Benenden School is celebrating another set of excellent A Level results.
In results announced today (Thursday 15 August), an impressive 19 per cent of all grades were at A* – the highest level – while more than half (55 per cent) were A* or A. Overall, 80 per cent of grades were A*-B.
Headmistress Samantha Price said: “Many congratulations to our students on their excellent performances this year.
“I am immensely pleased with what they have achieved, especially in the face of some incredibly challenging exam papers this year. Benenden girls have, as ever, done themselves proud and are celebrating very well-deserved results.
“We are delighted to see them moving on to some of the top university destinations in the world, armed not only with excellent exam results but, crucially, with the additional skills and experience that come from a Benenden education.
“For example, our leaving Sixth Formers have run businesses as part of our Professional Skills Programme, constructed a microlight and a racing car, debated around the world as part of the Model United Nations, jumped from a parachute, organised a series of inspirational talks and worked with real energy and commitment in the wider community.
“We know the Class of 2019 will go out and make a hugely positive difference in the world.”
These impressive results come against the backdrop of a tough national picture, with the proportion of top grades falling to their lowest level in a decade amid the biggest reform of exams for a generation.
This summer marks the third and final year of these reforms, with the exception of a few foreign language qualifications next year, which are aimed at making the courses tougher. Students have had to adjust to new qualifications with new, more challenging content and modules being removed to place greater emphasis on final exams.
The new subjects have been phased in over the past three years. Those being assessed under the reformed system for the first time this year include Maths, Further Maths, Politics, Chinese, History of Art and Design & Technology.
As ever, Benenden’s results include numerous stories of individual achievement. Nineteen students gained two or more A* grades, with four of these girls gaining three A*s and an A each. An incredible 60 girls gained ABB or above and 58 girls gained three or more A Levels with nothing less than a B.
Six girls took Mandarin Pre-U, gaining extremely high marks: this is testimony to the School’s Confucius Award, given by the Chinese government in recognition of exceptional teaching of Mandarin.
One-hundred per cent of those taking Art gained an A* or A, with several girls progressing to prestigious foundation courses in art, textiles and design: one girl was shortlisted as a finalist for the National Young Fashion Designer Award and another had a piece exhibited in the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy.
Ninety per cent of girls have achieved their first or second choice of university destination. The cohort of 94 students is going on to study subjects as diverse as Medicine, Engineering, Computer Science, Finance, Liberal Arts, International Relations, Geography and Social Anthropology, and Animal Behaviour and Welfare. One girl will be studying Sport (Sports Performance) and is currently training with the rowing squad at Team GB as well as playing Lacrosse for Wales.
Studying abroad is a popular option, with a number of students off to the US, including one to Yale, as well as one to McGill in Canada and another to Australia.
Alongside their A Levels, Benenden girls study the bespoke Professional Skills Programme which prepares girls for the workplace. The course is designed jointly by the School and blue-chip employers and recruitment consultants, and every girl has the chance to run her own business during her time in the Sixth Form.
Benenden fully prepares pupils for university and life. For example, 35 girls took the optional qualification The Extended Project, which is similar to a university dissertation and accredits the skills of independent research and essay writing, and 27 of these gained A* or A grades.
Sixth Form life at Benenden includes a range of vibrant co-curricular opportunities and lectures and seminars from leading national figures, as well as space and time to live, learn and grow in a dynamic modern boarding campus. Bursary support is available to assist families who choose the Sixth Form at Benenden.
Mrs Price added: “I would also like to congratulate our partner school, The John Wallis Church of England Academy in Ashford, for their results, where the percentage of students with three or more qualifications at A* – E or equivalent (including both A Level and vocational courses) rose by 2 per cent.”