College celebrates exceptional year of A level and vocational success


Staff and learners at The College Merthyr Tydfil are celebrating after achieving another year of outstanding A level and vocational results.

The college has surpassed its already high standards with an overall A level pass rate of 100%. This is 1% higher than last year’s pass rate of 99%. The number of learners achieving grades A*-A has also increased by 2% showcasing the rising quality of teaching and learning at the college.  69.5% earned A*-C grades, a rise of 1.5% in comparison to the 2016 A*-C pass rate.

In addition the college has also attained a 91% AS pass rate for the second year running, with an increase of 4% in the number of A*-A grades and an overall 54% A*-C pass rate (1% higher than our 2016 pass rate).

Vocational students have also performed exceptionally well in their academic studies, with a record number of phenomenal results across the board.  Of the 592 Level 3 vocational learners who successfully completed their studies, 94% successfully passed (an increase of 3% on our 2016 pass rate), with 53% achieving a pass grade, 17% achieving a merit and 24% achieving a distinction. Of this 24%, 10% achieved a triple distinction star – the highest grades possible. In addition, the college achieved a phenomenal 100% pass rate across many vocational areas, including Business, Media, Performing Arts, Sport and Travel and Tourism.  

Principal John O’Shea, commented “For the last three years, our A level and vocational students have achieved outstanding academic results, and this year is no exception.  These results reflect the high quality and inspirational teaching and learning and outstanding pastoral support that we provide at the college, but also the hard work efforts of our staff and the students themselves. They are the icing on the cake in what has been another exceptional year of achievements for the college. I would like to congratulate each and every one of our students. Their results showcase the value added that the college is providing across Merthyr Tydfil and the surrounding area. I am so proud of them and wish them all the very best for their future.”

There were jubilant scenes at the college as students collected and opened their envelopes.

A level science student Elliot Phillips is celebrating after achieving 2 A*s in Chemistry and Biology, an A in Mathematics and a B in his Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma. Elliot, who has been accepted to study Medicine at Warwick University, commented “I am really pleased with my results and can’t wait to start my degree course. I have enjoyed every minute of my time at college. The support that I have been given has been outstanding. I even had a mock interview with the Principal, who was very helpful in preparing me for my University interview. The opportunity to take on the role of Chair of the college’s Learner Assembly also enabled me to gain extra skills and experience which helped with my university application.”

Mathematics student Ben Evans also performed exceptionally well achieving an A* in Mathematics, A in Further Maths and a B in Physics. Ben, a former Cyfarthfa High School pupil, is hoping to progress on to study Mathematics at Exeter University.

Georgia Leigh-Hewitt, former Bishop Hedley Catholic High School student, achieved A*s in Chemistry, and Biology, an A in Physics and an A in Maths. Georgia has successfully gained a place to study Medicine at Imperial College, London.

In addition to her excellent academic achievements, Georgia has also successfully taken part in a number of additional STEM opportunities and initiatives, including gaining a place on Oxford University's UNIQ summer school for medicine for 2016 and successfully beating off competition from over 3,800 other students to get on to the Sutton Trust US summer-school programme at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

100% of Further Mathematics students achieved an A*-A grade. Amongst those student Olivia Jones achieved an A* in Further Mathematics and an A* in Mathematics.



Georgina Powell, a former pupil at Cyfarthfa High School, achieved excellent grades in her Law and English A levels, enabling her to successfully progress on to the prestigious Ballet Lambert in London.

Rugile Raulusaitye, who previously studied at Brecon High School, achieved an A* in Psychology, A in Law, B in English Literature and a B in her Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma. Rugile is now planning to take a gap year before progressing on to university.  

Sociology students also performed exceptionally well with 27% of the cohort achieving A*s. Erin Watts achieved an A* in Sociology, A in Religious Studies and a B in English Literature.  Erin, who previously studied at Brecon High School, is now progressing on to study Mental Health Nursing at Manchester University.

Creative Industries student Niamh Roberts achieved an A in Photography and a B in Media Studies. Niamh, who previously studied at Afon Taf High School, is now progressing on to study Fashion Marketing at Southampton University.

Beth Jones achieved an A in Photography and a B in Art and Design.

The college’s Business students also achieved excellent results with 82% of students achieving a grade A*C respectively. Emily Hamer, former Afon Taf High School pupil, achieved a B in Business and a C in Psychology. Emily is now progressing on to study Psychology at the University of South Wales.


Amongst some of the college’s high achievers, Humanities student Mazen Khalid achieved an A* in Geography, A* in Welsh Baccalaureate and an A in History.

Head of Humanities, Susan Taylor, commented “Mazen has been an excellent student, he is brilliant academically and has a wonderful attitude and work ethic.”

Ryan Crowley, a student ambassador at the college, achieved an A in Geography. He is now progressing on to study History at the University of South Wales.

Taking into consideration the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate 95% of our learners have left with the equivalent of 4 plus A levels. Head of Welsh Baccalaureate, Dawn Price, commented “I’m very pleased with this outstanding achievement especially as this is the first cohort to go through the new graded Welsh Baccalaureate specifications. It is a credit to the learners and tutors who have worked hard to achieve these excellent outcomes and provide learners with a competitive advantage to progress on to university and employment.”

AS students also excelled with many achieving A grades across the board.

To cap off two years’ hard work, that that has included amongst other things, leading the college’s Engineering F1 team alongside coaching and mentoring the year 11 Cyfarthfa High School F1 team and representing the college as a Student Ambassador, Brandon Jones  has another success to celebrate; his fantastic results. Brandon, who achieved a double distinction star in his BTEC Level 3 Engineering Diploma, said “I am really so happy with my results. I have got what I need to pursue my ambition and go on to study Product Design at Cardiff Metropolitan University before progressing on to a career in teaching.”

