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Pupils gathered at the Senior School this morning to receive their A Level and Pre-U exam results for the Class of 2023. The anxiety that comes with this annual rite of passage was heightened this year by their experience of taking public exams for the first time and the national return to pre-pandemic grading standards.

We are delighted to report that the 2023 cohort have exceeded the 2019 statistics, which was a record year for Highgate, with 48% of all grades at A* (and Pre-U equivalent) and 84% at A* or A.

Highgate’s Head, Adam Pettitt, commented: “Congratulations to Year 13s for whom these toughened A levels were their first set of public exams, and all the more intimidating for that. Thank goodness the wait is over! And they have done brilliantly: it’s been a huge pleasure to see so many of them into first and insurance choice universities thanks to their hard work and shrewd decisions.

“Cohort results mean little to the individual but it’s been difficult not to take pride in seeing the Class of 2023 give the Class of 2019 a run for their money; this is a generation we are very excited for and, of course, massively proud of!”

For those that applied to university, 91% were offered their first or insurance choice and 12 of these will be heading to the US or Canada to continue their studies. “Those who haven’t made their first-choice destination have been pragmatic and mature in pursing alternative options,” explains Catherine Carter, Director of Higher Education. “It is heartwarming to see them supporting each other both in their successes and their disappointments.”

The range of university destinations and courses demonstrates a pleasing breadth of interests and skills across our pupil body, from Chinese and Linguistics, to Music, Medicine, Geography, Classics, Law and Politics, as a small example.

Tanya (above, centre), our outgoing Head of School, said: “I’ve always loved languages. The grammar is very satisfying, but also the culture, history, literature and politics which makes them very full subjects. I’m excited about studying French and Spanish at Oxford as it’s very literature heavy: I love reading!”

Holly, who is heading to Cambridge to study Natural Sciences, explains “It became clear to me in my GCSEs that sciences were the subjects I loved. When I got to study them at A level, the enthusiasm of my teachers really helped to encourage me to take the study of science further.”

Liv (left), editor of the Windhover pupil magazine, commented: “I have loved reading and words for so long and I am thrilled to be able to continue that at university next year, studying English at Oxford. I count myself very lucky to have been in an inordinately supportive environment amongst brilliant teachers and friends and I am very proud of our year group!”

Yuvraj (pictured below), who is heading to University College London to study Civil Engineering reflects on the process of applying to university, saying: “The school has been amazing – they’ve really tailored the path for their students to follow and made it really clear on how to apply to UCAS. Any help I’ve ever needed, they’ve been there for me.”

Marissa (pictured below), who is going to study Medicine at Liverpool, agrees: “There was loads of preparations for the entrance exams. Each pupil had a teacher assigned to them, connected to the field that they were going into. I didn’t find it as daunting as I was expecting because the school facilitated it really well.”

Pupils met at school this morning to open their results. Yuvraj (far left) and Marissa (far right)

Verity Smith, Head of Sixth Form (Pastoral), adds: “I’m so excited to see them taking flight in pursuit of such a broad range of talents; it has been a privilege to watch these spell-binding musicians, Maths geniuses, future authors, film directors, engineers, policy-changers and deep-thinkers become the unique individuals who collected their results today.”

Adam Pettitt concludes: “I’d like to thank the whole range of staff at Highgate who, between them, taught these young people, often over a decade or more, for all they did to cultivate ambition, curiosity and resilience. By setting the highest standards while always thinking about the person in their fully human context, they have prepared our leavers to negotiate set-backs and to aim for success: a grand job well done.”