GCSE Pupils in Shepherd's Bush Triumph Over Adversity

Excellent grades achieved despite pandemic disrupting their studies

Two Burlington Danes students who achieved the highest possible 9 grade Two Burlington Danes students who achieved the highest possible 9 grade

After two years of cancellations due to the pandemic, young people in schools in the Shepherd's Bush area were finally back in examination rooms to take their GCSEs .

Despite the challenging circumstances, this year saw impressive results with some schools achieving their best ever performance in a year in which the overall national average was down.

A record-breaking number of top marks were achieved by students at Phoenix Academy as its GCSE results improved for the fifth year in a row.

“Well done to all students on their achievements. We are proud of you all on achieving this fantastic set of results,” said Tony MacDowall, Principal at Phoenix Academy.

“The past three years have been challenging however our students have overcome these challenges and worked hard to access the next stage of their education. The results speak for themselves about the exceptional education at Phoenix Academy.”

Students at Ark Burlington Danes Academy in Wood Lane delivered some excellent perfromances including Elliot Walker Hall who was understandably proud of his eight grade 9s, one grade 8 and one grade 7. He thanked his teachers for all their support with revision.

Elliot is staying on at Burlington Danes to join the Sixth Form and study French, History and Chemistry at A-Level.

Ayan Kadiye will also be staying on to study for her A-Levels after being ‘genuinely shocked’ with her seven grade 9s and three grade 8s.

Ayan also thanked her form teacher who ‘cared so much and helped us when we were stressed.’ Having recently attended at a summer school at Cambridge University, she is determined to apply there after her A-Levels.

Aspiring medic Sammy Hilfawi was awarded five grade 9s, five grade 8s and one grade 7. He will be going on to study Chemistry, Biology and History at Burlington Danes Sixth Form.

Upon receiving his results, he said: “The teachers went above and beyond and provided us with so many programmes and opportunities to help with our future aspirations.”

“We are thrilled with the achievements of our fantastic young people. They have shown such grit throughout their studies and their success today is down to their hard work,” said Principal David Carr.

“We are looking forward to welcoming lots of our students back for sixth form and we’re sure that they will continue to achieve their goals and go on to be the ones to make the world a better place.”

80% of students at Hammersmith Academy in Cathnor Road achieved grades between 9 to 4.

Yosif Ali was the Academy’s highest achiever scoring an outstanding 10 grade 9s.

“I really feel the hard work I put in has paid off. It has been an extremely uncertain time as this was the first year of examinations after the lockdown and the online learning due to Covid made the GCSEs even more stressful for most of us,” said Yosif.

Yosif is now looking forward to joining the sixth form in September to study for his A-Levels.

Winnie Chan received five grade 9s, two grade 8s, three grade 7s and a grade 6.

“I feel relieved about my results. English Literature and Language are the most challenging subjects for me because English is not my first language. I am grateful to have Ms Moore and Ms Millar as my English teachers as well as the support from the English Department,” said Winnie.

She is looking forward to continuing her studies at the Hammersmith Academy Sixth Form.

Abdellah Zinet was awarded seven grade 9s, two grade 7s and a grade 6, and said: “I feel very proud and fulfilled by my results due to the hard work and perseverance I poured into my examinations. My family and I are very pleased with my results.

“Although GCSEs were a really tough time, I believe the help of the Academy and the constantly available resources gave me that edge. It relieved our stress and made it feel do-able.”

Headteacher, Gary Kynaston, said: “Congratulations go to our Year 11 students who have excelled in their GCSEs. The Academy has always had an outstanding record but the attainment of this year’s cohort is all the more impressive given a downturn in grades is anticipated nationally.

“To have exceeded last year’s national attainment measures demonstrates what a strong academic foundation Hammersmith Academy rests upon.

“Students should be very proud of not only their achievements but for also demonstrating resilience and determination to succeed throughout the last three years of their course.”

West London Free School (WLFS) students have achieved their best set of results in nationally examined GCSE yet. Out of 1195 entries, the average grade was 6.4, up from 6.3 in 2019.

Of all the GCSE exams sat by WLFS students in summer 2022:

• 49% were graded 9-7.
• 79% were graded 9-5.
• 88% were graded 9-4.

