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Cardiff and Vale College students triumph over lockdown to bring home A Level and BTEC success

Cardiff and Vale College
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Despite facing a year unlike any other, Cardiff and Vale College (@CAVC) students are today celebrating excellent A Level and BTEC results, securing top university places and excellent progression routes.

This year the College saw more students than ever gaining A Levels, with a record 569 learners getting their results today and celebrating a fantastic 96% A Level success rate. 

The results build on the year-on-year increase in students gaining A grades, with nearly 170 students gaining A*-A and 15 learners achieving at least three As or above. Out of the more than 30 subject areas offered by CAVC, top performing areas for A*-A include Fine Art, Maths and Further Maths, French, Spanish, Drama, Religious Studies, Physical Education, History and Psychology.

Those studying Level 3 BTEC qualifications alongside or instead of A Levels also find out their final grades on the same day, and CAVC students performed magnificently well.

As one of the largest providers of BTEC qualifications in the country, some 825 students studied BTECs at the College in 2020-21, in subjects ranging from Cyber Security through to Sport, Photography and Applied Science. Those gaining BTEC grades today also gain UCAS points, just like A Level learners. This year, 30% of learners achieved Distinction grades, and many are progressing on to university.

Cardiff and Vale College Principal Kay Martin said: “I am absolutely delighted to see so many of our students do so well under extremely challenging circumstances.

“It has been so heartening to see staff and students come together to overcome the difficulties posed by lockdowns and the restrictions imposed by COVID-19. The students’ hard work and determination has paid off, and today we can wish them well as they progress either into further learning, university or employment.

“Thank you to both students and staff for working with such commitment to ensure these successes”

Cardiff and Vale College is one of the largest A Level providers in the Capital Region, offering more than 30 different courses, based at the College’s landmark City Centre Campus with state of the art facilities including science labs, dance studios, theatre and a wide range of subject specific teaching spaces. It also has a popular Scholars Programme designed to help learners get into top universities.

Large numbers of CAVC students will now be progressing from A Levels and BTECs into Higher Education, including Oxbridge, Russell Group universities and other leading universities across the UK and internationally.

One student who has made the most of what CAVC has to offer is A Level student Oscar Griffin. Oscar was part of the first cohort to study the College’s new A Level Classics option, and after achieving A*s in Classics and English Literature and an A in History, he is off to study Classical Latin and Greek at Cambridge University.

“I’m so excited to go to Cambridge and so pleased that my tutors’ hard work has paid off – Danny Pucknell’s especially!” Oscar said. “My tutors at the College have been amazing and I definitely think that my time at CAVC has helped me achieve this goal.”

Oscar also signed up to CAVC’s Scholars Programme, which is designed to offer learners the opportunity to broaden their learning experience beyond the tradition A Level Curriculum. It also offers support with applications to elite universities.

“The Scholars Program really stood out as an opportunity, because you get to interact and learn critical thinking skills with people who might be on a similar academic pathway to you,” he explained.

“I definitely think the College has helped me achieve my goals. It’s been a really great, supportive learning environment. I’ve really enjoyed studying all of my courses. I think it’s a really nice environment to study in.

“My teachers have all been really supportive, even through online learning, and I think it’s a really nice environment.”

Another student who believes they benefited through the Scholars Programme is Joanna Korman. After achieving an A* in Further Maths and As in Chemistry and Physics, Joanna is progressing to the University of Bath to study an Integrated Masters in Aerospace Engineering.

“I feel great! I’m really proud of myself for being able to achieve these results in such a difficult time,” she said. “I chose to study A Levels at CAVC because I felt like I would get more opportunities here than I would at my high school. I was also able to choose the courses I wanted to do.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at CAVC. I feel like it was definitely the right choice for me.  I really enjoyed the Scholars program – the amount of opportunities that were relayed to us were incredible, like going to a STEM competition hosted by a university.

“I feel like my time here has definitely helped achieve my goals in a way that doing A-levels at a high school wouldn’t. I had great experiences and wonderful teachers and staff.”

Harri Williams was Captain of the College’s Rugby Academy and studied a BTEC in Product Design. He graduated with D*D*D* grades and is progressing on to Loughborough University to study Commercial Management and Quantity Surveying.

“Getting the three top grades in the Extended BTEC Diploma was amazing and this has allowed me to get into the university of my choice to study a course I’m really passionate about,” Harri said.

