Students at a school in White City have excelled academically despite facing a year of great tragedy.
The weight of the Grenfell Tower disaster weighed heavy on all at Burlington Danes Academy: first as many students were affected through the loss of family or friends; but also as the school rallied to offer a place of learning to some of those left without a school by the fire.
The Wood Lane school enjoyed some exceptionally good results both in its A-level and its BTEC courses.
30% of the 58 students taking A-levels achieved A* to B in all three subjects. 11 of the 22 students on BTEC pathway courses got three distinctions, helping several into Russell Group university places.
A-level student Ezra Gill, 18, performed outstandingly, achieving three A*s: in history, philosophy & ethics and maths.
“I wasn’t expecting it at all, I thought I’d got AAB or something”, he said, delightedly holding the white piece of paper many students spend half of the summer dreading.
Ezra is going to study history at the University of Bristol in the autumn and says he is really looking forward to it.
Elleni Silkin said her overwhelming feeling was one of relief after getting three As: in maths, biology and chemistry.
“I didn’t know what to expect because last year I came with high hopes but got two As, a B and a C in geography,” she said.
The 18-year-old hopes to study medicine at university next autumn.
Silkin wasn’t the school’s only high achiever in maths. An impressive 50% of grades in the subject were A* or A - well above the national average.
Newar Mekhael, 18, received an A in psychology and Cs in history and drama to secure a place at Royal Holloway, University of London.
A difficult year
Headteacher Michael Ribton said: “It’s been a difficult year because of Grenfell Tower, and because we lost our primary school headteacher, who died in service.”
This sudden loss led to Burlington Danes becoming an all-through school combining primary and secondary education.
“The thing I’ve learned is it’s how you are when things are OK that sustains you through the challenging and difficult times,” said Mr Ribton.
“The school is very strong and we’ve responded to these events. There has been a fantastic summer programme during the course of this holiday for pupils and their families around Grenfell Tower, and the school continues to be very much part of the community.”
Half of Burlington’s students achieved C or above in all three of their subjects.
Mr Ribton was also keen to point to the 'amazing' BTEC results, which he said were 'really satisfying'.