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Last Updated: Friday, 17 August 2007, 12:20 GMT 13:20 UK
Strings of As for A-level stars
Antonia, Felicity and Heather Wimbush
The triplets said a healthy competition sparked success
Some students have accumulated remarkable strings of A-level qualifications - typically adding to earlier outstanding GCSE successes.

At James Allen's Girls' School in Dulwich, south west London, Charlotte Thomas achieved seven A grades and three advanced extension award distinctions in her A-levels in French, German and religious studies, Latin, classical Greek, mathematics and critical thinking.

She already had 11 A* GCSEs. A talented debater, singer and pianist, she helps at a state primary school in Southwark and with a Saturday literacy scheme.

Charlotte has a place to study law at Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

A self-confessed "boffin" who got seven As in his A-levels has said he was expecting it.

Eighteen-year-old Alfred Artley from north Oxford got the top grade in Latin, Greek, maths, further maths, history, French and general studies.

At Alfred's school, Magdalen College School in Oxford, nine other pupils achieved five A grades.

The headmaster, Andrew Halls, said the top candidates had to take extra advanced papers to create more challenges for themselves.

Changes next year

Asked if he thought today's A-levels were getting easier, Alfred said: "I suspect so. I've looked at past papers and they are harder.

He added: "I admit to being a boffin - I guess I have to. I spent more time working and less time getting wasted than the rest."

Twin sisters Tania and Mahua Bhaduri from West Malling, Kent, both got five grade As. But unlike her sister, Tania has not got a university place.

I've looked at past papers and they are harder
Alfred Artley

Their father, Dr Bim Bhaduri, said his daughter Tania - who got the As in biology, chemistry, French, maths and psychology - had been rejected from universities including Oxford, Bristol and Sheffield.

But Mahua, who studied almost the same A-levels as her sister at state foundation school Tonbridge Grammar for Girls - but took geography instead of psychology, has earned a place at Imperial College, London.

Dr Bhaduri added: "The system really is a lottery, they can't differentiate between bright and brighter and this is a problem.

"The two girls both did very well but only one of them got a place to go to university."

Triplets Antonia, Felicity and Heather Wimbush of Wakefield each got three As.

The trio, who share a room at home, said "healthy competition" helped them to achieve their success.

They will now be separating for the first time as they head off from independent Wakefield Girls High School to different universities.

At independent Abingdon School, Anthony Chan, 18, was also celebrating seven As.

Alfred Artley
Alfred said he thought past papers were harder

He got his in physics, chemistry, economics, maths, further maths, Chinese and accounting.

Anthony, originally from Hong Kong and now living in Abingdon, added: "My biggest worry was probably Chinese because I have been here five years now and I have forgotten how to write some of the characters."

He is due to go to Cambridge to study economics.

From next year revised A-levels will see an A* grade awarded to pupils achieving 90% and above in the exams.

There will be more open-ended essay questions as well as an extended project to stretch brighter pupils further.

  • Princess Beatrice achieved an A and two Bs in her A-levels. The elder daughter of the Duke of York and his former wife Sarah, Duchess of York, was said to be delighted with her grades.

    The princess, who has dyslexia, scored an A in drama and Bs in history and film studies.

    She attended St George's School in Ascot, Berkshire, where she was head girl.

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