North Yorkshire celebrates as A-level performance shows a rise

This story was published 15 August 2019

North Yorkshire students receiving their A-level results today have a lot to celebrate, according to early indications, placing the county in the top tier nationally for attainment.

Looked-after students at North Yorkshire’s Virtual School celebrate at their recent graduation ceremony

Although the full picture in the county is not yet known, it appears schools and students have risen to the challenge following the major reforms to the structure of A-level courses last year and that overall performance has risen again. There have been notable improvements for a number of schools. 

North Yorkshire is in the top 20 per cent of all local authorities for students achieving at least two As and a B grade based on performance in previous years and it is likely the county will maintain this outstanding record.

North Yorkshire also has a high proportion of pupils who attend good or outstanding secondary schools; over 83% of pupils in North Yorkshire attend a good or outstanding secondary school compared to 78.7% nationally. 

“We must congratulate all our young people for this great achievement and for their commitment and their hard work,” said County Councillor Patrick Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Schools. “These achievements place them in a good position to take up the higher education and training places that they choose. They can be confident they have a wide range of options and have been well prepared for the next step in their lives. 

“These results are also a tribute to the support of families, the dedication of school staff and the quality of teaching in North Yorkshire.”

North Yorkshire’s looked-after young people in The Virtual School are also celebrating results, with six young people intending to join the 22 leaving care students already attending university. They will take up a range of courses, including Biology at Hull University and Social Care at Teesside University. Some looked-after students are also embarking on a range of apprenticeships and scholarships, including engineering and football.

The Virtual School team is on hand to give advice to young people and their parents and carers and to support them if necessary through the clearing process. 

The Virtual School and the Leaving Care Team hold dedicated events across the year including bespoke visits to universities and taster courses to ensure that the young people and their carers can aspire to achieve the best educational outcomes.

One leaving care postgraduate has recently qualified as a social worker and taken up employment within the county council’s social care team and others are graduating in a range of courses, such as Graphic Design, Zoology and Nursing.  

Cllr Mulligan said: “Support from the Virtual School and Leaving Care Team continues until the young people are 25 and we take our corporate parenting role very seriously, building relationships which will last a lifetime.”

One of North Yorkshire’s key ambitions is to enable all students to access high-quality post-16 education so they can move forward into their chosen next steps, whether that is a higher level of qualification or employment or training.

“We want to ensure there there is a clear pathway for young people from education to training and employment,” said Cllr Mulligan. “Increasing skill levels is essential if the workforce is to meet the needs of the county and contribute to its economic growth. Our schools and colleges are doing a great job in helping young people reach their potential and gain access to the widest range of education and training opportunities in their future lives.”  

Schools in the county also have strong systems of support in place to assist students who may have missed out on their first choices to gain alternative places through the university clearing system, or to help them to look for alternative routes into employment, training or apprenticeships. 

Cllr Mulligan said: “Large numbers of university places remain available and students can still get places even if they didn’t reach their grades. In addition, students who have performed better than expected are helped to apply for more prestigious courses and institutions. Our schools and colleges are doing everything possible to help students make good choices in what is essentially a buyers’ market.”