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A-level Results Day 2018: Tower Hamlets College last year at Poplar before new academy opens

PUBLISHED: 14:03 16 August 2018 | UPDATED: 16:33 16 August 2018

Gettting their A-Level results at Tower Hamlets College... the last time at the Poplar campus before a new A-Level academy opens in Stepney next month. Picture: Mike Brooke

Gettting their A-Level results at Tower Hamlets College... the last time at the Poplar campus before a new A-Level academy opens in Stepney next month. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Students poured into Tower Hamlets College in Poplar when the doors opened to get their A-Level results—for the last time.

Sharing the news... Sixthformers getting their A-Level results at Tower Hamlets College. Picture: Mike BrookeSharing the news... Sixthformers getting their A-Level results at Tower Hamlets College. Picture: Mike Brooke

A new £1.6m A-Level academy takes over next month at the college’s Arbour Square campus in Stepney.

All A-level studies are being transferred from Poplar to the Atlee Academy opening on two floors on September 3.

The last results from the Poplar show 100 per cent passes in 10 subjects—biology, classical civilisation, further maths, Italian, law, sociology, physics, media studies, religious studies and communication & culture.

Students taking further maths and Italian all got high A*, A, B grades, while law course students achieved 75pc high grades and sociology students 60pc.

Tower Hamlets College principal Alison Arnold, looking ahead to the new academy opening in Stepney, but concerned at A-levels going back to 'rote learning' final exams. Picture: Mike BrookeTower Hamlets College principal Alison Arnold, looking ahead to the new academy opening in Stepney, but concerned at A-levels going back to 'rote learning' final exams. Picture: Mike Brooke

But there are concerns at the college about A-levels going back to final exams deciding grades and less on coursework.

“Someone’s whole future depends on what they do in a few hours over a few days in the summer,” Campus principal Alison Arnaud told the East London Advertiser.

“It’s going back to old fashioned learning by rote and having to remember what has been learned over two years, which may not be the best way to assess our young people.

“You could be someone who wasn’t good at handing in work or particularly reliable turning up to lessons during the year, but is good at learning by heart.

Mohamed Hossain who landed a Distiction* and two Distinctions in BTec applied sciences at Tower Hamlets College. Picture: Mike BrookeMohamed Hossain who landed a Distiction* and two Distinctions in BTec applied sciences at Tower Hamlets College. Picture: Mike Brooke

“This new style exam may take us back a few stages, although it’s to do with the application of knowledge as well as regurgitating it.”

The college is putting more emphasis on the vocational alternative BTec as a route to university.

“More people now go onto university through BTec than A-levels,” the principal added. “My concern is if the government pushes BTec towards final exams—those who are not good in exams will get nowhere.”

But many students are off to university after today’s results, like Mohamed Hossain who landed a Distinction* and two Distinctions in applied sciences.

Priscilla Adewale from Dagenham gets a hug from her Business Studies teacher Mahnaz Asgari for her two BTec Distinction grades at Tower Hamlets College. Picture: Mike BrookePriscilla Adewale from Dagenham gets a hug from her Business Studies teacher Mahnaz Asgari for her two BTec Distinction grades at Tower Hamlets College. Picture: Mike Brooke

The 19-year-old from Poplar has a guaranteed place at Queen Mary University in Mile End to study science and engineering.

Priscilla Adewale, 18, from Becontree in Dagenham, got two Distinctions in Business Level 3 and wants to go to Birmingham University to study accountancy.

“I haven’t told my mum yet,” Priscilla beamed. “I’m going to call her right now.

“I did most of my homework in school because at home there’s a lot of noise.

Business teacher Mahnaz Asgari discusses the grade with pupil Sanjuida Akther. Picture: Mike BrookeBusiness teacher Mahnaz Asgari discusses the grade with pupil Sanjuida Akther. Picture: Mike Brooke

“I don’t go out during the week—I’m a bit of a swot. But I take time off from study at weekends.”

A-level high achievers include Nim Chi-Chao with an A* and two As to guarantee his place at Imperial College London to study chemistry, Mohammed Arafat Ali with three As who is considering economics at university and Maisha Choudhury with A*, A and B grades who is going to University College London to study Social Sciences. Tubor Pinneh and Jennifer Suarez each got A, B, B grades and are going to Queen Mary University.

Many students are going on to their second year at the new Atlee Academy, like Sanjuida Akther, from Stepney Green. She was disappointed at her C grade in business, but it won’t count for the final grades, her teacher assured her.

“I wanted to do better that a C, but at least I passed,” she said. “I’m going on to do economics, maths and business. I want to go into finance as a career.”

Her teacher Mahnaz Asgari is confident she’ll get the grades she wants. She said: “Sanjuida has done a really good job—it’s a good grade at this level. Today’s grade doesn’t count for the second year.”

All A-Level courses are being run from September 3 at the new Clement Atlee Academy with its new science labs, classrooms and social spaces. Teachers and up to 500 students are being transferred from New City college group’s campuses at Poplar and Shoreditch.

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