North Norfolk Results Day

A-Level Results day at Paston College Lawns Site in North Walsham. Jumping for Joy from left Pryce B

A-Level Results day at Paston College Lawns Site in North Walsham. Jumping for Joy from left Pryce Brazier, Katie Holland, Steve Woolston, Connie Lardner and Shannon Jode. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Hundreds of envelopes were nervously opened across north Norfolk today as students finally received the news they have been waiting the summer for.

Half a dozen students from Paston Sixth Form College, in North Walsham, will be taking up university places at Oxford or Cambridge this year - matching Paston's record last year.

The college's overall A2 pass rate remained the same as last year, at 98pc, but principal Kevin Grieve said staff were particularly pleased that more than 50pc of students in 16 subjects had achieved top A*-B grades, which was an improvement on last year.

A total of 75pc of students gained A2 levels graded A*-C, and 96pc gained three or more A2 passes.

No-one in Christian Green's family has been to university before but Christian will be breaking the mould in style - having gained A* grades in maths, further maths, and physics.

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The former Acle Academy pupil is off to Birmingham University to study physics and astro-physics.

'Initially I wasn't planning to go to university,' said Christian, 18, who has been studying at Paston Sixth Form College.

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'But the staff have been really helpful in helping me fill in forms to go. I think I would have taken a year out and done a lot of 'umming' and 'aahing' and trying to get work experience.'

Former Aylsham High School pupil Martha Crass, 18, is taking a gap year while she decides what to do next with her life.

Martha gained A* grades in English literature and government and politics, and an A in French, at Paston Sixth Form College.

Martha, from Felmingham, said she was aware, with the abolition of the student maintenance grant next year, that she would be facing even higher debts by postponing university for a year.

'I always knew I'd have big debts at university and that I would have to have a job while I was there to help pay for it,' she said.

'But I wanted to be sure about what I studied. I think a lot of people are pressurised into going now because of the extra debt. I want to go when I know what I want to do, not because I've been pressurised into it.'

Josh Duckmanton, 18, plans to take Neil Kinnock's advice and put his gap year to good use.

The ex-North Walsham High School pupil has been a member of the Labour Party since he was 16 and met the former Labour leader at a political function.

'I asked him what I should do in future and he said: 'Get your A-levels out of the way and then change the world,' said Josh, from Mundesley, who plans to vote for Jeremy Corbyn in the forthcoming Labour leadership election.

Josh has applied to charities including the British Red Cross and Oxfam, hoping to help with humanitarian work, especially the refugee crisis in Europe.

He had decided to take a gap year before the government announced that it would stop student maintenance grants from 2016.

'It was too late by then for me to apply to drama college. For them to withdraw the grants at that late stage was really heartbreaking. I know some people who won't be going to university or college at all because of the debt,' said Josh.

He gained an A in A-level drama, and Bs in politics and performance studies at Paston, and hopes to secure a drama school place next year.

While at school Josh starred in productions of Grease and Footloose.

He has also worked in summer repertory at Sheringham Little Theatre and is a member of drama company Dreamstone Productions.

Former North Walsham High School head girl Elise Page is off to St Hughes College, Oxford, to read English after gaining an A* in English literature A-level, and As in maths and sociology at Paston.

Elise, 18, from North Walsham, is raring to go and plans to join a number of societies at university.

'There are so many opportunities,' said Elise, who enjoys writing poetry. 'If they haven't got a poetry magazine, I'll start one,' she added.

It was another successful year at Gresham's school in Holt where students celebrated securing their places at some of Britain's best universities.

Overall, 85.5pc of students gained A2 levels graded A* to C, 97.7pc achieved A2 levels graded A* to E and 89.6pc of students achieved three or more A2 passes.

Nick Twyman, 18 of Roughton, gained A*s in maths, chemistry and further maths and an A in physics at Gresham's school.

Nick, who started working as a lifeguard this summer at Kelling Heath leisure centre, has been accepted to go to Imperial College London to study materials science and engineering.

He said: 'Living in London will be a big step. I will miss this place (Gresham's) and I will miss seeing my friends but I feel like it's time to go.

'I knuckled down and did it. I feel like it's one life and why would you not put everything into it? You might as well achieve what you can in everything. If you work hard enough you get it.'

Helena Dye, 18 of Norwich, gained an A in geography, A* in photography and a C in business at Gresham's school.

Helena hopes to defer her place to read human geography and the environment at University of York to quench her wonderlust thirst.

'I have travelled a lot and that has given me itchy feet to do more,' said Helena who had recently returned from a month in Italy where she spontaneously volunteered to work for a week on a fruit farm.

She said she would like to go into conservation after completing her degree course and - if she were to take her gap year - would like to spend it in Latin America, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia.

Grace Pitkethly, 18 of Melton Constable, achieved two A*s in Maths and Chemistry and two As in Further Maths and History.

She now plans to study Anthropology at University College London (UCL).

Grace said,:'My education at Gresham's gave me the opportunity to study a wide range of subjects and enjoy many other activities. This made it possible for me to pursue a degree in Anthropology and I am really excited about going to university in London.'

And it was another year students and teachers alike jumped for joy at Sheringham high school's sixth form.

After a consistent record of high achieving cohorts, the sixth form has now received more applicants than ever.

Overall, 73pc of students gained A2 levels graded between A* to C, 99pc achieved grades between A* and E and 91pc gained three or more A2 passes.

George Andersen, 18 of Cley, will be heading to read computer science at University of Cambridge after gaining three A*s in maths, further maths and physics - with his computing A level result on the way.

'They are subjects I get whereas English I find hard,' said George who was studying at Sheringham high school.

George, who will study at the Robinson college, said he wasn't expecting his results to be so high.

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