Science student who wants to champion change for women among London A-level stars

Nadira Alom (left), Sofia Mollona (top right) and Benjaminas Civilka (botton right) are London students who excelled at their A-Levels.   (Evening Standard)
Nadira Alom (left), Sofia Mollona (top right) and Benjaminas Civilka (botton right) are London students who excelled at their A-Levels. (Evening Standard)

Hundreds of thousands of students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have received their A-Level results.

The proportion of A-level entries awarded top grades is down on last year but still remains above pre-pandemic levels, national figures show.

But still more than a quarter (27.2%) of UK entries were awarded an A or A* grade, down by 9.2 percentage points on last year when 36.4% achieved the top grades.

Here are some of the success stories from London:

Nadira Alom (Ark John Keats Academy, Enfield) Maths B, computer science B, English A*

Nadira, 19, will follow her dreams of working in the Stem industry after gaining a place at the University of York.

While at school she was deputy head girl and a mentor to younger students as part of the sixth-form leadership programme. Going to university will help Nadira achieve her goal of being a woman in Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths).

She said: “It is already difficult for women in the Stem industry, but I can give myself a better chance with a degree. The university will prepare me for the working world, provide knowledge that will excite me and help me further my dream of becoming a computer scientist. It will encourage me to be more independent, to work on long-term projects I am passionate about.”

The school said Nadira’s journey had not been easy. She sought help for mental health issues and made positive progress. She said: “I am passionate about supporting others and have volunteered in my local community and spoken on a panel about the issues faced by youth struggling with mental health. I believe that we can support others by championing change.”

Nadira will benefit from a bursary from the Spencer Steadman Trust, for students studying degrees at Russell Group universities, plus work experience and mentoring opportunities.

Sofia Mollana (Harris Westminster Sixth Form) English D1, Politics A, History A

Sofia will go to Oxford to study English, despite contracting meningitis weeks before her A-level exams began.

She spent three weeks in hospital and when she came home suffering from severe fatigue. Her doctors advised her not to take any exams but she was adamant she wanted to. With the support of her teachers she was able to take five out of the 10 exams. The exam boards took an average of those she took along with her coursework to calculate her grade.

Sofia, 18, said: “Although the doctors advised me not to take any exams, I had worked so hard over the past two years that I felt I had to take them. Revising for my exams was incredibly challenging but I was determined to give it my best shot. Every day, I am feeling stronger and stronger and I am excited about starting university this autumn.”

Benjaminas Civilka (Harris Westminster) Maths A*, Further maths A*, Physics A*, Economics A*

Benjaminas will be the first person in his family to go to university after securing a place at Oxford to study maths.

When he arrived from Lithuania in 2010 with his mother, neither of them spoke any English. He has always wanted to work in finance and plans to be a quantitative analyst. At school he received a bursary to help with travel and other school costs.

The 18-year-old said: “I am very proud of myself for what I have achieved and I can’t believe that I am now one step closer to reaching my dream of working in finance. Harris Westminster Sixth Form has given me so many opportunities to work experience in the world of finance which has helped to strengthen my CV.

“They also gave me invaluable university careers advice, helping me to navigate the admissions process and secure offers from a number of prestigious institutions. I am really optimistic about my future and can’t wait to embrace the opportunities ahead.”