Whitechapel’s Swanlea school gets 75pc top marks in GCSE A*-to-C grades

Mia Allen phones home with her top-score results

Mia Allen phones home with her top-score results - Credit: Archant

A school in the heart of the deprived East End of London has managed a 75 per cent GCSE pass rate in top A*-to-C grades—with a little mentoring help from big business in Canary Wharf and the City.

Mia Allen phones home with her top-score results

Mia Allen phones home with her top-score results - Credit: Archant

Swanlea Secondary in Whitechapel got the best-ever results in its 20-year history, with a 16 per cent improvement on last year.

It was top marks for Shahara Hussain and Raihan Qadir, who both notched up 11 A* and A grades.

Close behind were Marzana Begum and Mubeenur Rahman who each got 10 A*s and As.

They were among the 200 pupils turning up at the school in Whitechapel’s Brady Street today to get their white envelopes with the eagerly-awaited results.

Mia Allen phones home with her top-score results

Mia Allen phones home with her top-score results - Credit: Archant


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“This community doesn’t lack ambition,” Headteacher Brenda Landers told the East London Advertiser. “It’s a poor area—but the youngsters are motivated to work their way out of poverty.

“There’s very little we can do about the poverty in the community.

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“What we can do, however, is make sure it doesn’t become part of the next generation.”

The school gets support from big business like Bank of America, Barclays, Lloyds of London, who do mentoring and offer work placements.

Mia Allen phones home with her top-score results

Mia Allen phones home with her top-score results - Credit: Archant

But there’s still a challenge from scrutinising school governors snapping at Brenda’s heels.

“The governors challenge us to be better,” she added. “We always ‘must to do better’—but they do make sure we have the resources.”

Mia Allen, 15, from Bethnal Green, got two As and five Bs and was busy on the phone telling mum the good news that was far better than she ever expected. She’s going on to do psychology, sociology, philosophy and media at A-level next year.

Tanzeem Chowdhury, from Wapping, has a total of two A*s and eight As. He got an A* in PE and seven As last term in English language and literature, maths, statistics, sociology, French and science. It adds to his A* in religious education and his A in Geography that he took last year and B in science.

Mia Allen phones home with her top-score results

Mia Allen phones home with her top-score results - Credit: Archant

Now he is going on to A-level maths, economics and chemistry. Eventually he wants to go into economics or geography.

Regina Mukit, from Bow, got an A* in art, four As in English language, maths, French and religious education, plus four B grades—after having to keep her three-year-old brother out of her room so she could get down to hard study.

“I used to look after my little brother, which was really distracting,” she explained. “I locked the door and just put my head down and studied—he cried, so mum had to take him.”

She is going on to A-level psychology and maths, and is thinking of becoming a psychotherapist.

Mia Allen phones home with her top-score results

Mia Allen phones home with her top-score results - Credit: Archant

Taheara Khanam, 16, the daughter of a Whitechapel tailoring worker, got an A* in Spanish and four As in English language and literature, sociology and art. But she also had a lot of family distraction.

“I have four sisters and five brothers,” Taheara revealed. “But somehow I managed to do it by just staying in my room and closing the door to keep out every distraction—I managed to get through it somehow.”

She is now doing A-levels in chemistry, biology and geography and eventually wants to get into NHS nursing.

Classmate Sharmila Began, 16, from the Isle of Dogs, got three As in Art, Maths and Spanish and three Bs and two Cs in other subjects. She’s going on to take A-levels in economics, maths and psychology, but hasn’t yet decided on her career path.

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