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Congratulations to the class of 2021, whose A level, Pre-U and GCSE exam results were released this week, with students logging onto their accounts from around the country and the world!

The earlier publication of grades, which were based on teacher assessments, scrutinised by exam boards, meant the time-hallowed walk through the school library to collect the fateful envelope was replaced by clicking on a phone screen, hoping the holiday Wi-Fi or internet connection would hold out!

For our Y13 leavers (and some Y14 applicants, who returned to Highgate to sit further exams), the long wait delivered news that 88% of pupils were placed at their first-choice university (1% higher than last year), and a further 4% meeting insurance offers. Both Year 13 and Year 14 applicants were able to find excellent destinations through ‘Clearing’ despite the fierce competition this year. 79% of university places were ‘Russell Group institutions’, and this year, Edinburgh emerged as the most popular destination for the Class of 2021. A further 38 universities and colleges across the UK, from Dundee to Exeter, and seven US colleges together with a handful of European institutions featured in this year’s leavers’ wide-ranging choices.

Highgate’s Head, Adam Pettitt, commented: “The anxious waiting is finally over, and what a relief it is for everyone after all the uncertainty and complexity of this year’s assessment processes. We are proud of our students’ achievements and want them and their families to take real pride in them. These grades were hard-won: it took a steady nerve, perseverance and very hard work to face what felt like months of continuous assessment, and all our pupils deserve praise for the grades they received and for the way they worked so patiently and so determinedly to secure them.”

Catherine from Y11, who received her GCSE results on Thursday, reflected: “It’s definitely been an unusual year 11 experience, with half being in person and half online, but all the teachers have been really supportive and flexible and it’s such a great feeling to have completed my GCSEs after all the work we’ve been doing!”

Adam added: “With all the understandable analysis of the extraordinary circumstances of these young people’s experiences and the grades they have received, it would be easy to underplay the maturity and flexibility which our pupils demonstrated in their studies. I’ve never felt more confident about a group of young people being intellectually and emotionally prepared for their next steps, and wish them every happiness and success in their bright futures.”