It has been another dazzling year for the girls of Lady Margaret School in Parsons Green, where the Year 11 students once again produced a superb collection of GCSE results.
Seventeen girls gained 10 or more GCSEs at grades A or A*, while overall numbers achieving more than five GCSEs at A*-C was 84.17 per cent... a 10 per cent increase on last year’s total.
Headteacher Elisabeth Stevenson was delighted. “They’ve done brilliantly,” she said. “There’s no trick to this; the girls are keen to do well, the parents are incredibly supportive, and the staff have sharp brains and good hearts. They are real subject experts, and are so committed to the girls.
“I’m so pleased. I couldn’t ask for better, and it’s a real leap up from last year. It’s been lovely to see them come in today, then bounce out, enthusiastic about coming back to the sixth form.”
One of those looking forward to her A level years is Parnia Parsipour, 16, of Notting Hill, who achieved A* in Spanish, As in maths, French, RS, biology, physics and history, and Bs in art, chemistry, English language and English lit, plus an AS in Persian (“I was the only one in the school to do it!”).
“I’m pleased with the results, but I was still aiming for higher,” she said, neatly summing up the school’s continuing hunger for improvement.
Parnia spent four weeks of the summer doing the National Citizen Service challenge; the skill-building, community-serving activity programme which included volunteering at a nursing home.
“I’m still finalising my A level choices,” she said, after collecting her results envelope from the school foyer. “I’m thinking of changing some subjects because of my grades, but I’m staying here for the sixth form. It’s a good school, I like it, my mates are here and I have no reason to move.”
For Caroline Robert, 16, of nearby Sands End, the sixth form also beckons after she gained four As, four Bs and four Cs.
She had been keeping her fingers crossed that she might get one A*, but overall she was happy, and now aims to study maths, physics, chemistry and geography at A level.
“Eventually I’d like to study chemical engineering, so I’d be looking at places like Imperial College,” she said. “Mind you, if I get there I’ll have to work much harder!”
Caroline has had a nervy summer since the exams finished as the more she thought back to the papers she took, the more she became convinced that she’d done badly.
“I came out of the English literature exam and really thought I’d failed,” she said. “But the teaching is really good here, especially in the sciences. I was expecting the school to be a bit disorganised, but it’s actually much better organised than I expected.”
Fellow student Maya Jovanovic was overjoyed with her trio of A* grades in maths, art and Spanish… so much so that she plonked herself down on the pavement and re-read the results sheet half a dozen times to make sure she hadn’t mistakenly opened someone else’s.
With a further five A grades and two Bs, the Wandsworth teenager now aims to make the most of one of Lady Margaret’s sixth-form specialities – art.
“I like the facilities that the school offers; I really like the art here,” she said. “I was expecting I’d do a lot worse in my exams. The more I thought about it, the worse I thought I’d do. I really thought I’d get all Bs.”
Now she will combine art with A levels in physics, maths and further maths – an intriguing mix. “I’m good at art,” she said, confidently. “It would be a shame to waste the talent!”
Ultimately she can see herself studying computer science or physics at uni, but for now the sixth form beckons.
Maya transferred to Lady Margaret from Grey Coat at the start of her GCSEs, a move she says has made a big difference. “It was definitely the right decision,” she said. “I find everyone here friendly.”
With a crop of A*s, As and Bs, Beth Ewins – soon to turn 17 – has opted to switch to Esher College for her sixth-form years, following in the footsteps of her older brother.
“I did enjoy school,” she said. “But I suppose I’ll feel more free by going to college.” The Earlsfield teenager was setting off to the Reading Festival, with the Red Hot Chili Peppers top of the attractions.
Meanwhile, Connie Baum, 16, from Hammersmith was celebrating her results which “massively exceeded expectations”.
Her grades included an A* in French, and she now aims to fulfil her stage dreams by switching to Arts Ed in Chiswick to study musical theatre.
“This school isn’t so strong for the performing arts, although the music department is very good here,” she explained. “I’ve been here since the first form, and I’ve mostly enjoyed it.”
Demonstrating her commitment to performance, Connie spent the summer doing intensive courses in dancing, sandwiched between an enjoyable trip to Berlin.
Naomi Davis, 16, of Southfields is, however, staying on at the Lady Margaret sixth form after a magnificent clutch of grades at GCSE which included seven A*s and four As.
She gained the A*s in French, Spanish, biology, English language, English lit, history and RS. “It’s a lot better than my mocks, and I’m very pleased,” she said, attributing the improvement partly to doing much of her revision at Fulham Library.
Now she will tackle A levels in biology, chemistry, physics and psychology; subjects she concedes will entail “a lot of work”.
Naomi added: “I’m eventually hoping to do medicine or veterinary science. I really have to credit the teachers here; I have a really good relationship with them, and it doesn’t feel like I’m at school at all!
“I get along with them well, but they can tell me to shut up and get on with my work! They push you along… but in the nicest way possible.”