College celebrates exceptional A level and BTEC results


A level and BTEC students at the College Merthyr Tydfil have performed exceptionally well in their academic studies, with a record number of phenomenal results across the board.  

The college’s overall A2 level pass rate was 99% with 70% of students achieving grades A*- C.  In addition our AS pass rate was 85% representing an overall increase of 10% on our 2014 pass rate.

Of the 413 BTEC Level 3 learners who successfully completed their studies, 39% achieved a pass, 29% achieved a merit, 19% achieved a double or triple distinction, 10% achieved a single or double distinction star and 3% achieved a triple distinction star. In addition, the college achieved a phenomenal 100% pass rate across six vocational areas, including Travel and Tourism, Outdoor Sport, Health and Social Care, Production Arts, Music and Creative Industries (Performing Arts).

Principal John O’Shea, commented “These results reflect the high quality teaching and learning and outstanding pastoral support that we provide at the college, but also the hard work efforts of our staff and the students themselves. These results are the icing on the cake for the new college, which opened its doors in September 2013.  I would like to congratulate each and every one of our students. Their results showcase the value added that the college is providing across Merthyr Tydfil and the surrounding area. I am so proud of them and wish them all the very best for their future.”

A Level Law students achieved a remarkable A*-C 100% pass rate, with 55% of students attaining a grade B and 45% attaining a grade C. These excellent results will now see many of the Law students progress on to the LLB or Criminology Degrees at Swansea University. Rebecca Donovan achieved a B in Law, a C in English and a C in Psychology. Rebecca commented “I am really happy with my results and I’m looking forward to starting my degree at Swansea.”


In addition the college achieved a 100% A*-C pass rate in Further Mathematics, Electronics, Music, Welsh, 100% A-E in Art, Geography, Photography, Media, Music, Film, Drama, Dance and Religious Education and over 95% pass rate in History, English Literature and English Language and Literature.

The college’s Business, Applied Science, Mathematics students also achieved excellent results with 80%, 86% and 78% of students achieving a grade A*C respectively. Geography students achieved a fantastic 86% pass rate at A-C.

Amongst some of the college’s high achievers, student Katie Carr-Ferguson is celebrating after achieving an A* in Biology, A in Mathematics, A in Physics and an A in her Welsh Baccalaureate. Katie, who previously studied at Afon Taf High School, has been accepted to study Physics with Astrophysics at the University of Bristol. Katie commented “I am so pleased with my results and can’t wait to start my degree course. I have loved every minute of my time at the college and would like to thank my tutors for all of their help and support.”

Head of Science, Mark Richards, commented “Katie is exceptional, students like her do not come along very often. She is brilliant academically and has a wonderful attitude and work ethic and is truly modest about her ability. I’ve no doubt that she will do superbly in her degree.”

Avishka Dharmasiri, a former Cyfarthfa High School pupil, also achieved 3A’s in Biology, Geography, Business and an A* in his Welsh Baccalaureate. Avi, who is pictured below with Ria Davies, is now planning to go on to study Business Studies at Exeter University. Ria gained two A*s, an A and a B and has been accepted to study Accounting and Finance at Bath University. Ria said: "I feel extremely happy and I'm happy it's all over."

Student Paisley Preece has been accepted to study Mathematics at Exeter after achieving a grade A in Mathematics, A in Geography and a B in Further Mathematics. Paisley, who is one of the highest achieving students at the college, joined the college from Afon Taf High School (where she achieved exceptionally high grades at GCSE) and has continued to achieve top grades throughout the last two years. 

Students Keely Stafford, Tom Lawrence, Nicholas Brockwell and Alex Herlihy all achieved 2 A’s and a B, providing them with the UCAS points they require to progress on to the universities of their choice.  

Alex Herlihy, who previously studied at Penydre High School, will be leaving to study Chemistry at the University of Bath. Alex has excelled during his two years at the college, fully engaging in college life and taking part in as many extracurricular activities as he could.

To cap off two years of hard work that has included amongst other things, winning a Poetry Award, being part of the college’s winning team in the Global Enterprise Challenge 2014, attending Oxford University Summer School and playing an important role in Merthyr Tydfil’s successful Literacy Festival, 18 year old student Ethan Evans has another success to celebrate; his fantastic A2 level results. Ethan, who achieved an A in Psychology, A in English and a B in History said “I am really happy with my results. I have got what I need to pursue my ambition and go on to study English at Bath University.”

Art and Design students also performed really well. Anna Williams, former Penydre student achieved an A* and will now progress on to an Art Degree at the University of South Wales.

Student Luke Servini, who came to the college from Bishop Hedley High School, achieved an A in Art and 2 B’s in Mathematics and Business. Luke will now go on to study Engineering at Swansea University.

AS students also excelled with many achieving A grades across the board. Students Skylar May (former Penydre High School pupil) and Rachel McKeown (former Afon Taf High School pupil) gained 4 A grades and are now looking forward to progressing on to their A2 studies with us.

