Despite national fears that the new linear form of the A level qualification could make exam success much harder to come by, students at Truro and Penwith College are celebrating another set of outstanding results, exceeding national performance on all key measures.

Students secured pass rates of over 99 per cent in comparison with the national pass rate of 97.9 per cent. The percentage of those securing the top A* and A grades at the college rose again to 29 per cent, against the national average of 26.3 per cent.

With over 2,500 individual A level entries, Truro and Penwith College is one of the largest providers of the qualification nationally. No fewer than 39 subjects achieved a 100 per cent pass rate, including physics, history, biology, literature, law, French and Spanish. The college’s leading local and national role in STEM (Science, Technology, Maths, Engineering) education was evidenced once more, both in the quality of student outcomes, and in the volumes of entries.

For example, 241 students gained a maths A level, 155 passed biology, 130 were successful in chemistry, and 90 in physics. These successes followed earlier results in STEM subjects at the college on the International Baccalaureate and in vocational diplomas such as applied science and engineering.

However, many humanities and arts subjects also saw very high levels of entry, with 339 students gaining an English A level, 138 passing geography and 126 history.

Results across the college’s two present sites, in Penzance and Truro, were again very closely matched indeed, confirming last year’s Ofsted judgements about how the exceptional and consistent quality of teaching and achievement characterises both campuses.

There were many outstanding individual success stories.

Thomas Crawley from Helston secured a place to study computer science and mathematics at Cambridge University after receiving an A* in mathematics, further mathematics and physics and getting As at AS level in computing and electronics.

He said: “I joined the Mathematics Academy and found the lecturers and facilities great. I loved being able to study independently while still being able to ask for help if I needed it.”

Twins Caleb and Finlay Taylor collected their A level results from Penwith College but now it is time for the boys to go their own way. Having been in education together for the last 13 years, their lives have now taken different paths. Whilst Finlay plans to continue his education at university where he will be studying plant biology, Caleb will be enjoying some international travel during his gap year before he applies next year to study international relations.

Caleb said: “As part of my experience with the National Citizen Service social action and politics programme I was introduced to discussions about global and political issues. Combining this with my studies in world development, geography and economics I now look at the world from social, economic and political perspectives from poverty to market demand. I am looking forward to studying international relations and aspire to work for the UN.”

Finlay added: “I am really looking forward to my university course. One of my main motivations for choosing this course is how important plants are to our lifestyles and food supplies. With growth comes climate change, and plants are one of the main forms of protection from it. I hope to work in this continuously evolving area when I graduate.”

Commenting on the college principal David Walrond said: “These are exceptional results from a cohort of learners and teachers who lived with much uncertainty, and no shortage of rather sombre commentary nationally about how things were being made tougher, more rigorous and more testing for them. I am delighted that they have proved to be notably tough themselves, and more than passed the test.”

He also attributed much of this A level success to Truro and Penwith College’s designated post-16 remit. “When there are changes to post-16 qualifications and assessment nationally, it is the specialist nature and focus of a post-16 provider like this that allows it to react quickly and well to the new challenges," he said. "Moreover, in a tertiary college there are strong, established communities of post-16 lecturers who bring high levels of subject expertise and experience to the service of this specific age group.

“The benefits of that are very evident in these year’s results and what they will now enable our students to go on to achieve, whether at their first choice university or in employment and apprenticeships. I am delighted for our students and wish them equal success in the next phase."