In addition, 84% of Year 11 pupils grades were graded 9-4 in English and Maths and ten WLFS students achieved straight grades 8 and 9.

Ben McLaughlin and Robert Peal, Joint Headteachers said, ‘We could not be more proud of the achievements of our Year 11 pupils. Considering the rollercoaster of a ride they have taken to get here, these are a fantastic set of results of which they, and the school, can be extremely proud.’

At Sacred Heart School 56% of grades were 7 and above against a London average of 32% and 95% were 4 and above compared to the average of 95%. The average grade at the school was 6.3 and 93% of grades in English were 5 and above and 86% in Maths.

Staff at Westside School in Galena Road were proud of their students’ achievements this year.

Sixty-seven per cent of its pupils achieved grade 4 or higher in English Language and 20 per cent of students achieved five good GCSE passes including Maths and English.

Headteacher Patricia Hanley said: “It is truly humbling to see that the students have been rewarded for their hard work, resilience and ambition.

“Westside works hard to ensure that our students are given the opportunity to get back on track in education and achieve highly in a variety of GCSE and vocational qualifications.

“Whilst we understand that not all achievements are academic, we recognise that having good exam results is often what is required to re-engage some young people in education, which is the cornerstone of our mission.

Latymer Upper School also reached new record highs for results with 95% of all grades at 7-9 (equivalent to A*/A), with 62% of those being 9s (A*s). Three-quarters of the year group (141 pupils) achieved all 7-9s (A*/As) with 29 students scoring all 9s.

In key subjects such as Mathematics, 98% of all grades were 7-9 (A/A*) with 130 students achieving 9s; in English and English Literature over 94% of students achieved 7-9 grades, with 3 students - Arun, Ihsan and Hannah - receiving 100% in all their English Literature papers.

Latymer Upper students queue to collect their results
Latymer Upper students queue to collect their results

Students have achieved this academic excellence whilst also enjoying success in sport, music and drama. For example:
• Balthazar, who lives in the Shepherd's Bush area, is a para-swimmer who has juggled his studies alongside training and competing at international championships with Team GB. He achieved all 9s, 8s and 7s (equivalent to A/A*s) in all his GCSEs.
• Like Balthazar, Alec has also had to balance his commitment to rowing with his studying. Earlier this month, he won two gold medals in the men’s pair event for the U19 Great Britain Team at the Coupe de Jeunesse event in Spain. This is the first time the men’s GB pair has won a gold medal at this event for 14 years and the first time in 16 years to take home the double gold. He tops off a golden Summer with 5 9s, 3 8s and a 6.
• Stella, who got all 8s and 9s in her GCSEs was also successful in achieving a Licentiate of Trinity College London (LTCL) diploma from Trinity College of Music, for cello. This is equivalent in standard to the final year recital of an undergraduate degree, which students would usually take at around 22 years old.
• Stella and her peer, Rhea, were also part of the Latymer team who did so well at the Linguistic Olympiad (UKLO) earlier this year. Rhea, who is also a Mensa competition winner, is one of the 29 Latymer students to achieve straight 9s this year.
• Dixie has successfully juggled her studies with both her theatre work and filming since she joined Latymer in Year 7. This year she was filming 'The Essex Serpent' whilst studying for her GCSEs, previously she appeared in ‘The Secret Garden’. She achieved all 9s, 8s and 7s.

Stella with Head Teacher David Goodhew
Stella with Head Teacher David Goodhew

Head, David Goodhew commented: “I’m absolutely thrilled for our students and their parents. They have set a new school record with 95% of all grades being 7,8 or 9, which is equivalent to A*/A. and three quarters of the year group have achieved all 7s,8s and 9s. These incredible results come after so much uncertainty and turbulence over the last few years and I applaud our students for their resilience and hard work. My thanks also go to our staff for the amazing support they’ve provided as well as the inspirational and dedicated teaching.”

At London Oratory School (LOS), 19% of papers were graded at 9 compared to a national average of 6.8% and 36% were graded at 8 or 9 with the national average at 21.7%. The margin was even bigger for papers graded 7 and above with the school's average at 54% compared to 26.3% fore the rest of the country.

