Day of triumph for A-level stars

Published on: 07 Sep 2015

David Baker

YOUNG people from the Downend area are off to university this month after some spectacular A-level successes.
A number are heading for Oxbridge, including one each from Downend School and Mangotsfield School.
Ben Hubbert, from Emersons Green, will read maths at Balliol College in Oxford after gaining A*s in maths, further maths and chemistry A-levels at Downend School.
He said: “I was predicted to do well but I wasn’t quite expecting to get the top grade in all three. It is overwhelming. I can’t quite believe it has happened.”
Ben paid tribute to the staff at Downend School for their support.
“I have loved my time here. The teaching is briliant. I couldn’t have done as well as I have withouth the teachers’ help,” he said.
 David Baker, from Downend, is going to study natural sciences at Cambridge after achiving an amazing five A*s in physics, chemistry, maths, further maths and an Extended Project Qualification.
“I’m over the moon!” he told Downend Voice. “It means I can go on to do my dream - to study natural sciences at Cambridge, which is a course I’ve always wanted to do.
“I’m looking forward to starting there. I looked at a lot of different universities but felt Cambridge had the ideal environment for studying. It was the only one which seemed right.”
He has been delighted at the level of support he has received from sixth-form staff.
“The staff were very supportive to my goals. They were challenging and pushing me further. I owe a lot of my success in the last few months to them. I have been lucky they have wanted the best for me.”
David, who has one younger sister who is studying at Mangotsfield School, hopes to eventually complete a PhD and go on to a career in physics research.
Also Cambridge-bound is Katie Woods, from Downend, head girl at Redland High School last year. She is going  to Queens’ College, having achieved A*/A grades in history, English and psychology.
Meanwhile, Fergus Higgins, of Mangotsfield, gained two A*s and an A at Bristol Cathedral Choir School, comfortably meeting the requirements of Oriel College, Oxford, for a place to read theology. He also gained an A* grade on his Extended Project Qualification dissertation, which looked at the ordination of women.
He has been at the school since Year 7. “I am not one of those people who always wanted to go to Oxford; I took the decision after my AS- levels,” he said.
Other high achievers include Jasmine Lalli, from Downend, who gained  three A* grades at Colston’s Girls’ School and will study law at Birmingham, and Kate Taylor, from Downend, who secured a place at Southampton University to study physics after achieving A grades in maths and physics and a B in chemistry at St Brendan’s Sixth Form College.
Holly Sawyer, from Downend, editor of the school magazine at Winterbourne International Academy and a regular contributor  to our sister publication Frome Valley Voice, is heading for a journalism course at Bournemouth University thanks to her three A grades.
Other strong performers at the school were Dominic Porteous, from Downend, with two A*s and a B and Emma-Louise Dyer, from Soundwell, who achieved an A* and two As.
Lara Hill, from Emersons Green, has decided against university in spite of gaining 42 points in the International Baccalaureate at The Red Maids’ School in Bristol. She has gained a coveted place with Harrods on a 18-month school leavers’ scheme to learn about retail. Lara, who has spent the summer as a Camp America leader in New York State, is a keen netball player and umpire.

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