So much to celebrate at St John Rigby on A-level results day

Summer 2023 has marked another outstanding set of results for students at St John Rigby College in Wigan. SJR’s work in striving continually for improvements has meant that pass rates have increased slightly, exceeding 98% once again, while high grades have rocketed in comparison to 2019, improving by more than 10 percentage points.  

An area of particular note and celebration is that of science and mathematics, across which there is an A-level pass rate of 100% and a high grade rate of 63%.   Student performance in applied general qualifications, most of which are Level 3 BTEC courses, resulted in 72% high grades and a pass rate which exceeded 99%. 

These results suggest that, as with last year’s cohort, the vast majority will progress to their chosen apprenticeships and degree courses.  To put this into context, 93% of last year’s students who applied to university, secured grades which meant that they were able to progress to their first choice university, a figure which exceeded the national average by approximately 25 percentage points.  

It is too early to give a precise equivalent for this year but the college said it seems likely that student progression to chosen destinations will be equally impressive.  All of the Oxbridge students at St John Rigby have secured the grades needed for their places at Oxford and Cambridge universities.

It is for these and many other reasons that staff at the college are so proud of the ‘Class of 2023’ and of the remarkable examination grades that they have achieved, every one of which merits recognition and celebration.  

This is a group of young people who sat their first ever external examinations this year, having spent most of their final two years of high school learning from home due to the pandemic and being unable to sit GCSE examinations in summer 2021.  They then had to manage their transition from school to college in September 2021.  

This can be a challenging time for 16-year-olds but this group of young people had to meet this challenge without the same academic foundations, having missed out on nearly two years of social interactions and having been unable to experience the traditional visits to college during years 10 and 11 which are designed to help them with this transition.  

When they arrived at college, they found themselves still having to be educated in circumstances which involved a mixture of face-to-face and online learning.  Despite the scale of this disruption, this group of young people are the first cohort since 2019 to have their grades adjusted in line with ‘pre-COVID’ grade profiles.  

Principal of St John Rigby College, Peter McGhee CBE, commented: “The achievements of this group of incredible young people are testament to their resilience, their hard work and the way that they have supported one another.  

“I could not be more proud of them or of the commitment of our staff.  Our students work extremely hard and inspire us to do all that we can to help them but it does need to be noted that the demands on support staff and teaching staff have been highly significant in recent years.  

“As is always the case, the environment created at SJR has produced something very special and will enable our young people to go on to do great things in the future.  

“This was recently demonstrated by the data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency which reported on the performance of former SJR students who completed their degrees in 2022.  

SJR students outperformed the national average of First Class and Upper Second Class degrees by 6% compared to all students who had progressed to university from sixth form colleges in 2019. 

“I also think it is worthy of note that half of these students were ‘first generation’ degree candidates, meaning that neither of their parents had experienced university qualifications.

“This demonstrates the skills that they have as young people as well as the extent to which their time at SJR prepared them both personally and academically for the challenges that they might encounter.  Our Class of 2023 have so much to offer, so much to celebrate and so much to look forward to.  

“I would like to thank them for all that they have brought to St John Rigby College and to wish them happiness, good health and every success in the future.”

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