“I am really looking forward to going to Loughborough.  They have a superb Engineering Faculty and top the league tables for the course. Like CAVC, the rugby programme is also very strong and I am relishing the challenge of competing for a place in the BUCS rugby team.”

The CAVC Rugby Academy, where players can develop their skills both on the pitch and in the classroom, was motivating factor to come to CAVC for him.

“Despite the COVID pandemic, my time at CAVC has been brilliant,” he said. “The support that I have had from my course tutors has been superb.  It was because of their guidance and support that I was able to achieve such good grades. 

“The rugby programme was part of the reason I chose to attend CAVC. Having the opportunity to get a quality education and play rugby at a high level was incredibly important to me and CAVC delivered on both fronts.”

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He believes his time at CAVC was crucial to his progression to Loughborough.

“I would not be going to Loughborough had I not chosen CAVC for my post-16 studies,” Harri said. “For that I will be eternally grateful.”

Harry Birch also studied a BTEC at CAVC, in his case Sport. After graduating with three merits, he is heading to his first choice of university, Bournemouth, to study Chiropractic Medicine.

“I’m really happy that I got the grades,” he said. “I worked really hard and my teachers helped to get to the university I wanted to go to.”

He felt that the College was the right choice for him.

“The idea of going back to school wasn’t for me,” Harry explained. “And knowing that I could go university through a BTEC at Cardiff and Vale College opened up many doors for me.

“I really enjoyed my time at CAVC; I met so many new people and made lifelong friends and the staff were excellent as well. For me the thing that stood out was how well the teachers helped us with our learning and how eager they were to get us to where we wanted to go – that really motivated me.”

Laurie Powell has gained As in A Level Film Studies, Graphic Design and Photography, and will begin a Film degree in the University of Falmouth next term.

“I was really glad to get those results in my A-levels,” he said. “In a year where both my College life and work were affected by a pandemic I was pleased to see those results.

“I chose to study at CAVC was they had the specific courses that I was interested in. Thanks to these courses I was able to gain and develop the skills that will be useful for my university course and my desired future career.”

Laurie was determined not to let the events of the last 17 months get in his way.

“Despite the obvious impact of the pandemic I’ve enjoyed my time at the College,” he said. “The people I met in my courses, both the teachers and the students, have had a positive impact on me, and I was able to maintain the social and educational aspects of my life even throughout a pandemic.”

The creative focus of the subjects Laurie studied and his tutors encouraged him to take his own unique path, enabling him to create work that he both enjoyed and was proud of.

“I do believe my time at CAVC has helped me meet the goals I had when I applied to College,” Laurie said. “The support I received from my teachers and peers throughout my courses allowed me to develop and succeed both creatively and academically.”

After achieving As in Computer Science, ICT and Maths, Omar Sufer is progressing on to Swansea University to study Computer Science, to help him in his ambition to become a Software Engineer.

“I feel happy about my results because I’ve worked very hard for them, especially this year because of COVID-19,” he said.

Omar decided to study his A Levels at CAVC after attending an Open Evening and being impressed by the tutors and the College’s state of the art facilities.

“I enjoyed being part of the amazing Student Digital Leader Team,” he added. Cardiff and Vale College teachers and the facilities were always available to me which was very helpful during exam season, and it helped me achieve these grades.”

After achieving A*s in Art and Maths and an A in Physics, Bianca Zerbini is progressing to the University of Bath to study Architecture.

“I did have the option to study at my high school’s sixth form, but I thought CAVC would give me a better preparation for uni and also allow me to have more independence,” Bianca said.

“I met a lot of great people from various backgrounds and walks of life; I liked the diversity within the College. I do think I missed out on some things as COVID-19 affected my time at CAVC, but during most of AS where we were under normal circumstances, I had an amazing experience.”

Bianca also benefited from some of the additional opportunities that studying at CAVC can offer. “I participated in the Career Ready program which was very enriching and gave me some knowledge of the labour market and how to make myself more employable,” she explained.

Her A Level results have left Bianca over the moon.

“I’m very pleased with myself and extremely happy with the outcomes – I think all my hard work paid off in the end,” she said. “I could not have expected better results!

“In my opinion the freedom that the College gave me towards my studies provided me with the tools I needed to be a more independent worker and have confidence to develop things on my own.”

If you would like to study A Levels or a BTEC course at Cardiff and Vale College, or study a university-level course through CAVC clearing, apply now at www.cavc.ac.uk.

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