CELEBRATIONS could be heard across Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly yesterday as pupils picked up their A-level results.

— Monmouthshire

In Monmouthshire, the percentage of students achieving the very highest grades has improved upon last year’s results.

The overall pass rate for schools in Monmouthshire was high, with Caldicot School achieving 100 per cent.

Sara Williams, who goes to the school, is one of many pupils celebrating and will soon be reading French and history at Cardiff University.

She said: “I am over the moon with my results.

“I cannot wait to go to university.”

Emma Kirkby has graduated from Caldicot School and will be heading to Bath University.

She said: “I thought I was going to fail, but I got two A* and two As.

"I’m going to do management with marketing.”

Acting head teacher Simon Rees said he was “thrilled" with the pupils’ success, saying: "It has been a very exciting morning as, along with improved performance across the school, we have received confirmation form our students of their destinations.

"We encourage them to be ambitious and it is wonderful to learn that the majority of them can now begin preparing for the next steps, including many embarking upon a whole range of interesting courses at university."

Over at Chepstow School, the site saw 99 per cent of its grades fall between A*- E.

Emma Mellen, who is the assistant headteacher and head of sixth form, hailed the results and praised pupils for their “hard work”.

South Wales Argus: Scenes of joy at Chepstow School.Scenes of joy at Chepstow School.

She said: “We are so immensely proud of our students and their achievements today. Today’s results are a culmination of the collective hard work of students, parent/carers and teachers over the last two years. All our students will go on to new adventures, challenges and successes in their chosen universities, colleges, apprenticeships and the world of work. These amazing young people have demonstrated determination and resilience whilst at the same time contributing daily to the energy and ethos of Chepstow School. We wish them every success in the future.”

Isabelle Roberts achieved three As in history, psychology and economics.

She said: “I wasn’t expecting these marks. I worked really hard for them. I’m going to Exeter University.”

Lloyd Bartlett, also from Chepstow School, will now be able to complete a degree apprenticeship with Airbus after getting top marks.

He said: “I got two A* and one B. I’m really pleased. I haven’t told my parents yet.”

South Wales Argus: Judah Chudleigh of Chepstow School, with his mother, is off to Cardiff University.Judah Chudleigh of Chepstow School, with his mother, is off to Cardiff University.

Judah Chudleigh is off to Cardiff University to read media and communications.

He said: “Last year wasn’t the best. I then put my head down and worked really, really hard. It paid off.

"I want to thank my mum and staff at Chepstow School.”

And Molly Van Buren, who achieved two A* and one A grade, will be going to Cambridge University.

South Wales Argus: Molly van Buren (centre).Molly van Buren (centre).

Success could also be seen at Monmouth Comprehensive School which saw a 98 per cent pass rate, of which 43 per cent achieved the very top grades A* - A and 84 per cent of students achieved A*- C.

A number of pupils achieved the very top grades across all A-level courses at the school. Those who did included Jacob Powell, Emily Brown, Luke Rogers, Beth Kinniment-Williams, Georgia Parry, Emily Shields, Blake Stephens and Robert Williams. And three of those pupils – Jacob, Emily and Luke – have now accepted their places at Oxbridge.

In Abergavenny's King Henry VIII, more than one-third of all grades were at A* - A.

Some of the many pupils who secured top grades included Lauren Aurelius, Aran Gersten, Cara Newsam, Ella Price and Oliver Sims and Beth Fraser.

Lauren Aurelius has gained a place at Trinity College, Oxford to read history, Cara Newsam has secured a place at Pembroke College, Cambridge to read natural sciences and Aran Gersten will soon to read medicine at Manchester University.

At Monmouth School for Boys, 38.5 per cent of all grades were A* - A and 66.4 per cent were A* - B which is an improvement in the results from 2018.

Fourteen boys recorded three or more A* and A grades.

And at Haberdashers' Monmouth School for Girls, 39.3 per cent of all grades were A* - A and 69.6 per cent - more than two-thirds of all grades – were A* - B.

Ten girls achieved three or more A* and A grades.

Great Britain junior rowing cox, Jack Tottem, a deputy head of school at Monmouth School for Boys, achieved three As and will be taking up an offer to read history at Oxford University.

Joe Bailey was another student who excelled, having recorded two A* and two A grades and will be heading to the University of St Andrews to read computer science.

He said: “I am absolutely delighted and the results have put me on the pathway towards working in computing, possibly in cyber-security.”

Headmaster at Monmouth School for Boys, Dr Andrew Daniel, said: “This is the first year of the fully reformed and more challenging two-year linear A level examinations and the boys have achieved very strong results.

