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There was a buzz of nerves and excitement at Trent College this morning as we welcomed another year of GCSE achievement (Thursday 25 August).
No fewer than 113 candidates sat GCSEs this year, with 42.4% of all grades achieved by Trent College students in the top A*-A grade band and 25 students scoring eight or more A*s or As.
One of these was Lucie Gale, who was the school's top performer this year with 10A*s and 1A, but she admitted to just being relieved the wait for the results was over.
Academic scholar Lucie, who plays hockey for Belper HC as well as the school, said: “I’m really, really happy and there’s a lot of relief too. I was quite open minded as to how I may do as I thought some of the exams didn’t go as well as they could have so it’s great to find out I’ve got the results I have.
"The school’s always been very supportive in whatever I’ve done, sport, hockey, drama and music too, and in trying to keep all of it balanced while studying for GCSEs. If we missed lessons with hockey we were always given the chance to catch up. For example, when I missed DT, they opened the workshop late and I had extra time to finish off my coursework.”
Musicians Julia He and Callum Henderson were also amongst those celebrating top marks, both getting the highest A^ grade in Further Maths and an A apiece with Julia adding 9A*s and Callum 8A*s.
Julia, also an academic scholar, recently returned from playing violin with the Nottingham Youth Orchestra in Prague and she believes Trent College has played a key role in her fulfilling her academic ambitions alongside all of her other interests.
She said: “I was most pleased with my Sciences as I want to go into Medicine and a few universities do take into account your GCSE grades. I really enjoy playing hockey as I’m with my friends and it’s time off from doing really hard academic work.
"I was also lucky enough to be part of the orchestra in the pit for Into The Woods, which was the Main School Musical production. I found out about the Nottingham Youth Orchestra through the music department and have been on tour with the school to Venice too so there are fantastic opportunities here.”
Music scholar Callum, who plays percussion, bass guitar and sings, added: "I like to be jack of all trades, I get bored quite easily, and music is a good way of expressing my creative side. Trent enables me to have very broad horizons and invest my time into lots of different areas. It is a very good music department here, with a lot of facilities, lots of ensembles and all of the staff are really supportive. It really is like a family environment.”
Two of the school’s Head of Houses, Connor Robinson (Kemp House) and John Taylor (Owen House), were also left reflecting on how their extra-curricular activities have helped support their GCSE achievements.
Connor, who got A^, 7A*, 1A and 1B, said: "The school’s given me an excellent environment in which to nurture what I want to do. I focus on academics but Trent offers the opportunity to do whatever you want on the extra-curricular side. Being a Head of House this year too has been a good opportunity to work with all the lower years and the teachers just to try to keep Trent how it is, as in my opinion, it’s been an excellent school for me.”
Sport scholar John, who plays hockey for Belper HC and is also a keen cricketer, scored 4A* and 6A. He continued: "Throughout my whole GCSEs I carried on playing sport to the level I’ve always played at and I think that’s helped my studies because it gives you a break, is an enjoyable distraction and a release.
“Being Head of House, I developed a lot of leadership skills and learning how to deal with people. I’ve learned things through my life at Trent, like the right ways to behave and what’s best to do, and because I’ve had that experience I can help show others what to do. I’ve gained confidence but ambition too; wanting to get good grades and being prepared to put the work in, I’ve developed a lot of determination throughout my GCSEs."
Meanwhile drama scholar Cameron Bovell is one student receiving their GCSE results today who has come through from The Elms, Trent College’s junior school, and he believes the foundations for his success today were laid back then.
Cameron, who got 6A* and 4A, said: “I’ve built confidence from The Elms from a really young age. The people and the community at The Elms and then Trent College is better than I ever could have imagined and I’m so happy I’m staying as a boarder next year. Trent lets you get involved in everything and that’s always my advice to the younger students when I’m asked how to get the best out of Trent, just throw yourself into it.
"The school helps you learn how to manage your time so you can fit it all in without using all your energy and burning out. I’ve got better at that as I’ve gone on to the point that now at GCSEs I’ve managed to do two productions in a year for Drama, play Midlands hockey, play the clarinet and still get the results I ended up with it. It makes you a more rounded person, and a proper personality beyond just grades on a piece of paper."
The school’s overall A*-C pass rate this year is 92%, with 16.7% at the top A* grade. Particularly impressive performances came in Further Maths, with 14 candidates achieving the ultimate A ‘power' or A*/A grades, while other top performing subjects included German, History, Religious Studies and Latin with A* and A grade percentages all at 60% or above.
The majority of students will now continue their academic studies in Trent College Sixth Form from September.
Mr Bill Penty, Head of Trent College, said: "I am delighted by the grades achieved by our pupils this year. So many of our pupils at Trent College also do a huge variety of things at a high level outside of the classroom. As these stories testify, all that they have done academically sits alongside some wonderful extra-curricular achievements, which is certainly one of the great strengths of our school. I am very proud of all of them and we are really looking forward to welcoming them back into our Sixth Form here."