Once struggling Bethnal Green school achieves 88 per cent GCSE pass rate

A once struggling East End school is celebrating after seeing its GCSE pass rate improve by a fifth compared to last year.

Almost 80 per cent of students at Bethnal Green Technology College achieved at least five A* to C grades, including English and maths, today – enough to get them into further education.

Just five years ago, it was a very different story for the school.

It had been put on special measures and when Mark Keary first arrived to take on the head teacher role, it was massively underachieving.

But the school has enjoyed a steady ascent since then and is now the third most improved school in London and the 14th most improved in England.

Today, among the shrieks and smiles on opening the all-important envelopes, those success stories played out.

One high-flying 16-year-old student is hoping to follow in the footsteps of his older brother who has just landed a place at Cambridge University to study medicine.

Most Read

Sabit Miah landed four A* grades and five As, adding to the two A grades he achieved for GCSEs he took last year.

He now wants to follow in his brother Mobith’s footsteps and study medicine.

Sabit explained: “I really look up to my brother and I was lucky because if I needed to I could ask him for help during my studies.

“Our parents never went to university themselves. They are incredibly proud of our achievements and they show it every day.”

Fahmida Khan, 16, also wants to become a doctor and with her five A* grades, two As and two Bs is part way there.

She said: “I want to be a children’s doctor. I did work experience at a primary school and I really enjoyed that.”

As a whole, the college’s GCSE results have seen a 20 per cent year-on-year improvement for the past three years.

Mr Keary has put this down to the hard work of the pupils and the strict sense of discipline that has been instilled.

He said: “We’ve got a high set of expectations for all of the students. All we ask them to bring is effort and respect. It’s about having clear boundaries and high expectations.

“There’s no racial or postcode distinction between students. They come from many different boroughs and 40 per cent are from Hackney in fact.”

When looking to their futures, the students have more to contend with more than those in previous years did and they are acutely aware of the struggles the axing of their weekly college allowance and the trebling of tuition fees might bring.

Ruzina Khatun, Fateha Zammet and Nasima Hyder all achieved five A* to C grades and are going onto college but they admit they thought hard about it.

Ruzina said: “Some people I know were thinking of going to college but have decided not to because they won’t get an income. I was thinking of doing an apprenticeship because I’m worried about how I’ll afford travel expenses. It was my teachers who motivated me to go onto college.”

Nasima added: “The problem is we can’t even get a part time job in this day and age. It’s not like we’re from a rich part of London so it’s not really fair.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter