COLLEGE MERTHYR TYDFIL CELEBRATES ANOTHER YEAR OF OUTSTANDING A LEVEL AND VOCATIONAL SUCCESS
There were congratulations all around this morning as staff and learners at The College Merthyr Tydfil celebrated a set of outstanding A level and vocational results in what has been a very challenging year.
For the seventh consecutive year, learners achieved exceptional A Level and vocational results, providing solid foundations for the next chapter of their careers.
Reinforcing its position as one of the top colleges in Wales, the college achieved an overall A Level pass rate (A*-E) of 99%, with 41% of the students achieving the very highest A*-A grades.
With a fierce commitment to improving the quality and overall experience of teaching and learning, the percentage of learners achieving A*-C grades also increased to 86% this year – up 4% from 2020, and 12% compared to 2019.
Vocational learners added to this success, with a record number of top grades awarded across the board.
Lisa Thomas, Principal commented: “This year has been a year like no other and we are delighted that the college has exceeded its already high standards with another hugely successful set of both A Level and vocational results. Our learners and staff have shown incredible resilience, strength and determination over the last few months and I am so proud of each and every one them in the way that they have coped with the challenges of blended learning and a different assessment structure to achieve such fantastic outcomes. They are a credit to the college, their families and themselves and I wish them all the very best for their future”
Dawn Bowden MS, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, and Chief Whip was present at the college to witness the jubilant scenes as learners received their results. Dawn, who is also MS for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, commented, “I am so pleased to be here this morning to see first-hand the excellent results that learners have achieved, despite the challenging year they have had.”
One of the learners eagerly awaiting her results and confirmation of her place at Cambridge University was past Cyfarthfa pupil Mackenzie Vinnicombe. Mackenzie achieved an outstanding A* in maths, A* in History, A* in Psychology and an A in Biology, enabling her to now progress on to study Psychological and Behavioural Science at Cambridge University.
Commenting on her results, Mackenzie stated ““I’m so grateful for the help and support I’ve received from Merthyr College, from writing my personal statement to the interview process for Cambridge University. I’m especially grateful to Nicola and the Psychology department who believed I could do it when I doubted myself and for mentoring me throughout the whole process. I couldn’t be happier.”
The college’s STEM learners were amongst some of the college’s top performers.
Nadia Marshall, former Lewis School pupil, achieved an outstanding 4 A*s in Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Physics and is now looking forward to enjoying a gap year prior to going on to study medicine at university.
Commenting on her experience at college, Nadia stated “I loved my time at college. My course tutors have been amazing and always motivate me to work hard.”
Nadia’s parents, who were thrilled with her results, commented “We are so glad our daughter Nadia decided to take her A Levels at Merthyr College. The support and encouragement she has received has been outstanding."
Amina Hameed, former Aberdare Community School pupil, achieved a fantastic 3A*s and an A, providing her with the grades she needs to progress on to study Dentistry at Manchester University.
Commenting on her experience at college, Amina stated “I have had a great time over the course of the 2 years and would like to thank you all of the staff for continuously making the college a better place for us students. I have had the best time in the college”
Also celebrating alongside Amina was Erica Mariano.
Erica, a former Bishop Hedley pupil, achieved an A* in Maths, A* in Chemistry, A in Biology and an A in her Extended Project.
Erica, who is now progressing on to study Biomedical Science at Kings College London, commented “The community at Merthyr College made me feel so supported in all aspects of my learning. I’m so grateful for the teachers who continued to stay enthusiastic despite the circumstances and offered guidance as much as they could whilst we were adjusting to online learning. This experience has helped me leave with the confidence to progress into further education to pursue a career in the medical field.”
Cris Dignadice, also a former Bishop Hedley pupil and STEM learner at the college, achieved an A* in Physics and an A* in Further Maths. Cris who is one of the college’s MAT learners was also fortunate to gain a place on the Stanford University Artificial Intelligence Summer School, commenting “My college tutors supported me to successfully gain a place on the Artificial Intelligence Programme at Stanford University. I have been so grateful to have the opportunity to participate in this programme where I’ve been able to learn and express myself in a field which will potentially have a big impact in our future.”
Fabio Tomasi, past Bishop Hedley pupil, achieved an A* in maths, A in Biology, A in Chemistry and a B in Physics. Fabio has successfully gained a place to study Neuroscience at Kings College London, commenting “During this last year, because of Covid-19, we weren’t able to do many things as we normally would, but the teachers put a lot of effort in the lessons, both online and face to face, making up for that. I feel really grateful and blessed to have chosen to come to the College.”
Shay Mullin, past Penydre High School pupil and also one of the college’s Welsh Valleys Engineering Panasonic Trust Future Engineer Ambassadors achieved an outstanding A* in Maths, A in Physics and an A in Welsh, providing him with the grades he needs to progress on to study Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management at the University of South Wales.
Ma Katharina Villanueva, also one of the college’s Welsh Valleys Engineering Panasonic Trust Future Engineer Ambassadors and a former Bishop Hedley learner, achieved 3 A*s in Further maths, Chemistry and Physics providing her with the grades she needs to progress on to study chemical engineering at university.
Commenting on her time at college, Ma Katharina stated “I think I have grown immensely and have been enriched with vast knowledge. I can progress in my journey due to the guidance I've received at the college which has supported me with great effort in both in-person and online learning.”
Celebrating alongside Katharina was Julia Zatorska. Julia also a former Bishop Hedley pupil and Welsh Valleys Engineering Panasonic Trust Future Engineer Ambassador, achieved an A* in Mathematics, A* in Further Mathematics, A* in Physics and an A* in Chemistry. She is now progressing on to study mathematics at the University of Bath.
Julia, who has really enjoyed her time at college and her role as a PTFEA ambassador, commented “The staff at the college are so supportive. They aim to get the best out of you and teach you how to reach for the stars and beyond.”
STEM Learner and former Ebbw Fawr Community school pupil, Bethany Blackmore, achieved an A* in maths, A* in Chemistry an A in Biology and an A in Geography. Bethany, who is now going on to study Chemistry at the University of St Andrews, commented “I really enjoyed my time at college. The tutors supported me throughout my studies and put lots of effort into making online lessons engaging and interactive.”
Humanities learners also performed exceptionally well. One of the learners eagerly awaiting their results was Molly Evans. Molly, a former Aberdare Community School pupil, successfully achieved an A* in History, A* in Religious Studies, A in English Literature and a B in her Extended Project, enabling her to fulfil her dreams of progressing to Oxford University to study English Language and Literature.
Molly Commented “I’m really grateful for all the support I’ve received from everyone at Merthyr College. I’m so happy with my grades, and excited for the next chapter of my studies at Oxford.”
Former Cyfarthfa High School pupil Katie Morgan scooped an outstanding 3 A*s in History, Psychology and Law.
Past Afon Taf High School pupil Sophie Harvard also achieved 3 A*s in History, English Literature and Drama and is now heading to Cardiff University to study Journalism, Media and Culture.
Commenting on her time at college, Sophie said “Merthyr College has provided me with the opportunity to focus on not only the subjects that I’m passionate about but the subjects that will be relevant to my future career prospects. I’ve really enjoyed my time at the college and I believe that my experiences there will be beneficial to my next steps in the future.”
Amongst the high achievers was past Penydre High School pupil Niamh Winstone who achieved an A* in Law, A* in History and an A in Drama and Theatre studies. Niamh is now progressing on to study a Law Degree at Cardiff University.
Maidie Hope-Davies, also an A2 learner and former Afon Taf pupil, achieved an A and 3Bs, providing her with the grades she needs to progress on to study Marketing and Management at Exeter University. Maidie, who was over the moon with her results, commented “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at college as I could study the subjects I was most interested in, to get into my chosen career path. Even though the past year has been tough with online learning, I feel as though the college has provided us with great support to improve our working grades by keeping online learning as interactive and engaging as possible. My plan is to continue my academic journey at Exeter University, studying Marketing and Management, which would not have been possible without the encouragement and support of the business department at the college.”
Celebrating alongside Maidie was former Afon Taf pupil, Louise Isaac. Louise achieved an A in Government and Politics, an A in Business and a B in History.
Louise, who is now progressing on to study Business Management at Cardiff University, commented “I was completely star struck at what I was still able to achieve over these past two unique years of my life. I was overwhelmed and amazed to find out that I would be going to my dream university, after worrying if I would obtain the required grades. I can’t thank my tutors and the collage enough for their continued support throughout. I’m so excited to begin the next chapter.”
Celebrating alongside Louise was Angel Medd. Angel, a past Cyfarthfa High School pupil, achieved an outstanding 3A*s in History, Drama and Psychology.
Another of Cyfarthfa’s top performing learners was Hanna Prosser. Hanna achieved an amazing A* in maths, A in Biology, A in Chemistry and a B in Physics.
Lucy Evans, past Cyfarthfa High School pupil, achieved an A* in History, A in Business, A in Government and Politics and a B in English Literature.
Celebrating alongside Lucy was Tiegan Chambers, Llinos Cope and Kristi Evans. Tiegan achieved an A* in History, A in English Language and Literature and an A in Psychology. Llinos achieved an A in Maths and a B in Physics and Kristi achieved an A* in History, A in Geography and an A in Religious Studies.
Former Afon Taf High School pupil and Royal Academy of Engineering and Panasonic Trust Future Engineers Awardee Evan price is now looking forward to progressing on to study a Mechanical Engineering course at university after achieving excellent A level results.
Commenting on his results and time at college, Evan stated “My time at college very enjoyable, even though we were all faced with certain circumstances due to COVID, the teachers made the lessons as well as my time there one to remember. I was not only supported by my subject teachers, but also a wide variety of other staff, including the Panasonic trust team. The bursary, as well as the opportunities provided, helped me boost my confidence within my engineering goals, providing me with resources to help myself, whilst furthering my understanding of the engineering world.
Past Penydre High School pupils and Humanities learners at the college also achieved some fantastic results. Keira Jones achieved As in Psychology and Sociology and a B in Welsh. Arianwen Hagerty gained an A in Welsh, B in Religious Studies and a B in Sociology. Maisy John achieved a B in Psychology and Sociology. Rachel Leigh-Warner achieved an A in Law, A in Psychology and a B in History and Sophie France achieved an A in Maths, an A in Welsh and a B in Psychology.
Past Brecon High School pupil Christian Morante achieved an outstanding A* in Sociology, A* in Biology and an A in Chemistry.
Christian, who has now been accepted on to study journalism at Leeds University, commented “The support I’ve received from Merthyr College has been second to none, whether it be about my work or my mental health, I’ve always felt comfortable to talk to my teachers. This support was still very much evident during the unforeseen circumstances created by the pandemic and helped motivate me to work to the best of my ability even during online lessons. All of this has helped me achieve the grades I need to study journalism at university which is something my teachers have fully backed me to succeed in. I would recommend Merthyr College to anyone who is thinking about it as it provides the perfect learning environment for any student.”
Celebrating alongside Christian was Kira Dent, also a former Brecon High School pupil. Kira achieved an A* in Sociology, A* in History and an A in Psychology and is over the moon to have been accepted into the Army to study a Nursing Degree through Birmingham University. Kira is now planning to spend two months volunteering in an animal rescue centre in Costa Rica, prior to taking up her Army placement and degree.
Past Brecon High School pupil Erin Mitchell scooped 3 As across the board in History, Biology and Chemistry and James Morgan also performed exceptionally well, achieving an A* in Maths, A* in Chemistry and an A in Biology.
Amongst the college’s top achievers was also past Brecon High school pupil Harvey Parsons. Harvey achieved an A* in Art and Design, an A* in Biology an A in Geography and a B in his extended project.
Past Brecon High school pupil Megan Morris also performed exceptionally well, achieving 3 Bs in Sociology, Biology, Chemistry and an A in her Welsh Baccalaureate.
Past Rhydywaun pupil and Humanities learner Gwen Pinch achieved 2 Cs in her Psychology and Sociology A levels.
AS learners at the college also celebrated excellent results with an overall A-C pass rate of 74%.
AS learner and past Idris Davies pupil Hollie Morgan achieved 4 As in Sociology, Law, History and Psychology. Hollie, who is currently the chair of our Learner Senedd, commented “Since joining the college in September 2020, I have found it to be a welcoming, inclusive and nurturing environment to learn in. The staff at the college have provided both academic and well-being support to all students throughout the challenges of the last academic year. I look forward to continuing my A2 studies at The College Merthyr Tydfil in September with the hope of studying Law at university in 2022’
Amongst dedicating her time as a member of the college’s Learner Senedd, former Cyfarthfa High School pupil Niamh Broad achieved fantastic AS results, receiving 3As and a B. Niamh, who is one of the college’s MAT learners, commented “Being a MAT learner at Merthyr College has been one of the best experiences of my life. The support I received from both my college tutors and my form tutor has been unmatched. Both academic and pastoral support has just been amazing! The reason I chose to study 4 A levels here was due to the fact there were more subjects that I found interesting and fun to do at Merthyr than any other college in the surrounding area. I feel as if I have definitely made the right decision choosing to study here. I’m enjoying all my subjects and am working confidently while balancing a social and work life as well. I would definitely recommend studying at Merthyr College to anybody who is interested in studying here! There are so many subjects to choose from, engaging lessons and lots of fun while doing so!!
Former Cyfarthfa pupil Emily Strudwick also achieved excellent AS results, receiving and A* in Further Maths, A in Maths, an A in Law and an A in Welsh.
Vocational learners also performed exceptionally well with many gaining the highest distinction star grades.
Former Aberdare Community School pupil Kallum Griffiths achieved D*D*D* in his Level 3 Public Services course. Commenting on his results and experience at the college over the last two years, Kallum said “My time at The College Merthyr Tydfil provided me with welcoming and friendly staff that, throughout the course, were available to support and advise me in my work, supporting and enabling me to achieve the grades that I did. With the support of the college, I have now been able to attain a place at university to study history, which I hope to teach in the future.”
Celebrating alongside Kallum was public services learner and class mate Tom Moran. Tom, a former Bishop Hedley Catholic High School pupil, who has additional learning needs, commented “My time in college has been great so far I have had access to learning support which has been a great opportunity for me to thrive in my academic skills.”
Commenting on his experience at college. Tom’s mother Rhian Moran, stated “The College has supported my child with his learning needs to allow him to achieve his goal of achieving his Level 3 Public Services and his GCSE re-sits.”
Also scooping up a triple distinction star in Public Services was former Bishop Hedley pupil Maciej Zatorski. Maciej is now progressing on to study Professional Policing at the University of South Wales.
To cap off two years’ hard work, that has included amongst other things, representing the college as a Student ambassador, former Brecon High School pupil Lewis Palmer also successfully achieved a D*D*D in his BTEC Level 3 Public Services course.
Past Afon Taf High School pupil, Sophie Thomas achieved a D*D*D* on her BTEC Applied Science course and has successfully achieved the results she needs to progress on to study Genetics and Bio-Chemistry at Aberystwyth University.
Commenting on her results, Sophie paid tribute to the teaching provided at the college “The last year has been difficult for everyone; I feel lucky to have still been provided with great teaching by my course tutors that has made it possible for me, and others, to gain the results we needed to go on to study and do what we want to next.”
