Sixthform pupils get ready for university life after 'Brexit' as Tower Hamlets hits record A-Levels
PUBLISHED: 15:51 19 August 2016 | UPDATED: 13:11 22 August 2016
This year's A-Level exam results show the percentage of youngsters achieving the highest grades has more than doubled in London's East End in the past two years.
All Tower Hamlets secondary schools report high pass rates in top grades A* to C, with many having their best year yet.
Bethnal Green Academy achieved virtual 100 per cent pass rate overall. The school reported an impressive 99.7pc, with nine-out-of-10 pupils successfully securing places at university.
Another school that has fought off poverty in a deprived East End to get its pupils a good start in life has achieved 82 per cent A-Level passes in top grades.
Pupils from Whitechapel’s Swanlea Secondary are now heading for top universities including east London’s own Queen Mary’s as well as UCL, Kings and Birmingham.
But the school, drawing pupils from an area of high poverty and immigration, is concerned over future funding, with uncertainty following the EU exit referendum.
“All Tower Hamlets schools will be facing cuts with the new National Funding formula,” Swanlea’s head teacher Brenda Landers told the East London Advertiser.
“We don’t know what cuts we’ll face yet, because of the ‘Brexit’ vote. It’s too early to say what effect it will have.
“There’s no doubt rising university fees can act as a deterrent to youngsters from poor backgrounds—but we haven’t reached that tipping point yet that puts people off.”
Students at Tower Hamlets College in Poplar had a pass-rate above 90pc in all grades for A-Level, despite changes to the specification at AS Year-1 level.
Principal Alison Arnaud said: “The students didn’t let this faze them. Our best-ever results at this level came in a year which saw the AS specification change. We had 79pc passes at AS which was four per cent better than last year.”
Tower Hamlets Council was expecting to beat last year’s record 75pc passes with at least three A-levels between A* and E, compared to 69pc the previous year.
Mayor John Biggs said: “This is evidence of the determination of our young people and the support of teachers and parents.”
He was in Stepney yesterday visiting Sir John Cass School, the flagship Church of England secondary in East London, which has almost all its sixth-form pupils pass.
The Rector of Stepney, Trevor Critchlow, who chairs Sir John Cass Foundation’s school governors, said: “These amazing A-Level results reflect two years of intense work by students, teachers and staff. The governing body is immensely proud.”
The ‘world class’ rated Sixth Form at nearby Bishop Challoner Secondary in the Commercial Road had the best A-Level results in its history.
BTEC students in particular have had a good year, in which the Sixth Form was awarded the World Class Schools quality mark which accredits schools that ‘move beyond outstanding’. Bishop Challoner is one of few institutions in London to achieve this mark.
The new Sixth Form at Poplar’s Langdon Park Secondary continued its successful run of high-grade results since opening its doors in 2013, with every student who applied to university this year being successful.
But the school has had to come a long way since the years of poor performance.
It was turned around when new Head teacher Richard Fitzgerald took over in 2013, the year the school set up its own sixth-form.
The new sixth-form at Bow School had a good run for its first A-Levels. The campus which opened just last year had one-in-four of all its A-Level grades at A* or A, including 60 per for maths. A further 18pc achieved B grade.
Head teacher Cath Smith said: “Our students are more than capable of reaching lofty heights with their determination. They are taking up places at Russell Group universities such as Queen Mary, Manchester and Exeter, with others starting competitive apprenticeships, including one with Sony.”
The percentage of Tower Hamlets schools getting top grades has more than doubled in the past two years, with many youngsters from poor backgrounds motivated to study their way out of poverty. Many are heading off to university at a rate that would have been unheard of just a decade ago in one of Britain’s most-deprived areas. Here’s just a small example...
Swanlea: Roda Abokor gave up her “teenage social life” to study—and got three As and a B. She has wanted to be a doctor since the age of 14 and hopes to study at Queen Mary’s medical school in Whitechapel after a gap year.
Ikram Hussain is heading for LSE to study Government and History with three As. “Someone tutored me free of charge in maths which was my weakest subject,” he explains. “You have to find a balance between studying and being a teenager.”
Tower Hamlets College: Aqeb Hossain got an A*, a B and C and wants to be an aerospace engineer—“someone who fixes planes”—or even designing new aircraft for the RAF. He’s off to Queen Mary’s University.
Three others join him at Queen Mary’s. Mohammed Rofiqul who pulled in two A*s and an A and is going on to study English Literature. Fang Ting is to study Mathematics, Accounting and Finance with two A*s and an A, while Rany Begum studies International Relations with an A and two Bs.
Two friends who often studied together both want be teachers—Fathima Abdullah and classmate Sayda Begum each got As after deciding studies were “more important than clubbing”.
Three students head for King’s College London. Rejwan Khan studies Politics with two As and a B, admitting he was a “bit of a swot” sacrificing all his free time. Enamur Rahman studies Mathematics with an A*, A and a B, while Enamur Rahman is taking Maths with an A*, A and a B.
Bethnal Green Academy: Sufiyan Mohammed goes to Queen Mary’s medical school to study Dentistry with an A* two As. Abdullah Al Ruman goes to Imperial College London for Chemistry with an A*. He is joined by Aaniash Anjum, one of five students to get AAB, and is studying Pharmacy.
Bishop Challoner: Calum McCormick leaves with two A* and two A grades to read Ancient History at Exeter. Chinenye Anene got three As at ‘Advance’ level and is reading Psychology at Birmingham. Andrius Falkauskas has won a scholarship to Kent.
Sir John Cass: Head Girl Nowshin Sultana with an A* and two As is to study medicine at St George’s University. Head Boy Teddy Walker, with an A*, A and a C, has received an unconditional offer from Roehampton, to study business and corporate development.
Bow: Top achiever Azim Ahmed got two A*s and an A and now goes on to study Chemical Engineering at UCL.