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A-Levels: Even ‘troubled’ pupils from Bow School make it to top universities

PUBLISHED: 14:34 13 August 2020 | UPDATED: 14:18 14 August 2020

Ashraf Ali (left) and Omar Alam... both heading for Queen Mary University at Mile End. Picture: Bow School

Ashraf Ali (left) and Omar Alam... both heading for Queen Mary University at Mile End. Picture: Bow School

Bow School

Pupils at Bow School have busted through this year’s A-Level downgrade barrier caused by lockdown with winning results getting them to top universities.

Peter McCartney (left) and Rio Puffett have made it to Cambridge University. Picture: Bow SchoolPeter McCartney (left) and Rio Puffett have made it to Cambridge University. Picture: Bow School

Two are heading for Cambridge and two just “down the road” to Queen Mary’s including a “troublesome pupil” who managed to turn his life around.

Two others are heading for prestigious Kings College London and Glasgow universities.

“This is testament to their determination despite the fact they couldn’t sit the A-level exams,” head teacher Danny Lye said.

“Many have received the grades today which allow them to take up a university of their choice, despite the concerns.”

Ashraf Ali and Omar Alam are the two going to Queen Mary’s University at Mile End.

Ashraf, a budding entrepreneur, got a Distinction* and two Distinctions, having never thought that sixth form would be for him.

Ralph Bennett-Richards (left) is off to Glasgow University while Jacky Huynh is going to Kings College London. Picture: Bow SchoolRalph Bennett-Richards (left) is off to Glasgow University while Jacky Huynh is going to Kings College London. Picture: Bow School

“Bow school gave me a second chance when I had been a troublesome student,” he admits. “But I can’t believe I’m now going to university.”

He sets his sights on “establishing a business empire” after securing a place to study business management.

Omar Alam is grateful that Bow School never gave up on him. He said: “They persevered with making me see the importance of my education, even when others wouldn’t have.”

Omar got Distinction* and two Distinctions in business BTec and secured a place at Queen Mary’s to study marketing and management.

Peter McCartney and Rio Puffett are the two who’ve made it to Cambridge in the autumn.

Peter is studying engineering with his four A*s in maths, further maths, chemistry and physics.

He said: “Our teachers were passionate about making sure we could compete with anyone to get to where we want to be.

“They took a genuine interest in everyone’s wellbeing and their aspirations for the future.”

Classmate Rio got an A* and two As, to study English at Pembroke College, who described how his teachers had been “crucial in navigating the pitfalls” of applying to university.

Ralph Bennett-Richardson is heading to Glasgow to study economic and social history, with one eye on a future in international relations. He got three As in history, politics and French.

Ralph explained: “The high staff-student ratio in our sixth form means you get a lot of time to speak with teachers and really get to grips with your subjects.”

Jacky Huynh “was over the moon” to open an envelope today that revealed three A*s and an A in physics, maths, further maths and chemistry.

He is now heading to the prestigious Kings College London to study even more maths, but doesn’t have a career plan yet.


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