YEAR 13 students at King's College, Taunton, received their A level grades yesterday (Thursday).

For all those leavers this has been a strange end to their time at King’s.

Somerset County Gazette:

They have missed out on the usual celebrations that should mark the end of their school careers and they have not had the chance to show their academic qualities and their hard work in the usual way by sitting A level exams.

Instead, their grades were decided through a complex, somewhat opaque, system which combined judgements from the school and then an algorithm-based readjustment.

This was a strong year group, and the school is delighted that the majority of the candidates received grades in line with what we expected of them.

There were some excellent results, with 13 students gaining three or more A or A*s.

The great majority of students who had offers from universities have been accepted onto their first or second choice courses.

King’s students have gained places at some of the country’s leading universities this year, including Oxford, Imperial, UCL, KCL, Durham, Nottingham, Manchester and Exeter.

Students gaining three or more A*s or As were Oliver Biggs (A*A*A), Vanessa Chan (A*AAA), Katherine Clarke (A*A*A), Ellie Clist (A*AA), Alice Dymond (AAA), Joseph Gill (AAA), Chris Gu (A*A*A), Loveday Hedgcock (AAA), Anna Lewis (A*AA), Lucy M (A*A*A), Amelia Sharp (A*A*A*), William Smeed (A*A*AA) and Victoria Zhang (A*A*AB).

William Smeed has just signed a two-year contract with Somerset Cricket Club. A top cricketer but also, as evidenced by his excellent A level results, a fine academic.

Lucy M was the school’s head girl, a keen member of the school choir and Big Band, and played first team hockey.

She has a place at Edinburgh University to read Classics and English. Millie Sharp has a place at Durham to read Geography. Anna Lewis will study Engineering at Manchester, Ellie Clist Medicine at Plymouth, Katie Clarke Biosciences at Durham, Chris Gu Mathematics at UCL and Alice Dymond (like William, a fine cricketer) English and History at Birmingham.

Many of those having secured two AB grades and above joined King’s College from King’s Hall School. Together as King’s Schools, both King’s Hall and King’s College offer an all-round, through-education from ages 2 to 18. Ellie Clist, Oliver Biggs, Joe Gill, Karis Chambers, Phoebe Hake, Alec Sprague, Reuben Lindsay-Smith, Lucy Buckley, and Archie Wright all benefited from this continuity of education.

Commenting, headmaster Richard Biggs said: “At the end of this strangest of years, I want to congratulate with all my heart our wonderful, hardworking students and to thank their teachers.

"All of our Upper Sixth kept up a terrific pace of effort and interest well into the Summer Term, throwing themselves with enthusiasm into the excellent remote programme we put in place.

"It is such a shame that these men and women have not had a chance to show their true academic credentials under exam conditions.

"Most have received grades roughly in line with their efforts and abilities and I am delighted that most have secured their places at their preferred universities.

"But I am sad that a sizeable minority have received grades well below those we are confident they would have reached in their exams.

"The school will of course do all it can to put this right, both by making vigorous appeals to the boards on the candidates’ behalf, and by helping those who want to sit the autumn exams to prepare as well as possible.”

He added: “As our excellent results in 2019 showed (77% A* to B grades – the best results in Somerset) we are a leading academic school in the West Country, and we are extremely proud of the high standards consistently set by our students.”

King’s is delighted to confirm that interest in places at the school remains extremely high. The school’s reputation for strong A level results has meant that over 35 new students will be joining the school’s Sixth Form in September.