Schools and colleges in Hackney throw open their doors today as nervous students pick up their A-level results.
Changes to the A-level system introduced back in 2015 mean grades for thirteen subjects are now based solely on a student’s performance in the final year, rather than the old combination of coursework, AS and A-levels, which is being phased out.
But pupils at Stoke Newington School (SNS) seemed to take the pressure in their stride, achieving an overall pass rate of 99 per cent, with 80 per cent earning A*-C grades.
Headteacher Annie Gammon said: “We are delighted to see these brilliant achievements from all our sixth form students in A level, AS level and vocational courses. They, and their teachers, have worked hard and
deserve this success.”
Notable individual performances include Ellie Cooper, who achieved two A*s and two As and will be heading off to Oxford to study Politics, Philosophy and Ethics.
Ellie will be joined there by Robert Tarrant, who will be studying Biological Sciences after gaining one A* and two As today.
Ms Gammon added: “We have more and more students wanting to join our sixth form, with applicants from across Hackney and other London boroughs. I’m proud that all our students have got such great results. All our intake make excellent progress whatever their starting point: we make a point of providing tailored support for all our students. We feel we have managed the transition to the changed A levels very effectively for our students.”
Clapton Girls’ Academy (CGA) is also celebrating after 88 per cent of students achieved grades from A*-C – 11 per cent above the national average.
Maysa Chunara secured her place at Kings College to study maths with two A*s and a B, and earned the honour of being the first CGA student to achieve A* grades in both Maths and Further Maths.
A delighted Maysa said: “In my opinion I believe that CGA has the best maths department in Hackney. They were always there to motivate and encourage us before and after exams and made sure we were completely prepared before we sat our exams. So I want to thank my maths teachers for sharing their passion of maths with me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you.”
Head girl Happy Imafidon was also understandably “happy” with her AAB grades, which mean she will go on to study her first choice Chemical Engineering course at University College London.
Happy said: “The school has really encouraged me to study the sciences. I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I am so happy with my results and want all girls to study STEM subjects, like chemical engineering and become doctors and scientists. Go females!”
Headteacher Anna Feltham said: “At the end of my first year of headship, I am delighted to be celebrating such outstanding progress with our students, staff and parents. I could not be more proud of our Year 13 students and the experienced and dedicated staff that have supported them.
“The girls’ commitment and ambition has led to them achieving exceptional results and contributing significantly to the life of the academy. We wish them every success as they leave us for their next exciting chapter in their lives.”
Students at The Urswick School on Paragon Road are triumphant after earning a 100 per cent pass rate, with 43 per cent achieving grades from A*-B.
The record-breaking year had the school, which only opened its Sixth Form Academy in September 2012, in a buoyant mood.
Centre of attention was James Murphy, a student with special educational needs, who earned two As and a B.
James, who started at Urswick in Year 7 with a reading age of six, said: “I’m speechless. My grades are so good that I’m hopefully going to get into an even better university than I first applied for.
“I worked really hard for this, but I want to thank everybody who has supported me for 7 years as I know they worked even harder in giving me support.”
Another star performer was Anil Suyur, who achieved an A* and an A, as well as a double distinction in BTEC diploma
An overjoyed Anil, who is off to Kings College to study Political Economy, said: “I’m over the moon! I am a strong believer in self-discipline and hard work. Thanks to all my teachers for instilling this in me from year 7 – it has all paid off!”
Kanesha Edwards was similarly delighted with her results. Her two A*s and a B will see her study Psychology at Queen Mary’s College.
A thrilled Kanesha, who turned up with her mum at 8am this morning to open her results, said: “I want to thank the school for the support and motivation my teachers gave me over the last 2 years, and also the support from my mum in helping me achieve my goals.”
Fiona Bishop, Head of Sixth Form, said: “I’m so proud of our students and all they have achieved. Their hard work has certainly paid off, and they are a credit to the school and their families. I wish them the best on the next step to a bright future.”
Cardinal Pole Catholic School has continued the A-level success which saw it reach the top 10 per cent of sixth forms in the country, with half the grades this year between A*-B.
Two students who particularly excelled were Hope Osifo and Motunrayo Arojojoye.
Hope gained two A*s and an A and will go on to read Medicine at Liverpool. Motunrayo earned one A* and two As, and is off to read Law at Clare College, Cambridge.
Hope said: “I’m so thankful to God for the grades I achieved. Although the A-level courses were challenging, I pushed myself to work hard and am delighted to see that the fruits of my labour have paid off.
“Becoming a doctor has been my dream since I was three years old, I’m so excited to be one step closer to achieving that goal.”
Headteacher Ms Heffernan said: “We are delighted to see the hard work of all involved; students, parents and staff, have such positive outcomes, preparing them well for the next phase of their studies, especially in the face of all the curriculum and assessment changes at A-level.”
In the year of its tenth anniversary, Petchey Academy is also celebrating after 78 per cent of students gained grades from A*-C, with over a quarter of the cohort passing three or more subjects at grade A* or A.
Jay Popkin earned a clean sweep of three A*s, and he’ll be heading off to Warwick University to read Maths.
Jay’s mother, who was there to see him open his results, said: “The decision to send our son to Petchey was the best we took for him and I want to thank you and all the staff at Petchey for making his experience of secondary school so exceptional, both academically and in terms of his personal development. I feel he has been really nurtured
and encouraged to live up to his potential.”
Principal Ms Cole said: “At our Celebration of Achievement Evening in July we heard from many alumni about the incredible journeys they have made since leaving Petchey and I look forward to hearing similar stories from this cohort. They have been subject to a new system and still achieved great results through perseverance and a positive attitude to learning.”
There was delight for two friends at Hackney Community College, whose students achieved a 90 per cent pass rate.
In a remarkable coincidence, Mariam Begum and Marianne Johnson both achieved exactly the same grades – A*, A* and A – in exactly the same subjects.
Fittingly, Mariambibi and Marianne will both now go on to read English Literature in the same college at Cambridge University.
Lois Fowler, borough principal for Hackney Community College, said: “Well done to all our students today who have worked hard to achieve these fantastic results. In a year when many A-level subjects changed, our students have been well supported and proved that they continue to do very well and achieve high grades.
“It demonstrates the hard work and dedication of our students towards their studies and our teachers in helping them achieve the high grades they need to secure good university places.”
Clare Marchant, chief executive of admissions service UCAS, said: “Congratulations to everyone who has received good news today. On behalf of everyone at UCAS, well done and best of luck for your studies.
“If you have not done as well as you had hoped, try not to worry – you have plenty of options, and every year many people who have missed out on their grades find high quality and rewarding courses through Clearing.
“Make sure you take some time to think about what you want to do next, and seek advice from those who know you best – parents, teachers, and friends.
“If you decide you want to start a degree this year, UCAS can offer all the support you need. You can search around 45,000 courses with Clearing vacancies on ucas.com – you’ll need to contact universities and colleges directly to discuss the courses you’re interested in before deciding if you want to accept an offer.”
Students who are uncertain about their options can also speak with an experienced careers adviser by contacting the Exam Results Helpline on 0808 100 8000.
UCAS said the number of students accepted on A-level results day is down 2 per cent compared to 2016, but is still the second highest number recorded. The charity attributed this decrease to a fall in acceptances from older students, and fewer students from the European Union.