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GCSEs: Oaklands pupils in the top 10pc in the country with plenty of A*s

PUBLISHED: 22:14 25 August 2016 | UPDATED: 08:27 26 August 2016

Oaklands Secondary's Head teacher Patrice Canavan

Oaklands Secondary's Head teacher Patrice Canavan

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Exited pupils got many A* and A grades in their GCSE results today at Oaklands Secondary in London’s East End which didn’t quite match last year’s record—but at least kept them in the country’s top 10 per cent.

Oakland's Deputy Head Simon RamsayOakland's Deputy Head Simon Ramsay

The school in Bethnal Green managed average improvement rates of half-of-one per cent on their expected performance which had been assessed in their first year of secondary education.

“The government no longer looks for as many pupils as possible getting A* to C grades,” Deputy Head Simon Ramsay explained.

“Now it’s ‘Progress 8’ looking at average improvement from the time they arrive in Year 7 to their GCSEs in Year 11.

The moment one GCSE student realises she's got her grades...The moment one GCSE student realises she's got her grades...

“If a pupil achieves what is predicted, that’s the Zero base line—but if they get more than expected, it’s a positive Progress 8 score.”

Today’s results were the third year running that Oaklands’ Year 11s did better on average than what had been predicted for them in Year 7.

“It’s an average half-grade up on each qualification,” Mr Ramsay added. “The pupils are motivated, seeing others in previous years getting to the best universities.”

Head teacher Patrice Canavan addresses pupils about signing up for the sixth formHead teacher Patrice Canavan addresses pupils about signing up for the sixth form

The school was in the top five per cent in the country last year—its best ever. This year’s results are slightly lower, but still around the top 10pc.

Head teacher Patrice Canavan addressed the pupils after they were handed their results to spur them on to sign up for next term’s Sixth Form.

She told them: “Get it right, because you can’t retake the subjects. Your future and your career starts with the sixth form, so think about where you want to be in 10 years time because it begins now.”

Phoning home with the good news from Morpeth SecondaryPhoning home with the good news from Morpeth Secondary

She added: “It may take a while to sink in, but walk out of here tall and proud.”

Oaklands, like many secondary schools in the East End, draws many pupils from deprived backgrounds. But this motivates the youngsters to study their way out of poverty.

“We don’t look at kids and think ‘poverty’ and ‘disadvantage’,” the Head told the East London Advertiser. “The odds will be stacked against some of them, but they know they have to work hard—excuses don’t work. They need to think about what’s next because they are no longer children.”

Barnardo SilvaBarnardo Silva

Many of the 16-year-olds had the grades that will set them on to the path to university and professional careers.

Barnardo Silva got six 6 A*s including science and maths, an A, three Bs and a C. He wants to be a scientist.

Asif Rob got 5 A*s, four As and a B. He wants to be an architect.

Asif RobAsif Rob

“My mum will be pleased,” Asif beamed. “I put in a lot of work which I thought was more important than going out with my mates.”

Nazia Islam got five A*s, two As and three Bs.

“I gave up pretty much everything to study,” she recalls. “My social life wasn’t even a question. I have no brothers or sisters, so it was always quiet at home.”

The moment of GCSE truth when one Oaklands pupil opens the brown envelopeThe moment of GCSE truth when one Oaklands pupil opens the brown envelope

She wants to be a journalist and tackle world issues.

But it wasn’t good news for everyone today. Masuma Hanis failed her maths and English and has to retake them next year.

She admitted: “I didn’t try hard enough. I’m disappointed as I didn’t expect this. I thought I’d get at least Cs and Ds—not fail.”

Masuma was too busy with PE and computers, but intends doing better next time by being “more focussed”.

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