Colleges ‘top performers’ in A-level results across Wales

The A-level pass rate at a range of further education colleges has surpassed the Wales and UK average. Students from colleges in Wales are now heading to higher education; including Oxford, Cambridge and other prestigious universities. Vocational learners studying extended diplomas – which carry the same UCAS points as A-levels – are also confirming their university places today.

Almost all FE colleges offering significant academic provision surpassed the overall average pass rate for Wales. These include Coleg Cambria, Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, Gower College Swansea, NPTC Group of Colleges (serving Neath Port Talbot and Powys), The College Merthyr Tydfil, Pembrokeshire College, Coleg Sir Gâr, Coleg Gwent and St David’s Catholic Sixth Form College.

A-level results in local authorities that have recently switched from school sixth form provision to college-based academic provision have shown further notable improvements. The Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone, a campus of Coleg Gwent, has ensured that one of the lowest achieving local authority areas for A-level results a few

years ago has become one of the nation’s top performers, with an outstanding 99.6% A-level pass rate. The College Merthyr Tydfil again reported a set of superb results, with an AS result pass rate of 91% that easily exceeds the Wales average of 88%. For a second year running, the college reported an overall 99% A-level pass rate.

Colleges are major players in academic provision in Wales in terms of scale and quality. Grŵp Llandrillo Menai had almost 700 students on A-level and AS level academic programmes this year, while Gower College Swansea made 3,000 individual AS entries. 67 students from Gower College Swansea achieved straight A*-A grades at A-level this summer. A range of colleges offer well-established ‘gifted and talented programmes’ to ensure that students with the highest academic potential are helped to excel. Coleg Cambria will soon open a new and dedicated sixth form centre in Connah’s Quay: Deeside Sixth. The north-east Wales college reported a 78% A*-C pass rate for A-level, above the Wales and UK benchmarks.

These aggregated figures reflect many significant personal achievements.

All round high achiever Calum Haggett (19) a Wales under-18 rugby captain from Tonyrefail, achieved three A’s and one A* grade in maths, physics, chemistry and biology at Coleg y Cymoedd and secured a place at University College London to study biomedical science.

Abbie Lodwick from the NPTC Group of Colleges scored an A* in sociology, an A in psychology and a top grade in the Advanced Welsh Bacc to win herself a place at Warwick University to study psychology.

Ben Pepper from Pembrokeshire College collected a clean sweep of three A*s in physics, maths, and further maths to gain a place at Imperial College, London.

The College Merthyr Tydfil, in only its second year of full A-level results, helped

Rachel McKeown become their first student to be offered a place in the sciences at Cambridge University, after she achieved 3 A*s and an A in the sciences and mathematics.

ColegauCymru's Deputy Chief Executive, Greg Walker, said: “Colleges are right to highlight these impressive results. They are now pivotal players in delivering high quality academic as well as vocational provision across Wales. The breadth and strength of provision at colleges allows for better curriculum choice for FE students, as well as specialist teaching in key areas.”

“My congratulations go to the students who have achieved their goals, as well as the teachers and support staff across Wales who helped them on their journey to success.”