Students at Westminster Kingsway College (WestKing) were celebrating today, as they overcame the challenges of the COVID pandemic to achieve a fantastic set of A Level results.
WestKing saw 21% of students attain A* or A grades and 73.5% gain A* to C grades, with many going on to study at leading Russell Group universities or degree apprenticeships.
Students did not sit exams this year due to COVID-19 with their grades being determined by teachers’ assessment of their actual evidence-based ability, rather than predicted grades.
One of many happy students was Emma Breatcliffe aged 18, from Peckham, who achieved A grades in Philosophy, Biology and Mathematics. She’s off to study Physiotherapy at Brunel University in September.
“My main feeling is relief!” she told us. A lot of my classes were online and it was hard sometimes keeping home life and school separate. My teachers were very responsive though – when I emailed any of them with a question, they came straight back to me.”
Also celebrating was Elias Hashemi, 20, who – thanks to an A* in Maths, A in Chemistry and a B in Biology – is one step closer to his dream of being an investment banker. He is going to Southampton University to study Maths and Finance.
“I feel good” he said. “I’d had some personal problems and had to take two years away from studying, so when I came back, I felt like I was in the deep end. But I came back a bit older and wiser and concentrated on my studies.”
Elias also benefited from the college’s Career Ready programme, which helps students prepare for higher education and work, by providing a wide range of enrichment opportunities, including a mentor, and internships and placements with blue-chip firms.
As Head of Careers Education and Partnerships, Carlo Liu explained, “As as well as studying hard for his A Levels, Elias really threw himself into the Career Ready programme, developing a good relationship with his mentor, and secured internships at the investment bank Morgan Stanley and at Google, and work experience at Virgin Money and ANZ bank.
“Placements and internships at top companies are really competitive and Elias was up against young people from much more wealthy and advantaged backgrounds, who have the right contacts, and have parents who know how the system works. The fact that Elias managed to gain these placements is testament to how hard he worked. Well done Elias!”
In addition to A Levels, the college also awarded vocational BTEC grades to many students. WestKing runs many vocational courses including Art and Design, Business, Childcare, Construction, Digital Media, Engineering, Fashion, Health and Social Care, Hospitality and Culinary Arts, Performing Arts, Science and Travel and Tourism.
Twins Aya and Rayan are 17 years old. They are from Victoria and found out today that they had aced the first year of their two-year BTEC courses, achieving Distinctions in Applied Science and Health and Social Care respectively. “We’re both really good with children, and when we’ve finished our second year at college, we both want to be Child Nurses.”
Jas Sondhi, Vice Principal of Westminster Kingsway College said, “COVID has had a massive impact on students and our staff, with lessons disrupted or moved online during lockdowns. We are so proud of all our learners this year and it has been lovely to see them here today as they’ve been celebrating their success.
“We are delighted with our excellent A Level results this year, reflecting the hard work put in by students and their teachers. We are impressed by the grades achieved, with a 95.2% pass rate and we have also seen a notable increase in our higher grades.”
WestKing is part of Capital City College Group (CCCG), which also comprises City and Islington College and the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London, and apprenticeship and training provide Capital City College Training.
Kurt Hintz, Executive Principal of CCCG, said: “We are very proud of the great results of our students after such a disrupted and difficult two-year period. Our students have shown huge amounts of dedication, perseverance and resilience in adversity, which has prepared them well for their future university education and careers.
“We congratulate all of our students on their results and wish them well in their next steps. We would also like to give special thanks to our teachers and support staff who worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to secure the life chances of their students.”