(Gibraltar Chronicle / Priya Gulraj) ‘A’ Level examination results were published yesterday with an overall A* - E pass rate of 98% at Westside School and 96% at Bayside School and 93% at the College this year. Bayside students Philip Dumas and Michael Catania were the only students who earned the Gibraltar Scholar title this year, for achieving three A* grades. The bar for that award has just risen from A to A*. Philip earned three A* and one A will go to study Law at Nottingham University. Michael was speechless after having collected his results. He is off to study Law at Durham University in September.>
He said: "Achieving an A* is now a sign of excellence and the benchmark has been pushed slightly higher than before. Of course, we need to make sure students and staff both work towards that excellence."
The 96% average pass rate was slightly lower than last year's 99%; however there was a 35% increase in the total number of entries this year.
Proud parent Caroline Buttigieg shared her son Christopher's achievement, and said she was very proud of her son who worked very hard and everything he earned was down to his own merit.
Christopher who gained two A*, two A, and one B grade, will be the only Bayside student who was accepted into the prestigious Oxford University to study Law.
Whilst the boys slapped each other on their backs to celebrate their achievement, the scene was entirely different with the girls at Westside School.
Queuing up outside the gym and looking anxiously at their watches to strike 9.30 to receive their results, the girls waited for their results.
With a staggering 98% pass rate for grades A* - E, it was no surprise to see the girls laughing and crying at the same time as they shared the news of their A Level results with their friends.
With an increase in the number of students sitting exams (325 entries this year compared to 231 last year), seven girls achieved the prestigious A* grade, with Spanish, English Literature and Psychology as the more popular subjects this year.
However, the average A* - B grades went down from 58% last year to 47% this year, but Head Teacher George Garcia believes it was because of an increase in the number of students sitting their A Level examinations who wouldn't have done so otherwise.
Dr Garcia said: "This year's results constitute a further improvement on what we have achieved in previous years and I am very happy with the outcome."
Megan McElwee achieved three As for Economics, Maths and English Literature. She stood speechless as her friends shouted out that she was "amazed" and "ecstatic" with her results.
Megan plans to apply to Irish universities through the clearing process so she's still not sure where she's going.
Following the trend of taking a gap year and choosing to work or to study during this year before university was Gemma Leppard. She was one of the seven girls who achieved an A* grade, and the only student who got it for English Literature.
She said: "I am really thrilled with my results as I am sure my friends are as well. But I've decided to go to university next year to study drama because I want to get a job this year instead."
Last but not least, the Gibraltar College students gained a 93% average pass rate. Principal Victor Hermida was delighted at his students' excellent result.
He said: "Obviously, I would like to say that most of the students will be going off to university. I am happy to see that these results are a reflection of the students' hard work and the dedication and professionalism of the staff here."
This year, the Gibraltar College celebrated another achievement with the Young Enterprise Award, where College enterprisers GibSights achieved third place in the UK Young Enterprise Company Competition.
Minister for Education and Training Clive Beltran expressed great satisfaction at this year's excellent A Level results.
Gibraltar's overall pass rate was 97% for the three institutions, which compares favourably with the UK average set at 97.6%.
Mr Beltran praised the students and said: "This is the culmination of a successful process of education at all levels and across school sectors. The consistently high standards achieved locally are a true reflection of the competence and professionalism of our teaching staff working in a well-resourced environment, the hard work of our students and the support of parents."
He said: "I am absolutely shocked, I did not expect this at all."
Bayside School Head Teacher Leslie Grech said he was very happy for his students who gained three A* grades.