BTEC Level 3 IT student Daniel Morgan, a former pupil of Cyfarthfa High School, successfully achieved a triple distinction star, providing him with the UCAS points he requires to progress on to study Computer Science at Cardiff University.

Daniel commented “I am really thankful to the college for all the help and support they have given me the past two years and the opportunities that they have granted me and I would really recommend the course to anyone interested in Computing or Information Technology.”

BTEC Sports students are celebrating the best results ever with record numbers progressing on to university.

BTEC level 3 Outdoor Sport Students achieved a 100% pass rate, with 58% achieving a Merit or above.


Megan Harrison, a student on the Outdoor course successfully achieved a Distinction Merit in her course which has enabled her to gain a place on the Sports Studies Degree at USW.


Megan, who suffers with dyslexia and dyspraxia, was also nominated for the British College’s Sports ‘Inspirational Student of the Year Award’ and will be the first member of her family to progress to university. Tutor Gavin Davies, commented “Megan is an inspiration to her fellow students. On top of her studies, she continuously volunteers her time to local youth clubs and organisations outside of the college. Megan is a Gold Young Ambassador and ensures that there is always an opportunity to take part in a sporting activity. Megan has also worked very closely with the Sport Development Team in Merthyr Tydfil, giving them her time outside of college hours to work in the Community.”

BTEC Level 3 Sports also excelled across the board with 55% of students achieving a distinction or above and 27% achieving triple distinction stars, the highest grade possible.

Student John Hughes was also one of the students achieving a triple distinction star, resulting in him gaining a place on a PE & Sports degree at Cardiff Metropolitan University.


A former Cyfarthfa School pupil, John lives in Dowlais, an area of Merthyr Tydfil that has high levels of social deprivation, low aspirations and low educational attainment rates. John’s progress has not been a straight forward one. During year 8 and 9, he became very disillusioned with education and fell into company with a bad crowd. He lost all interest in education and his studies and his school work and academic grades went rapidly downhill. However, after attending an information and sports taster event at the college, John began to realise the opportunities that were available for him to study a subject that he would enjoy. He began to buck up his ideas and worked hard during year 10 and 11, leaving school with the qualifications he needed to progress on to the college’s BTEC level 3 Sports course.  Head of Sport, Sarah Kerrigan, commented “Over the last two years, John has excelled in all aspects of his course and college life, achieving consistently high grades and participating enthusiastically in all extra curricula activities. His results are testimony to this and reflect all of his hard work and efforts.”

In addition, the college achieved 100% pass rates across a number of its Creative Industries courses, including, BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Music, BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma Performing Arts and BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Production Arts. Hannah Rees and Jonathan Williams, students on the BTEC Performing Arts Diploma achieved a Double Distinction Star, providing them with the UCAS points they require to progress on to their first choice of university.   

Students studying on the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma Health and Social Care also achieved 100% pass rates, rounding off an exceptional year of successes, which amongst other things, saw the department named as the best in Wales for the second consecutive year.

Students studying on the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma Travel and Tourism also achieved 100% pass rates. Courtney Phillips, a Travel and Tourism student who achieved a triple distinction star, commented “I am so happy with my results. The support from my lecturers has been outstanding throughout the course. I have had so many opportunities available to me, including going on a two week work placement in Germany, work experience in a popular hotel chain and the incredible chance to go on an educational trip abroad to New York. Thanks to the College Merthyr Tydfil and this course I now have a place at Cardiff Metropolitan University to study a Tourism Degree. I could not recommend the Travel and Tourism course enough.

Head of Business, Simon Evans, commented, “This is an exciting time for Business at The College Merthyr Tydfil. Not only have Travel and Tourism students achieved 100% pass rates but the A level and BTEC Business students have also excelled this year, achieving an overall 100% pass rate at A level and 90% BTEC pass rate with 17% achieving a Triple Distinction Star and 48% achieving a distinction or merit. These results are the icing on the cake for the department which has gone from strength to strength over the last year. We hope that these fantastic results, together with our outstanding student support and enhanced course portfolio will help us attract even more students for 2015 entry.”

Michael Riddiford and Mellissa Bedford, both students on the BTEC Business Studies L3 Extended Diploma, successfully achieved Triple Distinction Stars, enabling them to progress on to study at university.

Michael, who is progressing on to study International Business at Cardiff University, commented: “The excellent work experience and opportunities provided on the course, such as the Leonardo Work Experience project in Germany, inspired me to want to do well and go on to study International Business. I’m so happy that I’ve got the grades I need to progress on to Cardiff University.”

CACHE Level 3 students also achieved fantastic results across the board, with over 60% of the students progressing onto university courses and the remaining 40% progressing directly into employment.


Lisa Thomas, Head of Advanced Level Programmes said: “This has been a hugely successful and encouraging year for both A Level and BTEC qualifications at The College Merthyr Tydfil.  We have seen a high percentage of grade A*-C passes and some outstanding BTEC results, demonstrating the high quality teaching and student support on offer at the college and providing a solid foundation to take forward our A level Academy and Vocational Centre of Excellence from 2015 onwards.”

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