Outstanding Epping students have shared the stories that inspired them to get top grades.

A-level students across the country received their results today, with grades determined by teachers after this summer’s exams were cancelled.

The proportion of A-level entries awarded an A grade or higher nationally has risen to an all-time high this year.

Epping St John’s C of E School sixth formers are among those looking forward, with some achieving top grades to take them on to the next stage of their studies.

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

She 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.

“Opening my results was definitely a shock. I am relieved. I have tried not to think about them for the last two months.

“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.”

Finley Jacobs-Roth achieved A grades in government and politics, history and sociology A-levels at the Epping sixth form.

He is going to Nottingham University to study politics with American studies, including a year spent studying in America.

Finley, from Epping, said: “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. Thankfully, from day one, we had some form of online lessons which 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.”

Amy Burges is off to The Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts after completing an application process which involved 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 also got 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.

“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 OK.”

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.

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

James, from Roydon, achieved A grades in science and maths and an A* in physics A-level this week from the Epping 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.

“But, I do not want to start university with online lessons, so I am deferring my place for a year.

“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 added: “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.”