Tutor Nigel Soper, commented “Brandon is an inspiration to his fellow students. On top of his studies, he has continuously volunteered to participate in extra-curricular activities and opportunities. He impressed the staff so much at Cyfarthfa that they gave him the opportunity to go up on a weekly basis to coach and mentor year 11 engineering and design and technology learners.  I wish him the very best of luck with his future studies.”

Other BTEC level 3 Engineering learners were also celebrating after achieving excellent results. Student Ryan Peeke achieved a double distinction, providing him with the grades he needs to progress on to a Mechanical Engineering degree at Swansea University. It was also a double celebration for Ryan’s family, whose sister Emily achieved a B in Business and a C in Drama and Theatre Studies. Emily will now progress on to study Drama and Acting at the University of West of England. The success of this brother and sister, who both previously studied at Afon Taf High School, showcases both the A level and vocational progression pathways that the college offers on to university. 


Budding actors Ashlyn Wickens and Ffion Barnett are also celebrating after achieving triple distinction stars in their BTEC Level 3 Performing Arts diploma. Both learners are now progressing on to study a BA in Performing Arts at the University of South Wales.


Ashlyn, a former Penydre High School student, commented “I’m so happy with my results. I’ve enjoyed every aspect of my course, particularly all of the opportunities we’ve had to engage with local community drama organisations and groups to put on different productions and performances.”


Geinor Styles, Artistic Director of Theatre Na’nog was so impressed with Ashlyn and Ffion’s commitment, work ethic, creativity, collaborative skills after working on a performance project with them that she has made them ambassadors for the company. This is an incredible achievement for both learners.

BTEC Level 3 Sports also excelled across the board with a 100% pass rate and 32% of students achieving D*D*D*. Amongst those celebrating Claudia Meyrick achieved a D*D*D, securing the grades she needs to progress on to study a degree in Sports Performance and Coaching at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Claudia has had a fantastic two years at the college, including being successfully selected to spend over 8 weeks coaching at soccer camps for ages 4-14 year olds in Kansas through Challenger Sports USA. 

Outdoor Sports student Gwilym Comerford achieved a double distinction despite only being predicted to pass. Gwilym, who previously studied at Radyr Comprehensive school, has spent the last two years travelling from Cardiff to attend the course. His commitment and enthusiasm for the course has paid off and he has successfully progressed on to an apprenticeship programme with PGL Leisure, the UK's number one children's activity, summercamp and adventure holidays company.

Morgan Rogers, an Outdoor Sports student, achieved a double distinction star. The former Cyfarthfa High School student is now progressing on to study a degree in Outdoor Adventure Leadership at the University of Central Lancashire.

Former Penydre High School pupil, Joshua Flaherty, successfully achieved a D*D* on his BTEC Level 3 Public Services course. Joshua will now progress on to study on a BSC Hons Police Science Degree at the University of South Wales.


BTEC Level 3 IT student Luc Allen, a former pupil of Penydre High School, successfully achieved a D*D*D, providing him with the UCAS points he requires to progress on to study Computer Science at the University of South Wales.  

Luc commented “I am really thankful to the college for all the help and support they have given me the past two years and the opportunities that they have granted me and I would really recommend the course to anyone interested in Computing or Information Technology.”


Level 3 Hairdressing staff and learners are also celebrating after excellent pass rates.

Hairdressing student Shauna Evans was very happy with her results. Shauna has had a great year at the college and has participated enthusiastically in all of the hair and beauty enrichment activities, including being awarded 1st place in the college’s annual Avant Garde.

Student Ambassador and Learner Assembly representative Hayley Richardson successfully passed her Level 3 Beauty course and has now secured employment in a local beauty shop.

Students studying on the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma Health and Social Care also achieved a number of distinctions across the board, rounding off an exceptional year of successes.

BTEC Level 3 Health and Social Care student Arizona Jones, former Afon Taf High School pupil,  achieved D*D*D*, providing her with the grades she requires to progress on to study Mental Health Nursing at Swansea University. Rhian Collom also performed well achieving a D*D*D. Rhian, who previously studied at Aberdare Community School, will now progress on to study Nursing at the University of South Wales.


Five students on the BTEC Business Studies L3 Extended Diploma, successfully achieved Triple Distinction Stars, enabling them to progress on to study at university.


Sophie Small, who is progressing on to study a Foundation Degree in Business at the college, commented: “I have loved every aspect of the course. I’ve also had the opportunity to take part in excellent work experience opportunities, the ILM programme and the college’s Learner Assembly.  I’m so happy that I’ve got the grades I need to progress on to the foundation degree and I’m looking forward to continuing my studies at the college.”


Irfan Atlas also achieved a triple distinction star in Business. Irfan will now progress on to study Business Management at Cardiff University. Irfan, a former pupil at Brecon High School, has had a great year at college, including successfully completing the ILM programme and being named as the Acorn Training Learner of the Year.

Head of Business, Simon Evans, commented, “This is an exciting time for Business at The College Merthyr Tydfil. These results are the icing on the cake for the department which has gone from strength to strength over the last year. We hope that these fantastic results, together with our outstanding student support and enhanced course portfolio will help us attract even more students for 2017 entry.”

Lisa Thomas, Head of Advanced Level Programmes said: “This has been another hugely successful and encouraging year for both A Level and vocational qualifications at The College Merthyr Tydfil.  We have achieved our highest percentage of grade A*-C passes and some outstanding vocational results, demonstrating the high quality teaching and student support on offer at the college and providing a solid foundation to take forward our A level Academy and Vocational Centre of Excellence from 2017 onwards.”


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