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Welsh college sees best exam results ever

17 Aug 2023 5 minute read
Jacob Jones has secured a place at Oxford.

A Welsh college is celebrating its best exam results ever which include a record breaking number of students securing Oxbridge places.

Coleg y Cymoedd has seen an impressive three Oxbridge successes and its highest ever number of offers from Russell Group universities.

Hundreds of learners have flocked to its Nantgarw, Ystrad Mynach, Rhondda and Aberdare campuses today to collect their results and celebrate their achievements with classmates and tutors.

The college, which is the largest A level provider in Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf, has reported high grades across both academic and vocational courses.

86.2% of learners achieved A*-C grades with exam grades returning to pre-pandemic arrangements – this is up from 63.5% in 2019.

The college’s A*-A grades have also gone up from 11.9% in 2019 to 36% today.

The Nantgarw-based A-level Centre has announced an overall pass rate of 99.7% per cent for 2023 with 21 out of 22 subjects having achieved a 100% pass rate, including Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology, as well as English, History, Geography, Law, French and Psychology.

Following its success over recent years, applications for learners to study A levels in the new academic year are also at the highest they have ever been since the campus first opened ten years ago.

As well as its strong A level performance, the college has also seen exceptional results from its vocational learners, with more than 1,200 learners completing Level 3 qualifications.

Success stories from results day include triple A* learner, Carys Lewis, 18, from Pontypridd, who is headed for the University of Oxford’s Exeter College this autumn to study Chemistry after landing top grades in Chemistry, Maths, and Physics.

After seeing others battling cancer, Carys was inspired to pursue a career in drug development so that she can play a role in finding cures and treatments for diseases.


Also securing a place at Oxford is Jacob Jones, 18, a budding physicist from Pontypridd who is off to study Physics at Jesus College after receiving 4 A*s in Physics, Maths, Further Maths and Chemistry.

Determined to increase his chances of getting a place at a world-leading university, Jacob spent last summer attending two residential summer schools at University College London (UCL) and Oxford.

He said: “Although I got good grades in my GCSEs, I didn’t think I would be good enough to go to Oxford. It was only when I got my AS grades, and my tutors reassured me I was more than capable, that I realised it could actually be an option.

“I’m now so excited to start university. I picked Jesus College because it’s known as the ‘Welsh college.’ Moving to Oxford will be a big change but hopefully being there will provide a sense of home.”

Another A* learner is 22-year-old Luc Jones, from Quakers Yard, who achieved an impressive triple A*s in Maths, Further Maths, and Physics, bagging a place to study Computer Science at the University of Cambridge, one of the most competitive undergraduate degrees offered by the institution.

Originally studying a BTEC in Sport, Luc later realised his passions lay elsewhere, prompting him to re-sit his GCSEs and spend an extra two years in college to be able to switch to A levels and get into a top UK university to study Computer Science.


Luc said: “I am so glad that I switched qualifications four years ago. While I had a great first year in college and loved my Sport BTEC, I realised it wasn’t the right path for me.

“I was a bit hesitant about changing courses, but my tutors were really accommodating and made my transition to A levels as an older learner seamless – it was the best decision I made. Being accepted into one of the top universities in the world is an amazing feeling!”

Over the last two years, Coleg y Cymoedd has invested significantly in its wellbeing support for learners, offering free counselling as well as dedicated one-to-one advice for anyone struggling with personal issues, from housing and finances to family problems and caring commitments.

Young carers studying at the college are also offered additional support, including free meals, remote and flexible learning, help with transport and group activity days at locations like Zip World and BBC Studio tours.

Ethan Tucker, a 21-year-old carer from Aberdare has spent the last four years working towards his dream career in game production while caring for his grandparents.

Initially thinking university would not be an option for him due to his grandparents’ reliance on him, Ethan’s tutors arranged for Rhondda Cynon Taf Young Adult Carers to support him with his caring responsibilities, to help make it possible.

He is now excited to begin a Game Art degree at the University of South Wales this September.

Ethan said: “My tutors have not only made the practicalities of going to university possible, but they also inspired me to apply for a degree in the first place.

“They ignited a lot of confidence in me and helped me recognise that I’m capable of going to university. I hope I make them proud.”

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10 months ago

Still measuring success in terms of Oxbridge places gained ? This mindset is wrong as it accepts the drain of Wales’ finest talents. If our universities are not up to required standard then please write a critique of how they go about the business of educating our yound and more mature talents. That should make fascinating reading.

As for the talent coming out of Coleg Y Cymoedd this year good luck to you all and do return to Wales when your studies are completed or at a point in your subsequent careers where you can have an impact.

Rheinallt morgan
Rheinallt morgan
10 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Would it be any different if they had gone to Yale or Harvard?

10 months ago

Probably not but at least it would be a move away from the “Oxbridge fixation”. Not long ago an ex-M.P from Gwent was extolling the virtue of shipping talent off to Oxbridge yet the same M.P was never recorded as seeking to improve the relative performance of universities in Wales. Typical of a certain type of person who will always defer to the “best” as defined by established AngloBrit elite. You might as well send all our young people to Eton if you are so wedded to such a supremacist view.

Rheinallt morgan
Rheinallt morgan
10 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

I think it is great that so many talented people have the opportunity to study at some of the best universities in the world. To learn from the best to become the best. Look at how many people in the Senedd went to world class Universities. All to the good.

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