Tomorrow is an historic day for Stoke. Our first A level will be sat at 9 am. The honour falls to our three economists to lead the charge. A week after the GCSE students went on study leave, the A level students have now joined them.

In a way there will be little outward change. The sixth formers will still be at their own desks in the study room working during the day. However, instead of leaving the room to go to their lessons, they will be heading to the Performing Arts Building for their examinations.

Of course, there will be a few nerves. This is normal and healthy. When you are well prepared, a few nerves help you perform even better.

Since we returned from the Easter break we have spent most of the time with the Upper Sixth practicing past papers. They are now ready and now is the time to perform. We will be there in support, just as their families are, but we are in the background. The stage is set and the curtain is rising on the first act.

As one of the A level teachers, I thought I would feel nervous for my students too. But actually I don’t. I feel we have worked hard together and I am excited for them. I believe in them, I have seen them prove to me many times what good Economists they are, and I am proud of them. They have come a long way over the past two years.

Like all the Upper Sixth students, they are pioneers. They have cut the path that future years will now follow. I am sad that I have no more lessons to teach them but also happy that they are ready to spread their wings and soar skywards.

I will see them all in the morning to wish them luck and I am sure my colleagues will be doing the same when their subjects come. But the relationship has now changed subtly. They no longer depend on me. They might want to ask a few questions before the next exam and I hope they will send me a few practice papers to mark. But I sense their imminent independence and tomorrow I will watch them with pride.