Following another set of spectacular results in A Levels and in other advanced level qualifications, hundreds of SJR students will now be progressing to elite universities and to a wide range of highly prestigious apprenticeships. 2022 marks the 50th anniversary since St John Rigby College opened as the first Catholic sixth form college in the country and this year has seen yet another outstanding set of results, perhaps THE most outstanding in its proud history. The students’ overall pass rate is just short of 100% and, remarkably, over 65% of student grades are ‘high grades’ (A*/A/B or equivalent) – with A Level high grades having increased by approximately 15 percentage points since external examinations last took place in 2019.
This has been another uniquely challenging year for Advanced Level students. A Level students could be forgiven for getting increasingly nervous in recent days due to the national headlines about this year’s grades being lower than last year’s. SJR students need not have worried and deserve great credit since, whilst this may be the case across the country as a whole, it is not the case at SJR in what has proven to be a record breaking year.
These achievements are even more impressive given that most of the first year of studies was spent following a 50/50 split of online learning and classroom based learning. Whilst the second year was able to be a little more ‘normal’, there have been many disruptions caused by students and staff having absences due to COVID and additional ‘catch up work’ being needed. Managing a way through these challenges has required resilience and determination, as well as dedication and commitment to academic study, and every grade achieved this year is one which merits recognition and celebration.
This is now the fourth consecutive year when students’ high grade performance (A*/A/B or equivalent) has exceeded 60%, meaning that more than 6 out of every 10 grades achieved by students were ‘high grades’. This is quite remarkable when considering the College’s inclusive nature and it being equally welcoming of students with high GCSE grade profiles and those who are more marginally qualified. The College’s philosophy is that within the right environment there is ‘no ceiling to achievement’ and that all students require support to achieve their potential. This applies just as much to well qualified GCSE students as it does to those who only just meet the minimum entry criteria. Whatever their starting point, all students can be supported and inspired to excel, and this is clearly what has happened this year. Never has there been a time when such support was more in need than these last couple of years and the combination of hard work from students, and from staff, has clearly resulted in something special having taken place. It is worth recalling that the majority of this group of young people had never before sat an external examination and had to cope with the anxiety of doing so for the first time when so much was depending upon the outcome of their exams.
The Principal, Peter McGhee, commented as follows: “During my 12 years at St John Rigby College there have been many highlights, however, I think that these results are the ones of which I am most proud. In absolute terms, they are an exceptional set of grades but when you consider the context within which they were achieved, I believe that these achievements are unrivalled and exceed those in the 50 year history of SJR. Our students, our teachers and our support staff deserve enormous credit for what has been achieved and I hope that they are all as proud as I am of their efforts and of their successes.
“We are delighted that our class of 2022 will leave the College fully equipped with the qualifications, skills and experience to be extremely successful in their future studies and/or employment. Unfortunately, as is always the case within an examination system, there are individual disappointments for some students who have not achieved the grades that they had hoped for or that they had deserved. We are here to provide support to these students, to help them to recognise all that they have achieved and to guide them through their future options.”
St John Rigby College students received their results electronically at 8am this morning. However, many students took up the opportunity made available to them to meet up with friends and staff at the College. This enabled them to share their successes and their celebrations whilst also, where necessary, being able to access support and guidance regarding next steps and any decisions about their future opportunities.