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A-Level students decide on their future

Thousands of students right across our region are deciding what their future holds after getting their A Level results.

The pass rate has dropped nationally for the first time in more than 30 years, and here in our region eight per cent of students achieved an A star grade, but that is below the national average.

Michael Billington reports from Bradford College.

And from Lincolnshire, Adam Fowler reports:

Dyslexic pupil celebrates three As

A student who did not write a word of his A-level exam answers was celebrating three A grades today.

Aidan Clancy, who is severely dyslexic and has dyspraxia, used a headset and a laptop with voice recognition software when he sat the classics, economics and history papers.

The Ripon Grammar School pupil, from Ripley, North Yorkshire, was in a separate room from his friends who were writing away in the exam hall, while he spoke into the laptop which cannot access the internet.

The 18-year-old said: "The technology allows me to put down on paper what's in my head.

"I tried to take my AS exams last year in the normal way because it had worked OK for my GCSEs.

"But A-levels are a big step up. After the AS exams, which included three in one day totalling five hours and 47 minutes, my hand was aching really badly, I was exhausted and I really under-performed.

"I chose my subjects because I'm interested in them.

"I had the dilemma of choosing short answer subjects instead but they're not what I enjoy.

"The possibility of speaking answers to a scribe was mentioned, but I thought it would be really difficult to be able to go back over what they'd written.

"We thought there must be a solution using technology.

"We found out about the voice recognition software and I re-sat my ASs using it and did so much better.

"I'm nowhere near as tired after an exam and no longer get the headaches.

"The school has been great. I soon as they were made aware this was an option they, along with my occupational therapist Michelle Rundle, fought for it for me to use it."

The software, Dragon Naturally Speaking, recognises the spoken words and translates them into a word document, allowing the speaker to check them and cut and paste and paragraphs if necessary.

Over time, it recognises the nuances in individual speakers and it is even possible to select different accents.

But it can make mistakes.

Aidan explained: "In one history essay I had to say the Temple of Hephaestus and that came out as the Temple of Her Feistiness."

He will go on to Newcastle University to read history.

He said: "I'm really happy with my results. It's so frustrating when you know you're capable but that's not reflected in how you've done. It must be even worse for young people who haven't been diagnosed.

"I hope my experience shows them that there is a solution."

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Supermarket giant helps school leavers fulfil potential

Bradford-based supermarket giants Morrisons has instigated a scheme to help school leavers fulfil their potential

Russell Wilson was working part-time in a Morrisons store just after finishing his A Levels when he saw the scheme advertised.

He finished his three-year sponsored degree last year, and is now working as a line manager in one of the company's food manufacturing plants.

Best ever results for Leeds City College

Leeds City College is celebrating after achieving its best ever A Level results, with a 98% pass rate overall and two thirds of A level programmes achieving 100% pass rates. 70% of A level programmes exceeded national pass rates.

Leeds City College, the country’s third largest FE establishment, has a dedicated A Level Centre and offers a wide range of A level programmes.

Deputy Principal for Teaching & Learning Nichola Newton said: “We are extremely proud of our students’ achievements, all of whom have worked really hard.

“We have invested in our A level programmes and we are determined to build upon this success.”

“These results are testimony to the relentless focus on excellence in teaching and learning and the drive and commitment of the A level teachers and leadership team,” she added.

Mature student Christos Barmpoudis achieved three As Credit: Leeds City College

One of this year’s A-mazing achievers is Christos Barmpoudis who was highly delighted with his three As in Biology, Chemistry and Maths.

“I tried really hard this year, and the tutors believed in me,” he said.

Christos, 25, is planning to re-apply to study medicine now he has the grades and is hoping to do some work experience in a hospital.

A-Level Results Day messages & pictures

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A-levels: Boys outperform girls in A* grades

Boys have outdone girls at A* grade for the third year running, with 8.5% of boys' A-level entries attaining the top mark, compared with 7.9% of the girls.

These girls from Newcastle celebrate their A-level results, but overall boys outperform girls in A*. Credit: PA

The latest results, which show how pupils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have performed, show that an increasing number of students are choosing science, with the number electing to study biology, chemistry and physics rising by 2%, while those taking maths has gone up by 0.9% and further maths by 1.5%.

Slimline Tom gets his grades

A 19-year-old student from Sheffield who lost 10 stone in 10 months after vowing to turn his life around is celebrating securing his dream of going to university.

Thomas Lowson ( right) and friend celebrate their A-Level success

Thomas Lowson suffered bullying and health problems when he reached 24 stone in January last year.

Now, after succeeding with a massive weight loss programme and moving to study A-levels at Sheffield College, Thomas has got the grades he needs to study English at Leeds Trinity University.

Celebrating this morning, he said: "The world's my oyster with results like this.

"Nerves have been setting in. It's been a case of pacing back and forth in my house from 4am this morning - I'm paranoid and pessimistic.

"But now I'm guaranteed to go to uni. I needed a C and a D, and I got a C and a B. I'm obviously exhilarated by that result."

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A-levels: Pass rate falls for first time in 32 years

The overall A-level pass rate has fallen for the first time in 32 years and there has been a small slide in the number of students achieving top grades, officials say.

Around 300,000 sixth-formers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive their A-level results today.

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