Ark St Alban’s Academy students defy the odds with stellar A-Level and BTEC results
Tuesday 10 August 2021
Students from Ark St Alban’s Academy in Birmingham are celebrating achieving places at top universities in the face of the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ark St Alban’s is part of the Ark network of 38 multi-academy schools, which has been supporting its schools with a three-strand programme that focused on enabling digital access for all students, protecting their mental health, and helping students catch up on lost learning.
The school rolled out a rigorous programme of live lessons and assignments during the lockdown periods, coupled with regular communication and home visits. Every student was provided with their own laptop, allowing them to access the curriculum and to make progress required to achieve the grades they needed for their first-choice courses at the university of their choice.
Ark St Alban’s Academy serves a community experiencing significant deprivation. It has the eight highest Pupil Premium rate of all secondary schools in England. Despite this, the school continues to prepare pupils to secure places at highly selective universities like the University of Warwick, Birmingham, and the London School of Economics in previous years. This year, the school has even more students to congratulate.
Five students will study medicine – one at the University of Birmingham and four at Aston University.
Abdullah is heading to the University of Birmingham after achieving a perfect A*A*A* in Biology, Chemistry, and Maths. Abdullah has been very active in supporting KS3 and 4 Science lessons and activities. Abdullah has been a model student when it comes to giving back to the school and community. He has mentored lower school students with learning difficulties, some of whom attended the school and some he supported in his spare time. He also helped students with a range of health-related issues enabling them to build their confidence and self-esteem. “Very happy about the results that I have achieved, moving from a low set in Year 7 and now getting three A*s and going to university to study a course that I have always wanted to study”
Above: Abdullah, Abdullah and his father.
Mohamed, who will study the same course at Aston, also achieved A*A*A* in Biology, Chemistry and Maths. Mohamed has been awarded a £9k bursary by asset management company Marshall Wace. “Excited about studying medicine as it is massive challenge and I am excited about becoming a doctor and making a difference in society”
The success did not stop at the future medics – Olivia , who achieved A*AA in English, History and Sociology, will study Politics and History at the London School of Economics. As Head Scholar, Olivia has represented the school reliably, with confidence and style. She supported Sixth Form recruitment assemblies in feeder schools and has given opening speeches in school events, such as prize-giving and end of term assemblies. Olivia was also working with WE Schools as a Youth Adviser. She was on a two-year programme funded by #iwillfund to support Birmingham schools in embedding social action. Olivia is also a recipient of a £9k Marshall Wace bursary. “Being the first person in my family to go to a Russell Group university, I am really excited about going to university in London and to push myself to do myself and my family proud in the future”
Similarly, Imaan, who also achieved A*AA in English Literature, History and Sociology , will be setting her sights on the bar next year as she embarks on a degree in Law at the University of Leicester.
In total, A-level students at the school were awarded 16 A* grades, with 13 achieving AAA or better.
The story was similar for the Level 3 BTEC students, with a flurry of Distinction's leading to some outstanding destinations for the young people on the BTEC course.
Notably, Humaira will go to the University of Warwick to study Biomedical Science. Sumiyyah, who achieved a triple Distinction* in BTEC Business, will go to the University of Birmingham to study Criminology.
Ark St Alban’s Academy Principal, Guy Rimmer, said: “Our Year 13 students have worked very hard and should be congratulated on their achievements. It’s fantastic seeing so many securing high grades and progressing to their university of choice. Our students have faced so much uncertainty since the pandemic started, but their commitment to education has never wavered.
“I’d also like to give special thanks to the teaching and support staff who have been so dedicated to ensuring the school ran smoothly, whether they were delivering lessons on-site or online, providing pastoral care and everything else in between.
“Students could focus on reaching their potential, and I’m so proud of everyone today.”
This year’s grades were based on what students have been taught, not what they missed. Teachers used a mix of evidence, including mock exams, coursework and other work completed as part of their course, such as essays or in-class tests. In addition, exam boards provided optional sets of questions for teachers to use to help them gather evidence.