Another of the school’s outgoing sixth formers, James Garside (18), is equally delighted to have achieved his first-choice place at Imperial College London, to study design engineering.

James, of Mickleover, Derby, needed to achieve minimum grades of A* and two A’s in Product Design, Maths and Physics – but he did so with flying colours, having been awarded an impressive three A* grades.

The keen guitarist wanted to study a degree that combined his aptitude for technical subjects with his love of the arts. After his four-year Integrated Masters degree course at Imperial, which includes a six-month industrial placement, he hopes to eventually work in product design for a renowned audio company like Bang & Olufsen, or perhaps start his own company in a similar field.

But James wears his outstanding A-Level success with a tiny tinge of guilt, as he feels that the pandemic restrictions meant he had to do less work than pupils in previous years who achieved similar grades.

“I’m secretly quite competitive,” he said. “But I still feel slightly guilty that we didn’t have to do full exams like most previous years. Apart from that, I’m really pleased and excited about going to a massive place like London.

“I’d have been happy with anything over the grades I needed for Imperial – but it’s amazing to have got three A-stars.”

In preparation for London, James’ supportive parents Caroline and Neil have been helping him learn a few new lifeskills, like cooking. His current signature dish is a tasty chick pea and chorizo recipe from chef Nigel Slater.

“My main worry is learning how to get around on the Tube when I’m in London,” added James.