Celebrating alongside Sophie was Courtney Stewart and Emily Cunningham. Courtney achieved a triple distinction star in her BTEC level 3 Applied Science course, providing her with the grades she needed to now progress on to study Biomedical Sciences at Cardiff University.
Emily Cunningham achieved also achieved a triple distinction star and is now progressing on to study Veterinary Nursing and Companion Animal Behaviour at the University of Bristol.
Science tutor, Mark Richards, commented “I am so pleased for Sophie, Hana and Emily. They have worked really hard to achieve these excellent results. They are just three of many of our BTEC Applied Science learners to receive an offer to study at University, showcasing the value of the course and the opportunities it can open up for learners.”
Former Cyfarthfa pupil and Welsh Valleys Engineering Ambassador Josh Jones achieved a merit in his year 1 of his level 3 BTEC Engineering course. Commenting on his results and achievements, Josh’s dad Neil Jones stated “I have been so impressed by the way in which the Engineering tutors have supported my son over the last year. Josh has thoroughly enjoyed the course and, despite the challenges of Covid, he has still had the opportunity to engage in a variety of additional enrichment activities, including returning to Cyfarthfa High School and take part in an engineering employment engagement project with year 8 pupils and Newport Wafer Fab.”
Other past Cyfarthfa High School pupils and Royal Academy of Engineering and Panasonic Trust Future Engineers Awardees celebrating their results included Jessy Jones, Finley Dummet and Hardik Malhorta.
Former pupil and IT learner Rio Jones achieved a D*D*D* in her BTEC level 3 IT diploma, enabling her to now progress successfully on to the HND Computing course here at the college. Commenting on her results, Rio said “I think this year has been a bit tough for everyone but the tutors have been so supportive and have helped me to achieve the very best I can on the course”
Joshua Flynn, former Cyfarthfa High School pupil, was also celebrating outstanding vocational results, achieving a D*D*D* in his BTEC Level 3 Business Studies course. Joshua is now progressing on to the Network 75 Apprenticeship scheme to study Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management.
Speaking to Wales on line, Joshua commented “I felt that the whole transition period was very smooth and the college was very welcoming from day one. The tutors were excellent and provided me with full backing to help me achieve the grades I aspired to achieve.”
Level 3 Sports learner and past Cyfarthfa High School pupil, Mackenzie Thomas, also achieved a triple distinction star. Commenting on his results, Mackenzie said “The course has enabled me to develop the skills and knowledge to progress on to a sports journalism course at the University of South Wales. It’s also helped me in my coaching role at Cardiff City FC, Merthyr Town and the FAW Trust.”
Celebrating triple distinction stars alongside Mackenzie was former Cyfarthfa pupil Libby Rees and former Idris Davies pupil Leah Williams. Leah is now progressing on to study a Sports Teaching and Physical Education Degree at the University of Gloucester. Commenting on her experience at college, Leah said “All of the sports tutors have been really supportive over the last two years. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on the course.”
Travel and Tourism learners Emily Thomas and Ethan Scriven were also celebrating their results after their first year of study on the course.
Commenting on his experience and the course, Ethan stated “The support I have had since being in college has been overwhelming, especially over the last 13 months. Any worries or issues I have had, I always had a member of staff to help. My plans for the next year will be staying on for my second year of Travel and tourism. After this I would really like to work within the tourism industry abroad.”
Simon Evans, Director of Data and Performance, commented “This is the seventh year on the run that our A level and vocational learners have achieved outstanding academic results. Year on year we are continually improving upon our results and outcomes, achieving a higher percentage of A*-A grades and A*-C grades and a higher number of Distinction Stars across our vocational courses. This continual upward trend in outcomes reflects the high quality and inspirational teaching and learning and outstanding pastoral support that we provide at the college and also reinforces our position as one of the top performing colleges in Wales.”