It’s one of the most astonishing turnarounds in education, with Hurlingham Academy achieving stunning GCSE results – just a few years after it's predecessor Hurlingham & Chelsea School was under Ofsted special measures.
The journeys that many of the GCSE students have undertaken made the results attained by the school in Peterborough Road, Fulham, all the more remarkable.
Take Sunday Eguaroje, 16, in the top three per cent in England after achieving grade 9 in Maths.
He only arrived in London from his native Nigeria in October 2016, midway through the course, yet has also managed six A grades, not to mention a 7 in English Lit and a 6 in English Language.
Now he’s off to college to study maths, further maths, physics and chemistry at A level. How has he done it?
“I hardly sleep at night,” he said. “I find night the best time to revise! It’s a good school, with a very good head teacher - he’s the catalyst for the results.”
The teenager had planned to work towards a career as a chemical engineer. “But I changed my mind to electrical engineering because the future is electric cars,” he said.
Equally impressive is Maria Pahat, who came to the UK from Romania a year ago. Modest and softly spoken, she gained a 9 in English lit, four A* grades, one A, one B, a starred distinction in IT and a 7 in English language.
“It was hard,” she said. “But if you work hard and put the effort in, you can get the grades you want.”
Her English lit top grade was achieved studying Macbeth, An Inspector Calls and Jekyll and Hyde.
“I loved Jekyll and Hyde; it’s open to more interpretation and you can give your opinions and views,” said the 16-year-old.
Standing by was mum Elena. “I’m so proud of her. She pushed herself and she works very hard, but the teachers here are very good,” she said.
Effervescent principal Leon Wilson deserving of great recognition for his part in the transformation.
“I’m very, very pleased,” he said. “The journey we’re on will transform Hurlingham into one of the best schools in London… and I can’t wait to get back to work again in September!
“It’s all about the community we have here. The teachers enjoy coming to work because of the system, culture and disruption-free environment.”
Another success story is 15-year-old Ben Ntumba, who achieved grade 9s in maths and English lit, four A*s, two As, a starred distinction in IT and a B in music.
“I’ve enjoyed it,” he said. “Mr Wilson has really changed the school around.”
He will now study maths, biology, chemistry and art at the Harris sixth form in Westminster, hopefully leading to a career in medicine, perhaps as Dr Ntumba.
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