VIDEO: Hard graft leads to stories of success for Sheffield A-level students
They began queuing outside High Storrs at 7am, an hour before the school officially opened its doors.
Many said they didn’t get much sleep the night before, but most needn’t have worried.
The Bents Green school recorded improved results on last year, with particular strong performances in mathematics, English literature, classics and theatre studies.
But it was the individual stories of student success that brought home how much it meant to them and their families - and how much the school and its staff had invested in them.
A steady stream of students came through the doors between 8 and 9, nervously smiling at the gaggle of teachers who had come along to celebrate their successes.
Some of the earliest to arrive were Livvy Robinson from Carter Knowle Road and Anthony Windith of Broomhall.
Livvy got three As in sociology, dance and philosophy and a place at a specialist dance college in Blackpool.
She said she was going to go back to bed for a few hours before heading out with Anthony tonight to celebrate.
“I dance five days a week so fitting in so much revision was difficult but it was all worthwhile in the end,” she said.
Anthony - who got three As in biology, chemistry and philosophy - said he was going to take a gap year working and travelling, before going on to study medicine at university next year.
Also celebrating was Dominic Littlewood from Nether Edge who got A*s in maths and further maths, an A in physics and a B in geography - and a place to study computer science at Cambridge.
He said: “It has been an intense year with lots of work and lots of hours of revision, but I made it. Today I am just going to try to calm down and process everything.”
Awais Ali - also from Nether Edge - came to school on Thursday morning accompanied by his family. He got three A*s in chemistry, biology and maths and will study medicine at Newcastle.
He said: “I still can’t believe it. I wasn’t expecting to do as well as I did - it just shows that hard work pays off. Everyone is really proud of me.”
Head teacher, Claire Tasker, said they were all ‘immensely proud’ of their students’ achievements, and paid tribute to them - and her staff - for all their hard work.
“They are such a gorgeous year group this year - they have really bonded,” she said.
“And so many of their teachers are here as well because they care so much about the students’ futures.”
This was perhaps best exemplified by Lauren Stockley, from Brincliffe, who got A*s in history and art and As in English and classics.
Lauren - who will be doing an art foundation course at Chesterfield College before applying to study at Oxford next year - had thanked her teachers by making them works of art portraying them as historical figures.
Another of High Storrs’ talented crop of arts students was Robbie McGann, from Greystones, who was collecting his results with his mum Julie.
He got an A and two A*s in English, theatre studies and film studies, and said he was going to take a gap year to ‘consider his options’ before deciding what to do.
He said the two years had been ‘hugely stressful’ but that the school had been ‘amazing’, especially for the subjects he had chosen.
Robbie’s proud mum Julie said: “I always believed but you never know how it it going to turn out - he really worked hard.”
As well as studying for his exams, Robbie had also taken a starring role in the school’s massively successful recent production of the classic musical, Guys and Dolls.
High Storrs’ proud record of getting students into Oxford and Cambridge was maintained this year, with all students who had been offered a place getting the grades they needed.
Helena Anderson of Abbey Lane got A*s in English literature and history and an A in theatre studies and will study English at Cambridge from October.
She said: “I really didn’t think I had done very well. I have been up all night looking for clearing numbers so I am a bit sleep deprived but really happy.
“I have really enjoyed it. It has been stressful but I love all my subjects. I came from the Girls’ High but High Storrs is so much more me. My teachers have really brought my subjects to life for me.”
Another successful Oxbridge candidate was Hugo Frascina, who got A*s in maths, further maths and physics, and an A in chemistry, and will study at Oxford from October.
Hugo, who unluckily contracted glandular fever right in the middle of his exams, said that he ‘couldn’t have asked for a better environment to learn in’.
But the school’s success was by no means limited to Oxbridge offers, with many other students gaining places at some of the top universities in the country, and others going on to attend performing arts schools or do higher apprenticeships.
Rowan Thomas, for example, got an A* in art and As in classics and English literature, and a place to study art history at the prestigious Courtauld Institute in London from September.
Director of sixth form, Laura Mason, said: “This has been a magnificent group of students to work with and they truly deserve the fantastic results they have achieved.”
Across Sheffield, initial indications show that the percentage of young people achieving the highest grades at A-level maintains the city’s position as above the national average, with just under a fifth (17 per cent) of students achieving grades AAB or higher.
Councillor Jayne Dunn, the council’s cabinet member for education and skills said: “I would like to congratulate students for their A-Level results after working incredibly hard in the run up to the exam period.
“Sheffield’s young people are really making us very proud and it is great to see so many young people celebrating.
“Schools pay an integral role in preparing our young people for adulthood, independence and a fulfilling future whether that be moving on to further education, apprenticeships or work and I would like to wish all of Sheffield’s students the very best as they plan ahead for their future.”