JUBILANT students across Portsmouth celebrated as they bagged top A-level grades and set their sights on university life.
But colleges overall suffered a dip in form – with most not hitting the results they gained last year.
Portsmouth was very close to the national picture – with 98.1 per cent of students achieving A* to E, while the proportion of A* and As was 25.8 per cent – down by 0.1 on last year.
Though Portsmouth Grammar School saw every one of its students pick up A* to E grades, the number of A*s issued was down three per cent, to 22 per cent, and the number of A* to Bs went down seven per cent to 81 per cent.
But Portsmouth Grammar students were delighted they’d bagged a place at their first-choice university.
Friends Rachael Beaves, 18, Filippa Furniss, 18 and Francesca Cornell, 18, are all of to university.
Rachael, who clinched an A* in maths, A in electronics and B in physics, can’t wait to study electrical engineering at the University of Surrey. She said: ‘I am really relieved that I am going where I want to go and over the moon with the A* in maths.
‘I like logistics and solving puzzles. There aren’t enough women doing electronics and engineering, so I want to make my mark.’
James Campkin, of Fareham, walked away with four A*s in maths, further maths, physics and chemistry.
James, who has played hockey at county level, is off to the University of Cambridge to study Natural Sciences.
He said: ‘I worked hard so I am very proud. The course is a combination of physics and chemistry which is great as I enjoy both subjects.’
Highbury College saw its A* to B pass rate fall from 38 per cent to 34 per cent, with the number of pupils gaining grades across the board falling from 100 per cent to 98 per cent.
Portsmouth College’s pass rate stayed the same; A* to B was 42 per cent and 98 per cent got A* to E.
High-flier Aimee Wragg, 18, of Portsmouth, clinched two A*s in maths and physics and an A in philosophy.
She is heading to the University of Cambridge to study philosophy and said: ‘It still really hasn’t quite sunk in yet. I’m just so happy.’
It was a great occasion for St John’s College, who saw the number of students picking up A*C soar from 62 per cent to 78 per cent, and A* to B rising from 38 per cent to 61 per cent.
A* to A also rose from 19 per cent to 32 per dent, while their overall pass rate stayed at 97 per cent. Headteacher Tim Bayley said: ‘I am absolutely delighted, it reflects the hard work students have put in over the course of the two years.
‘When the students reach year 13, they are well rounded enough to be realistic about their grades and they settle down and work hard.’
Matthew Jeffrey is off to a spend a year in the Exeter Cathedral choir before studying chemistry at the University of Bath. He said: ‘I love choir singing, because it’s a mix of getting to see the old buildings and cathedrals, and keeping up the traditions of this country.’
Portsmouth High School, saw a four per cent increase in their A* to B results.
And 80 per cent achieved the top grades.
Lara Bird was overjoyed as she got the grades needed to study philosophy and theology at University of Oxford.
The 18-year-old got an A* in Spanish, an A* in religious studies and an A in history.
Lara, from Southsea, said: ‘I am so happy. I convinced myself that I wasn’t going to do well so to get two A*s was amazing. I am so excited to start at Oxford. I had great support from the school and staff to help me get the results I needed.’
Marisa Green got into the sixth form thanks to a scholarship from HSBC. She did her GCSEs at Portsmouth Academy for Girls and was pleased to study at Portsmouth High School.
She got an A* in creative writing, A in history and a B in English literature.
Marisa said: ‘I am so relieved. Having got into the sixth form on a bursary scheme, there was a lot of pressure for me to do well.
‘I never expected to get what I did. I am so happy.’
The 18-year-old will be studying liberal art at Royal Holloway, at the University of London.
Sailing champion David rides wave of success
HE’S a world champion Moth sailor with aspirations of becoming the next Sir Ben Ainslie.
Yet inspirational 17-year-old David Simmonds, of Emsworth, has also worked tirelessly on dry land to come out with excellent A-levels.
The Portsmouth Grammar School student earned two A*s in maths and physics and two As in chemistry and further maths.
Sporty David has also picked up many other awards; having been crowned the under-18s world Moth sailing champion and under-21 and under-18 national champion in 2014 and the under 18’s European champion in 2015.
While keen to pursue his sailing career, David is looking forward to an aeronautical engineering course at Imperial College London.
After picking up his results, David admitted he would liked to have done even better. He said: ‘It’s what I expected to get, but I had hoped for more. I was aiming for four A*s. I had to balance sailing with this, and had to make compromises. Weekends were split between sailing and working, but that helped keep me focused, in terms of having lots of things to do. I knew I needed to work hard.’
His delighted mum, Helen Simmonds, said: ‘He has done unbelievably well; he also got a lot of A*s at GCSE.
‘Having lots of things to do has helped keep him busy and focused. For him that’s really important, and he’s also completed his gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, so we are very proud.’