A-level results: Shropshire and Mid Wales sixth formers find out their fate - PICTURES and VIDEO
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The wait for students across Shropshire and Mid Wales ended today as their A-level results were revealed.
This year’s exam day came amid major reforms, with around one in four entries awarded the highest grades.
WATCH: Shrewsbury students get their results
Youngsters who are still seeking university places are likely to face a wealth of choice as institutions scramble to attract good candidates on to their degree courses.
University leaders suggested that there could be more people who are using clearing this year to apply to university for the first time.
A survey released today suggests more than 26,000 courses are available in clearing for students in England only.
Institutions in Wolverhampton, Chester and Birmingham are among those bringing in extra staff to deal with calls from students needing help to find a course.
We want to see your tweets! Our reporters are out at schools today
Results in Shrewsbury
Students at Shrewsbury Colleges Group were celebrating the best results for the last six years, with 15 people headed for Oxbridge next year.
One of those is Chris Davies, who will go on to study Classics at New College, Oxford, after getting three A*s and an A at A-level. His twin Beth is going to study sociology at Keele after getting two Bs and a Distinction*.
"I'm very happy," Chris said. "We're going to be celebrating tonight."
Also off to Oxbridge is Dan Webb, 18, who will study law at Cambridge after getting two A*s, an A and a C at A-level.
He said: "I studied maths, politics, economics and French.
"It was difficult to get the balance right and make sure I did enough work and kept my mental health. Because of the new reformed A-levels it's gone back to how hard it was in the 80s."
Principal James Staniforth said: "I'm really really pleased, it's our best set of results for six or seven years and that's particularly pleasing as students are now doing linear exams over two years, so it's been tough for students.
"More than half of the students have got A*s, As and Bs, we've got 80 students who have got three As or better, and 15 Oxbridge students."
At Shrewsbury School, 56 per cent of all papers were graded at A* or A.
More than 80 per cent of all grades were given A* to B grades, while 11 students managed a clean sweep of A* grades and 60 managed an A* or A in every subject.
Headteacher Mark Turner said: "We are delighted that our students have been rewarded for their effort and industry and that they are now equipped not only with the grades that they need to access and thrive in the next step on their academic journey, but also with the enthusiasm for learning and open-mindedness that will prepare them for successful and fulfilled futures."
Results at Concord College, near Shrewsbury, were described as "excellent", where there was a 100 pass rate and 81 per cent of grades were at A* or A, and 95 per cent at A*, A or B.
Principal Neil Hawkins said: "These amazing results are a testament to the hard work, talent and determination of each student in the year group. We are very proud of them. "
Oswestry and North Shropshire
Happy faces were everywhere at the Marches School as the sixth form students celebrated another year of 100 per cent pass rates.
Head of sixth form Claire Boyes said: "It is fantastic we have been able to achieve these results again, as the jump from GCSE to A-level is a huge one.
"We have students from all over Shropshire and we are delighted with how well they have done.
"Last year we didn't have 100 per cent but we are back up now."
Finley Hudson achieved four A*s, and has secured a place at the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology.
Finley, who wants to become a mechanical engineer, said: "I was hoping to get the grades I got, but I was a bit surprised when I opened them.
"I am so happy with how I've done, and the teachers have been really good and amazing since I have been here."
Meanwhile independent boarding school Oswestry School was celebrating 45 per cent of all students earning A* to B grades, in line with last year.
Star students included Admir Krnic, who gained two A*s and a B and is heading to Manchester University to study computer science and mathematics, and head boy Roly Hancock, who obtained three A grades and has secured his place at Leeds University to study mechatronics and robotics.
Greta Horvathova was awarded two As and a B, meaning she's secured a place at Edinburgh to study neuroscience.
Julian Noad, headteacher, said: “This is a very pleasing set of results, particularly given our non-selective intake and the increased challenge of reformed A-levels.
"To maintain our excellent pass rates in this climate is a magnificent indictment of the hard work of both our students and our staff."
At independent Ellesmere College there was a 92 pass rate with more than 50 per cent of all grades between A* and B.
James Jefferies, of Welshampton, stood out with two A* sand an A in Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics to secure his place at Birmingham to read Civil Engineering.
Headmaster Brendan Wignall said: “All our students completing their studies with us deserve this success. Credit must also go to the excellent work of our teaching staff and, of course, to parents for their constant support and encouragement.”
Students at the independent Adcote School for Girls, in between Oswestry and Shrewsbury, achieved a 95 per cent pass rate overall with 73 per cent of A-level students gaining A* to C grades.
Headteacher Diane Brown said 90 per cent of students had been successful in gaining places at the university of their choice.
"As a non-selective school we are hugely proud of our results. Geography, textiles, biology and physics were particularly strong," she said.
"Many students have exceeded expectations and are leaving us as happy confident and well-rounded young women who are well placed to thrive at the University of their choice."
Top students at Grove College in Market Drayton were Eleanor Walkerdine who will be studying geography at the University of Lancaster, Fred Bosley, who is starting a medical degree at the University of Bristol, Joshua Baker, who will study English at the University of Chester and Jack Green, studying geography at the University of Liverpool.
Telford and Bridgnorth
At Telford College the overall pass rate was 94 per cent while every student who took chemistry, biology, physics, media and combined English literature and language passed.
