MARLING Sixth Form has said goodbye and good luck to its first ever co-educational year group.

Yesterday (Monday), Marling sixth form held a formal garden party to celebrate the graduation of its first co-ed year.

Students joining the school's sixth form made history in September 2019 as they were the first co-educational cohort - boys and girls educated together - since Marling opened in 1887.

Caitlin Griffiths, who joined Marling from Severn Vale School, said: "I was so excited to be one of Marling’s first girls and then to be appointed as one of four girls in the student leadership team.

"In spite of the challenges caused by Covid, I’ve learnt so much, had such a positive experience and am really proud to have been part of this pioneering group of students.

"I’m now hoping to go on to study politics at Cardiff University."

Rufus Wells, who came to the school from Katharine Lady Berkeley secondary, said: "‘I’m so pleased that I chose Marling to do my A Levels, it is an exceptional sixth form with amazing academic focus and a community like no other.

"I’ve made many new friends and I found it a welcoming and supportive environment in which to study.

"Next year I am planning to study architecture at Manchester School of Architecture."

This group of students has had a complex sixth form journey.

Not only have they led Marling’s move to a co-educational environment, but they have also coped with two periods of lockdown, alongside a completely changed system of A Level assessment.

Steve Farr, Head of Sixth Form said: "We are all so proud of each and every student in this resilient year group.

"These past two years haven’t been easy for anyone, and they have risen to the challenges they faced so well. We wish them every success for the future."

Up to 100 new students now join year 12 from schools across the area and a third of sixth formers are now girls.

This year’s graduating cohort - the largest ever - are planning to go on to a wide range of courses and destinations across the country, including 11 holding offers to study medicine or study at Cambridge University and others heading to dance school, drama college or to study music at a conservatoire.

In addition, some students are moving straight into employment, beginning apprenticeships or entering the armed forces.