Students at Accrington Academy are celebrating another successful year of A-Level results with five students set to study law at top universities – including the Academy’s very first Oxbridge place.

Across the Sixth Form 51 per cent of qualifications were A* or A and 67 per cent achieved A*-B.

Andy O’Brien, principal of Accrington Academy, said both figures up on last year’s results and for purely A2 Level qualifications, 51 per cent were graded at A*-B and 18 per cent achieved the top grades of A* and A.

He said: “Once again, our Sixth Form students have achieved an excellent set of results, with an increase in the higher grades across all subject areas and more students than ever exceeding expectations.

“We are delighted that this year we will see so many students moving onto the best universities across the country. It is also a milestone year for the academy, as we see our first ever student heading to Oxford University, with many more going on to study a wide range of subjects at prestigious Russell Group institutions.”

Among the outstanding performers were Natalie Whitham, whose 4 A* passes have earned her a place studying law at Oxford University, Courteney Taylor and Courtney Sargeson, who have both secured places at Manchester University, Brandon Ashton who is going on to Edge Hill University and Andy Hilton Benjamin who will be studying at the University of Salford.

Nicola Palmer, head of school at Accrington Academy, said: “This success is a tribute to our students, who are now seeing the impact of all their hard work and dedication, and to our staff, who work tirelessly to support and encourage our students to meet their potential.

Accrington Academy students on Thursday morning

“I know that these results will help to spur on the rest of the academy as we aim to match this success next summer.”

Natalie Whitham has become the first ever Accrington Academy student to secure a place at Oxford University.

The 18-year-old, from Accrington, achieved four A*s in law, maths, ethics and psychology and will now go on to study law.

She said: “I’m very proud to be the first person to go to Oxford. I’m speechless really. My parents are very proud too.

“These grades are not what I was expecting at all. I was hoping for maybe one of them to be an A* but not all of them.

“I wasn’t so sure how the exams went but it looks like I handled them well. I put in a lot of hard work and didn’t really stop around exam season.

“I have been trying to block today out of my brain but you always know that it was looming. It’s been quite a stressful few weeks.

“Hopefully after university I can become a barrister but we will see how it goes.”

Natalie Whitham (left) and Rebecca Edwards (right)

Rebecca Edwards, 18, from Accrington, achieved As in law and English and Bs in maths and religious studies and will now go on to study law at Manchester University.

She said: “They were a lot better than I expected. I thought I would get just Bs and Cs and not As. It’s pretty shocking.

“The English and law exams were all right and I think that’s why I got As but maths and RS were pretty challenging.

“I have been trying to keep my mind off today and I’ve been away on holiday. I didn’t really start to think about it properly until the last few weeks and it’s been terrifying.

“After university I want to have a career but I’m not 100 per cent sure what in, hopefully something to do with law.”

Courteney Taylor, 18, from Accrington, is now aiming to go to Manchester University to study law after achieving As in law and psychology and a B in sociology.

She said: “They are good results but I was only seven marks off an A in sociology, which is annoying.

“I have been up since 4am this morning. I am going to be tired later when I go out. I will probably be asleep by 10pm.

“I have been here since year seven and it’s been great. It’s been really helpful coming to the Sixth Form as well because you know all the teachers.”

Courteney Taylor

Brandon Ashton, 18, from Accrington, achieved Bs in English language and literature and law and a B in history.

He said: “I’m really happy with my history result because in one of my exams I got an A. It was a better grade than I expected.

“Overall it could’ve been a bit better but it’s still two Bs and a C.

“I can go to Edge Hill but I want to check and see if I can get into Lancaster University and hopefully study law or law and criminology.

“It only really hit me on Monday how close exam results day was and I was like ‘oh no!’”

Brandon Ashton

Jack Atheis, 18, from Accrington, got three distinction stars and BTEC Sport Level 3 and will now study sports and exercise science at Newcastle University.

He said: “That was my first choice university and I’m happy with my grades as they were what I needed to get in.

“It was a stressful course with the amount of work you have to do in such a short space of time.

“I have been working at a bar for the few weeks so it has taken my mind off today a bit and I haven’t been focusing on it too much.”

Jack Atheis

Jamie Chadwick, 18, from Accrington, said he was very proud after achieving Cs in law and psychology and a D in religious studies.

He said: “I was expected to get Ds and Es so I’m over the moon. I have had a hard year but have come out on top.

“I’m looking to go to university to study law but I don’t know which one. I’m going to research them when I get home and see which one is best for me.

“It’s been unreal here, the best experience in my life. I’ve loved it.”

Jamie Chadwick

Imogen Smith, 18, from Accrington, will study law and criminology at Leicester University after getting a B in law and Cs in religious studies and psychology.

She said: “They were better than I expected. I’m happy overall. I can’t wait to go to university and I was to go into law after that.

“It’s only the last few days that I’ve been nervous.”