THERE was excitement and happiness across Caerphilly County Borough as learners and teachers celebrated another year of impressive A-level exam results last week.

At Coleg y Cymoedd, which has campuses across Wales, saw another year of exceptional results.

This year, the college is celebrating a 98 per cent pass rate at A-level, with a five per cent rise in A*/A results. The day also saw many of the college’s 23 A-Level subject areas achieving a 100 per cent pass rate, including English, Law, History, Geography, Photography, Drama, DT, French, Music, Media, Film and Business Studies.

The high grade achievements included three Valleys learners from Caerphilly, who all secured a highly impressive set of A*/A grades across the board including one learner set to head to Oxford University.

Oliana Finlayson, 20, from Caerphilly, will be heading to Birmingham University in September to study teaching after achieving A*AAA grades in Sociology, Psychology, Religious Studies and Welsh Baccealoreate.

After discovering she’d secured exam success, Ms Finlayson said: “It feels so strange, I really didn’t think this would happen. I’d never been a top student in school, but came back to college as an older student because felt that I now had the drive. I could never have done this in sixth form initially.

“I’m excited for university and am hoping to become a teacher, but that won’t be the end of education for me as I’d like to one day do a PHD and get a doctoriate, even if I’m old and wrinkly.”

Meanwhile, Aoife Elwood, 18, from Caerphilly, is set to study Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at Oxford’s Lady Margaret Hall College after achieving AAA grades in Biology, English and History.

Mollie Eatwell, also from Caerphilly, topped off the college’s success by achieving highly impressive grades of A*AA in Psychology, Sociology and Religious Studies. Ms Eatwell will be studying Sociology with Criminology at Exeter University

With more than 240 learners receiving their results, Coleg y Cymoedd is the largest A-level provider in Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Judith Evans, principal of Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “The fantastic results that we have seen are testament to the hard work and commitment of staff and students alike over the past two-years.

“Our mission is to provide high quality education to the South Wales region and so it is a pleasure to see our learners’ continuing success at the Sixth Form Centre.

“It is a proud day for the college as well and the families of these young people, and we wish them the very best for the future as they move on to university, further education or training, or take their first steps on the career ladder.”

Coleg y Cymoedd serves more than 12,000 learners from the boroughs of Caerphilly, Rhondda Cynon Taf and surrounding areas. In addition to A-levels, the college provides a wide selection of vocational courses across its four campuses - Aberdare, Nantgarw, Rhondda, and Ystrad Mynach.

Established in 2012, the college’s Sixth Form Centre offers learners the choice of 23 AS and A-level subject options, as well as 7 BTEC Level Three options to choose from.

As well as learners from Coleg y Cymoedd, the overall provisional pass rate for students in Caerphilly county borough schools for WJEC A-levels was 97.3 per cent (A*-E), up slightly compared to the provisional result from 2016. The provisional result for WJEC A-level grades A*-A was 15 per cent and 67 per cent of grades were at C or above.

And with many young people from Caerphilly county borough attending Coleg Gwent at the Crosskeys Campus, the students and staff there celebrated an overall pass rate of 99 per cent.

Across Coleg Gwent, 413 students, who sat 1,046 A-level examinations between them, achieved an impressive cross-campus pass rate of 99 per cent,

Crosskeys Campus students had excellent results with an overall pass rate of 99 per cent. The pass rate for grades A*-C was 77 per cent and 30 subjects at the campus had a 100 per cent pass rate.

One student who gained his ideal grades was Thomas Summers, of Cwmfelinfach. He secured A* in Welsh, three A grades in English Language and Literature, French and Spanish, and a B in Maths.

The 20-year-old is now off to Lancaster University and said: “I’m shocked and elated. I’d eventually love to use my language skills to be an interpreter.”

Another high achiever was 18-year-old Katie Higgs from Blackwood, who got As in English Literature, Geography and Law.

Miss Higgs will be heading to London in September where she’ll be studying Law at Kings College London, after which she wants to become a lawyer – something she never expected she’d be doing before she started college.

She said: “After school I chose to do A-levels as I wasn’t sure what career I wanted to go into so I wanted to get qualifications that would allow me broader options afterwards. So I was thrilled when I found law so interesting and engaging. My lecturers have been incredible – always there when you need them and always happy to help.”

And fellow Blackwood student Nicole Allen, celebrated achieving A* grades in Spanish and Welsh, as well as As in French and Maths.

The 18-year-old will be going on to study Spanish and Welsh at Swansea University.

Speaking on the achievements of students in the county borough, cabinet member for Education and Achievement, Cllr Philippa Marsden said: “Congratulations must go to all our students who have worked so hard to achieve these results, together with the commitment and professional support of their teachers for the work they put in to help the students achieve to their full potential. I’m so pleased that so many of our young people have secured the grades they need for them to take their next step in their careers. I am very proud of our young people and wish them every success in their future endeavours, whether it’s entering university, apprenticeships or employment."