“Having played such a full role in the life of the school, alongside their academic commitments, the vast majority of boys are now able to take up offers at their first or second choice university.”

The MP for Monmouth, David Davies, congratulated pupils’ successes, saying: “I am absolutely delighted with the results which are a tribute to the hard work of teachers students and the local authority who have transformed schools in Monmouthshire.

“I look forward to success next year as one of my own children will be taking her exams at one of the schools.”

And Councillor Richard John, who is the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Monmouthshire County Council, added: “I am so pleased to see how much our learners have achieved – they really should be so pleased of what they have achieved today.

“These results demonstrate how hard students have worked with the support from their families and carers. The results are also testament to the excellent work undertaken by our teachers and all of the teams across all four of our secondary schools.

“Today is a day to celebrate their achievements before they take their exciting next steps towards a successful and rewarding career. Well done everyone.”

— Caerphilly & Blaenau Gwent

There were smiles all around at Coleg Gwent as pupils entered the college’s campuses at Crosskeys and the Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone to pick up their results.

Pupils at Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone enjoyed an incredible 100 per cent overall pass rate in grades A*-E – up from 98.72 per cent last year - while those at Crosskeys campus celebrated with a 97.62 per cent overall pass rate.

Principal Guy Lacey said: “We’re delighted with our consistently high pass rates which reflect the commitment and hard work of our students and staff. Coleg Gwent is one of Wales’ top performing colleges and these results are a testament to the standard of education students can expect when they study with us.

“Congratulations to all of our students in achieving these excellent results. We know they work hard and these results will enable them to progress on to good universities or take up exciting employment opportunities. We wish them every success for the future.”

Charlotte Mitchell,18, of Swffryd, achieved two A grades in law and sociology and an A* in psychology, and is off to read law at the University of Liverpool.

South Wales Argus: Charlotte Mitchell.Charlotte Mitchell.

This was achieved despite overcoming the challenge of having to lip read in many of her lessons – which she achieved with the help and support of her tutors.

The Welsh Deaf Squad U-18 rugby player, who became hard of hearing after suffering chickenpox at the age of two, hopes to become a barrister or solicitor and to make a difference to society.

“I think the law is really important to society and I want to be able to help make the law clearer and fairer for everyone,” said Charlotte.

Eve Tranter, from Croespenmaen, Newbridge, achieved four A* grades in biology, chemistry, maths and physics, and will now read medicine at Oxford University.

South Wales Argus: Eve Tranter.Eve Tranter.

She said “I really couldn’t be happier. I had to put my life on hold and work very, very hard for the past two years. I gave up a lot but I knew my goal. It was all well worth it.

“My tutors were amazing. They really couldn’t have done more. They were available to me any time of the day or night. The support I had was fantastic.”

And Liam Billingsley, 18, of Blackwood, is also celebrating after achieving an A* in English language and literature, and B grades in politics, Welsh and the Welsh Baccalaureate.

He will read English language and literature at Cardiff University.

He said: "It's been nerve-wracking waiting for today, but I'm really pleased.”

Politicians across Blaenau Gwent also praised pupils for their hard work.

The cabinet member for education and achievement, Cllr Philippa Marsden, said: “Congratulations to all our learners receiving their results today. Each individual success is the culmination of many years of hard work and commitment.

“Thanks must also go to our dedicated staff and parents, for their passion which has yet again helped support our young people in reaching their full potential.

“Whatever our students are choosing as their next step; whether they’re entering the world of work, taking up an apprenticeship or heading to university, I’m sure they’ll find they are very well equipped to make their next step in life a successful and enjoyable one”.

The AM for Caerphilly, Hefin David, said: “These strong set of results show more young people are achieving the very highest grades. I pay tribute to all students, parents, teachers and school governors who work hard to ensure pupils realise their educational goals.”

Alun Davies AM said: “Delighted to congratulate everyone from Blaenau Gwent who received the results they needed today. I’m also pleased to see further overall improvements in results from Wales including historically record results for the top grades. It a fantastic reflection of the work and commitment from students, teachers and the whole of the educational community.

“And for everyone who didn’t get the results they wanted today I also want to say that there are many different options and loads of help and support available. This is a part of a journey. The key thing is to work to achieve your potential and your ambitions”.

And Chris Evans, MP for Islwyn, added: "I am absolutely delighted to hear of the fantastic grades achieved by students from Coleg Gwent at the Crosskeys Campus. I am so glad young people in the area have access to such a brilliant college.

"I want to say congratulations to all the students of Coleg Gwent, hard work really does pay off. For those who did not get the results they were hoping for just know there are still some fantastic opportunities out there and the college will support you every step of the way."