‘We realised [pupils] were no longer going to be revising and we didn't want all that energy they’ve given to be for nothing,' he said.

‘For every degree our girls were going for, there was a seminar group they were able to be involved in.’

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