It’s a tradition nearly as old as exams themselves: London Oratory students pick up their GCSE results, then head off to the Reading Festival.
“Yes, I’m going, and a lot of us are going,” said Cassius O’Connell-White, 16. “I’m looking forward to Muse, and Eminem.”
And the exams? “I did much better than I thought; the results included an A* in art and A in chemistry. That surprised me, I didn’t think I’d done that well.”
He’ll now stay on at the Oratory sixth form, working towards his goal of becoming an architect, having spent part of the summer doing work experience with a London firm.
“It’s a good sixth form here, and I’ve got a lot of friends who are staying on too. I’m excited to be coming back.”
Another 16-year-old student who will be returning to become a sixth-former at London Oratory is Peter Fadian. He is one of only 3 per cent of students in England to get a 9 in the new-format Maths exam, plus a top-grade 9 in English Lit.
“I don’t believe it… I was expecting maybe a 7,” he said. The rest of Peter’s 10 GCSEs were either A* or A, setting him on course to ultimately gain a British Army university scholarship – depending on his A level grades - which will make a big dent in any student debt.
Acting deputy head Gary Howells was particularly impressed by the way students and staff had coped with alterations to this year’s GCSEs.
“As ever, we’re delighted with how well our pupils have done,” he said. “The changes have undoubtedly been challenging for students and teachers, but it looks like everyone’s risen to that challenge.”
Merits, stars and maximum grades were cascading out of the white results envelopes in the school’s entrance hall.
James Coltman, 16, was another itching to get off to the Reading Festival having checked how he had done.
“I started getting nervous as I picked up the envelope,” he admitted. “It hit me, about five minutes from school, just how important this is.”
No need to worry. All 10 of James’s grades were A* or A, with top 9s in English and English Lit, and an impressive 8 in Maths.
“I’m pretty happy,” he said with a grin. “I’m going to do maths here at A level, plus history and Latin… and economics at AS level. Beyond that, I’m keeping my options open.”
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