A-level results case studies – Epping St John’s Sixth Form

Education: Secondary / Thu 12th Aug 2021 at 10:18am

A trip to the opticians gave Sabina Miah a clue to her future career.

Having picked up A* grades in A-level biology, chemistry and maths, she is off to City University to study optometry.

The student from Epping St John’s Church of England School Sixth Form, in Epping, has hopes of specialising in the future or going into research or lecturing. 

Sabina, from Harlow, said: “I have always wanted to do something medical based. When my brother had something wrong with his eye, I went to the opticians with him and saw the work they did and it got me interested. I did work experience and found it was something I really liked. 

“I would love to get a PhD and specialise in something like macular degeneration.

“Opening my results was definitely a shock. I am relieved. I have tried not to think about them for the last two months; I have tried to distract myself.  Even yesterday I was still in denial, but it hit me this morning.

“It has been a tough year with lockdown; it has been mentally draining. When you are going into school, you are with your friends and it makes things better. Being at home, it was very stressful, having to work and sleep in the same place. We did not get a break from the work like we would have if we were with our friends.

“Whenever I needed help, my teachers were still there to support me and answer any questions I had. Without them, I could not have done it, that’s for sure. They explained everything and were really helpful. They made everything so much easier than it would have been without them.”


The structure of online lessons helped Finley Jacobs-Roth to keep on schedule to secure top grades in his A-levels.

He achieved A grades in government and politics, history and sociology A-levels at Epping St John’s Church of England School Sixth Form, in Epping.

The grades take him to Nottingham University to study politics with American studies, including a year spent studying in America.

Finley, from Epping, said: “My teacher organised online work experience for me in political communications and I found that really interesting. I looked into what would be needed for that career and Nottingham seemed a great option, with its extensive study of American systems. 

“The last year has been hard, but doable. I knew I needed to produce pieces of work in case the exams did not get sat. It took a lot of concentration and keeping myself on task; it would have been very easy to switch off. 

“Thankfully, from day one, we had some form of online lessons. That helped to keep a schedule to things. Our teachers have been really good and helped in any way they could, including giving us tips on revising.”


A long-held dream is coming true for performer Amy Burges as she earns her place at a prestigious performing arts academy.

The student from Epping St John’s Church of England School Sixth Form, in Epping, is heading to The Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts after making her way through an intense application process.

She had to showcase her talents by filming a dance, two songs and two monologues, taking part in ballet, jazz and commercial lessons and sitting an interview, all remotely during lockdown.

She this week also picked up A grades in drama, English literature and psychology A-levels.

Amy, from Epping, said: “My mum and dad have always taken me to the theatre and I have enjoyed studying dancing and singing at Epping St John’s. I then discovered musical theatre combined all three. I have wanted to go to Italia Conti for about six years, so have worked on each aspect to put me in the best position for drama school. 

“The audition process was very intense. Getting a place at Italia Conti was audition based, but they also asked for two A-level passes. I worked hard and so I wanted to achieve better than two passes.

“I am very happy with my results. They are not at all what I expected; I could not believe it. I am ecstatic. 

“I have not minded working remotely as my motivation has been there and it has given me a routine. The school has been amazing, so working through the pandemic has been okay. It would have been nice to engage in person with our teachers more and to see everyone as you can connect better with people in the same room. But, we have also been able to develop new skills, like working on our vocal skills.

“I cannot believe I’ve got into Italia Conti and achieved three A grades in my A-levels. It has been quite an overwhelming day.”

After completing her first year at Italia Conti – equivalent to the first year of university – she will audition to complete three more years to achieve a degree in acting, singing and dancing.


The prospect of starting university in a virtual world has resulted in James Cronin deferring his place.

Instead of starting to study computer science at Nottingham University this year, he is taking a year out in the hope life returns to normal by next September.

James, from Roydon, picked up A grades in science and maths and an A* in physics A-level this week from Epping St John’s Church of England School Sixth Form.

He said: “It has been tough studying during the pandemic. I have got the results I wanted, so that is a welcome surprise.

“Through online lessons, we could get in touch with our teachers at any time with any questions we had. It helped a lot to know they were there for us.

“But, I do not want to start university with online lessons, so I am deferring my place for a year. University is still holding online lessons and I do not want to pay out the money and not get the full experience. It was quite a big decision to make, but I want to be going to actual lectures rather than attending online lessons.”

James hopes to spend his year gaining work experience in computer science companies and taking some holidays.

He said: “I don’t mind the wait to start university. I would rather wait and get the experience I had hoped for. 

“It will be good to have a bit of a breather and not go from a tough year straight into uni. It was a big relief to make that decision.”

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