Rebecca Blackburn was one of the happy students, gaining an A in maths, a B in geography, and a C in further maths.
"I was quite nervous this morning," she said.
"A couple of days ago I wasn't stressed out at all but I was shaking walking to collect my results and started to feel the last minute nerves kick in.
"I'm going to Keele University to study a masters in mathematics, after which I'm hoping to become a teacher.
"I'm really proud of how I've done and looking forward to where it will take me next."
Callum France studied maths, chemistry and psychology.
"I think I got what I was expecting, you can't really complain with an A, B and a C," he said.
"I'm definitely happy with myself and how I've got on and now I've managed to get into the University of Chester, I'll be studying pharmacology."
Graham Guest, the college’s principal and chief executive, said: “We are extremely proud of our students’ achievements, which is just reward for all their hard work.
“Preparing young people for their next step is what we take huge pride in doing, and we could not have achieved these results without the continued commitment and hard work of our staff."
Thomas Gould was one of the star performers at Thomas Telford School, receiving thee A*s and an A in history, geography, English literature and religious studies.
"I'm absolutely speechless. Every result I've got is one I wasn't expecting," he said.
"I was really nervous before I found out. I'm off to the University of Warwick to study history which I'm really excited about."
Headmaster Kevin Satchwell said: "Our students are again delighted with their examination results with over 75 per cent of the students gaining top places at top universities including Oxford and Cambridge.
"Again we have a good cohort of ten students progressing to study medicine to become doctors.
"Equally important, many students are progressing to study degrees in subjects such as sports science, physics, history and psychology."
At Haberdashers' Adams grammar school in Newport, students Jonty Watt and Adarsh Menon stood out with four A* grades each.
Headmaster Gary Hickey said: “Once again there have been some truly incredible results and I am delighted to report an eight per cent increase in the number of A*-B grades this year. Overall 68 per cent of our 151 A-level pupils have achieved A*-B passes with many securing three or more A*/A grades.
“I am delighted to report that all nine of our Oxbridge applicants with offers for 2018 entry have achieved the grades they needed and ten students wishing to study medicine or dentistry have also been successful in securing the necessary grades.”
At Oldbury Wells School in Bridgnorth, two students achieved three A*s - Joel Bridgwater for maths, physics and chemistry and Jack French for maths, further maths and physics.
The amount of A* grades increased to 10 per cent of all exam results.
Sarah Godden Executive Headteacher at Oldbury Wells said, "We are thrilled to see so many students achieve so well this year. Congratulations to them all. Thank you to our staff for their dedication and support for our students."
Lisa Thomas, principal deputy at Oldbury Wells said. "We wish our students every success in the next stages of their education. We have students taking up places in a wide range of courses, including the top Russell group universities this year. We wish them every success in the next stages of their lives, whether they are off to university, apprenticeships or employment."
Over the border
Newtown High School in Powys is celebrating after the number of students with three or more grades at A* - A increased by 5.6 per cent compared to last year and all BTEC students achieved a Distinction* to Pass.
Notable performers included Teegan Harris, who achieved Distinction* Distinction* A A C and is going to study marketing at Aberystwyth University, and Leah Eyre who achieved B B C C A and is going to study drama & theatre arts at the University of Birmingham.
Headteacher Rob Edwards said: "It is a testament to all of students for their hard work and efforts this year, in particular, girls who considerably improved their average wider points score to last year."
Ruabon School, near Wrexham, says a third of its grades were A* to B and the majority A to C.
"Excellent results were achieved in all vocational subjects, where the majority of grades were Distinction, or Distinction* level," headteacher Melanie Ferron Davies said.
"We also had a 75 per cent A to C pass rate in the new Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate."
- Results will be updated throughout the day
A-level results: The national picture
More than half a million students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are receiving A-level results today.
Last year, 26.3 per cent of A-levels scored an A or A* and today’s results are broadly similar.
There have been major changes to A-levels in England, with a move away from coursework and modular exams throughout the course.
Last year the first grades were awarded in the first 13 subjects to be reformed in England and, among these subjects alone, the proportion of entries scoring at least an A grade fell by 0.7 percentage points to 24.3 per cent.
A further 11 subjects have been reformed with the first grades awarded today.
WATCH: Key results day questions answered
Amanda Brown, deputy general secretary of the National Education Union, argued that A-level changes means that students are unable to fully demonstrate what they can do.
“Changing the assessment of A-levels so they focus on high-stakes exams taken at the end of two years of study does not allow students to properly demonstrate their ability and puts them under huge pressure,” she said.
“Coursework and other non-exam assessments are a better way for students to demonstrate their skills, are less of a memory test, and help lower attaining students and those with special educational needs and disabilities show their achievements.”
For those looking for degree places through clearing this summer, there are suggestions that they are likely to find it is a buyers' market.
The Press Association survey shows that, as of Wednesday, 26,350 undergraduate courses were showing up on the Ucas clearing website for students in England.
Nine in 10 UK institutions have at least one course listed in clearing, the survey found.
It also shows that three quarters of Russell Group universities, often considered among the best in the country, have at least one course in Clearing, with almost 4,500 courses listed in total.
The numbers of courses listed change frequently as different courses are filled, or become available.
At the same point last year, the day before results day, there were around 27,715 undergraduate courses in total listed on Clearing with potential availability for students in England.