Sunderland College is celebrating after achieving a 99 per cent A-Level pass rate for its sixth consecutive year, as national pass rates decline for the first time in 32 years.
This year, 27 A-Level subjects achieved a 100 per cent pass rate, including English Literature, Law, Biology, Physics, Media Studies, Performing Arts and ICT, with scores of students rewarded for their hard work and set on the path to a successful career.
Almost 1,000 young people studied at Sunderland College campuses across the city last year, to gain their A and AS Level qualifications. The results put Sunderland College ahead of further education providers up and down the country, with the national average for A-Level passes falling to 98 per cent.
Anne Isherwood, principal of Sunderland College, said: “The excellent results this year prove that Sunderland College’s teaching, facilities, advice and guidance are making a real difference for A-Level students, guiding them on the pathway to success.
“The college’s teaching team works tirelessly, year-round, to ensure that our students are given the right support to help them succeed. A-Level results day is such an important day not only for our students, but for the whole team at the college, so it is absolutely fantastic to know that we continue to maintain our outstanding 99 per cent pass rate, in contrast to the national rate, which has declined.”
One of Sunderland College’s star students Dominic O’Neill, 18, from Roker, achieved two A*s and an A to secure a place at the university of his choice. Dominic studied Biology, Chemistry and Maths at A-Level and spent time undertaking work experience at Sunderland Royal Hospital. He plans to study Medicine at the University of Cambridge, and hopes to become a doctor after his studies.
He said: “I enjoy helping others, volunteering in the community and I’ve always liked science, so it seemed that studying medicine would be a natural progression for me into a career where I would combine all three passions.
“I’m not sure what specialist field I would love to be a doctor in yet but I know it’s something I’m really looking forward to doing. I was fortunate enough to undertake some work experience at the Sunderland Royal Hospital which helped me in my application and gave me a better insight and knowledge into the course I was studying.”
Cambridge University is currently ranked seventh in the world and plays host to traditions and ceremonies that date back hundreds of years.
Dominic added: “It’s daunting knowing that I’m due to study somewhere with such high standards of education. The selection process itself was almost harder than anything I’ve ever done; I had to take extra exams. But it’s such a relief now that I know I’ve been accepted. It’s why I enjoyed college, because it’s much more of a challenge compared to secondary school and I hope going to Cambridge, I experience the same increase in the challenge to get a degree.
“I’ll be there for six years so I will definitely be taking part in all the traditions and ceremonies Cambridge has to offer me.”
Nigel Harrett, deputy principal at Sunderland College, said that the results were a real pat on the back for the college’s team, who share a genuine commitment to delivering high quality teaching.
Nigel said: “I – like the rest of the team at the college – was absolutely thrilled that A-Level pass rates were again at 99 per cent for a sixth year in succession. And it’s fantastic to know that we are helping to guide a bigger proportion of our students than ever before to achieve the top grades makes it even more pleasing for us.
“The goal of every member of the team is to ensure that we give our students the best possible chance of success, so it’s fantastic knowing that our hard work is paying off. We’re constantly looking to improve and the results our students achieved this year prove that it is working.”
The college is well-known as an A-Level provider, however the vast majority of its students are signed up to vocational courses. With almost 17,000 students enrolled on courses at any one time, the college provides vocational training to around 80 per cent of its 16-18 year old students.
Anne Isherwood said: “The college is really well established as a provider of A-Level courses, and that is in no small part down to the fantastic results we have achieved over the years. We’re incredibly proud of that record. All of our courses are geared towards giving our students skills for life, no more so than the vocational courses we teach, which are about giving people practical, work-based knowledge, skills and training – learning through a combination of on and off the job training.
“Across the board, the college is committed to not only delivering a high standard of teaching, but to ensuring that students leave us ready for the world of work, with skills for life gained from support provided by tutors with real industry experience. We’ve also invested significantly in our facilities to ensure that our students learn in some of the best environments available.
“Students who join Sunderland College’s Bede Campus in September will see the college transformation, as we open the doors to our state-of-the-art Visual Performing Arts and Sports centres, providing a superb educational environment and ensuring we continue to thrive and see increased success year on year.”