The school's Headmaster, Daniel Wright, said, "Mention must go to the 2 LOS candidates who attained 12 or more straight Grade 9s, joining a select club of only 13 candidates across the whole country - phenomenal.

"Whatever your story, or outcome, well done and congratulations to you all on achieving a remarkable set of results in the toughest of national circumstances. You’ve done us all proud!"

There were some outstanding results across the schools in the borough including Melisa Botonjic at Fulham Cross Girls’ School in Munster Road who received eight grade 9s and one grade 7.

Fellow pupil Ayah Greenidge had to attend classes remotely from Morocco for a number of months after Covid lockdown measures were put in place. All her hard work paid off in the end after she achieved nine 7-9 grades in her exams.

ulham Cross Girls’ School students Blessing Okenge, 16, Tia-Rai Barrowes, 16 and Sara Hamadto, 16
Fulham Cross Girls’ School students Blessing Okenge, 16, Tia-Rai Barrowes, 16 and Sara Hamadto, 16

Over at The Hurlingham Academy in Peterborough Road, Adem Yahiaoui achieved 11 grade 9s and Jesse Rivero Vela received ten grade 9s.

Commenting on this year’s results, Leon Wilson, Principal at Hurlingham Academy, said: “I could not be prouder of our young people. This summer’s GCSE achievements firmly cement the progress we have made over the past five years and reflect our determination to become an ‘Outstanding’ school for the community we serve.”

The Fulham Boys School in Fulham Road had 111 pupils sit GCSEs this year with 58 per cent achieving at least one grade 9 and 86 per cent of all grades awarded at grade 5 or above.

“I congratulate all our students for securing results they can be proud of – be it those gaining 10 or more grade 9s or those nailing their hoped for passes in English and Maths,” said Headteacher David Smith.

“This is a red-letter day for Fulham Boys School. We’ve moved mountains to add rigour to our curriculum since our first GCSEs in 2019, and these results are testament to the extraordinary efforts put in by staff over the last three years with average attainment increasing by over a grade and a half. When viewed against a national decrease in the top grades and the backdrop of Covid, we believe they’re an exceptional set of results.

“Many of our boys have worked through significant mental health issues since lockdown with these exams proving a real test of resilience. I salute them. This year group’s show of character vindicates all that Fulham Boys School puts into developing our students outside of the curriculum and I look forward to their continuing success as they progress through our Sixth Form.”

Fulham Cross Boys School pupils show off their grades

Amongst the very top performing departments were Biology, Chemistry and Physics where over 65 per cent of pupils achieved a grade 7 or higher and almost a quarter achieved a grade 9.

In History, 80 per cent of the students achieved a grade 7 or higher and 35 per cent achieved the top grade 9. In RE 51 per cent of pupils achieved a grade 9.

Seventy-four per cent of the year secured at least five grade 5s or above, including Maths and English, marking a 34% increase from 2019’s results and a nine per cent increase on last year’s Centre-Assessed Grades (CAGs).

At Lady Margaret School in Parsons Green more than 70 per cent of the students managed to achieve the English Baccalaureate, meaning they achieved a total of at least 5 GCSEs including a minimum of grade 4 in English, Maths and three of the following subjects: Sciences, History, Geography, French or Spanish. Over half of all grades ranged from 7 to 9.

School Headteacher, Elisabeth Stevenson said, “Our Year 11 students, along with those across the country, faced significant disruption to their education during the pandemic.

“They are to be commended for their commitment to their studies and for the ways in which they have supported each other through difficult times.

“These are excellent results and we are so proud of all girls in Year 11. We look forward to welcoming many of them to Year 12 this September.”

Hammersmith & Fulham Cabinet Member for Children and Education, Cllr Alex Sanderson said, “Congratulations to all our local students who took GCSEs this year. It has been so tough on them in the past few years due to the pandemic but they have once again done themselves proud.

“We wish them well as they take their next step in life. From starting A-Levels to getting that first job, we applaud them for all their hard work and success which would not have been possible without the tremendous support of our local teachers, school staff, parents, friends and family. Together they have ensured local pupils have had the best chance to succeed in life whatever their exam results.”


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August 29, 2022