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GCSEs: Results see H&F pupils excel despite tougher exams

This year’s GCSEs may have been tougher and the grade boundaries stricter than last year - but Hammersmith & Fulham students still posted improved results.

Impressive performances were hailed by Cllr Larry Culhane, H&F Cabinet Member for Children & Education, as a ‘remarkable outcome’, reflecting the dedication and hard work by students, teachers and school staff alike.

After the biggest shake-up in marking for a generation, with all GCSE subjects now graded by numbers (9 being top), the progress made at local secondary schools is giving the borough’s younger generation the chance to fulfil their potential.

Cllr Culhane described the "really significant" rise in 'progress' –  a performance measure  that  charts children’s progress from the end of primary school (key stage 2)  to the end of secondary school (key stage 4) when pupils take GCSEs in Year 11.

“This demonstrates that our secondary schools are adding value to students’ starting points,” he said. “But we shouldn’t overlook the other ways our schools are adding to students’ lives too: the guidance, support and opportunities they provide are all crucial and we thank our teachers and school staff for the dedication they bring every day.”

“I also want to send a message of support to the students who may have been disappointed with some of their results yesterday - and ask them to look to our sixth formers and apprentices, who re-took some of their GCSEs this year and achieved the results they wanted second time round, for inspiration.”

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Image caption: Image 2: Pictured are students and teachers from Fulham Cross Girls' School

With more students in H&F taking GCSEs this year than in the past three years, every school could take heart from this year’s results figures.

In the previous two years, H&F secondary schools continued to make better progress than the national average and the provisional picture for 2019 looks to continue that upward trajectory.

While Sally Brooks, headteacher at Fulham College Boys’ School, said: “Despite the huge [government] funding cuts schools have had to deal with, our teachers have gone the extra mile, worked late after school and on weekends to give our students the best chance to succeed.”

Those local young people who didn’t do so well in their exams still have a wide array of choices. Students can take their English and maths exam resits at William Morris and Hammersmith & Fulham College as well as look into further vocational and apprenticeship opportunities on offer.

If your child will be in Year 6 of primary school in September 2019, they will be moving on to secondary school in September 2020. Find more details and advice on applying for secondary school places.

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Image caption: Image 3: Pictured left to right are Samia, Shahad, Farah, Nandana, Headteacher Gary Kynaston, Fatima, Artora, Monika, Amarin from Hammersmith Academy

Read about your local school

  • Ark Burlington Danes Academy
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    Image caption: Image 4: Burlington Danes principal Paul Bhatia (pictured centre) with some of his students

    Burlington Danes sees big jump in GCSE results

    Omniya Coulson-Ali tore open her GCSE results envelope and, as she squealed with delight and relief, the anxious look on her face changed to a huge grin.

    Her five passes (including a grade 6 in English Literature, where Macbeth and Lord of the Flies were among her study texts) mean she will be able to stay on into the sixth form of the school she loves, Ark Burlington Danes Academy in White City.

    “I’m really, really happy,” she said, standing in the sunlight with her schoolmates. “I was worried, but I’ve passed everything and it means I can stay on in the sixth form.”

    Omniya’s eventual aim is to study law at university, with the next step being A-levels in English, RE and sociology. “I’ve always been interested in law,” she said.

    Why is she planning to stay on at her school, when she has so many choices of places to study at sixth-form level? “This is my school! I can’t imagine leaving,” she said.

    GCSE results

    Principal Paul Bhatia was overjoyed about this year’s crop of GCSE results, with a 10% increase on last year’s grades giving Burlington Danes the second highest increase of 34 academies in the Ark network and one of the largest increases in London.

    “The staff and kids were really focused on getting to the best destination,” he said. “We have strong careers paths to university and apprenticeships. Our students have gong to great destinations, ranging from degrees at Oxford University to degree apprenticeships at GCHQ and Capgemini!”

    He said staff had a strong moral purpose, and went the extra yard to support students. They even worked right through the Easter break with extra coaching and tuition. “We’re a community school, and it’s important to serve the community,” he said.

    Top performers

    Abdul Gallul, 16, of nearby Du Cane Road, is all set to do A-levels in maths, further maths and physics after a phenomenal set of results including top-grade 9s in chemistry, maths and physics.

    Even more impressively, in a year of harsher marking, he gained a total of 213 in maths – way above the 9-grade boundary level of 198.

    With three 8s, two 7s and two 6s on top, he was keeping his options open about where he would continue his studies. “I’ll think about it,” he said. “I might stay here; the sixth form has a good reputation, and I’ve really enjoyed my five years here. The teachers are very supportive.”

    He wanted to single out one in particular – maths teacher Thomas Magazie – who ‘pushed me to go further when I used to just do the bare minimum’, he said.

    Noreen Abdalla, 16, who lives a 10-minute stroll from school, is firmly on course for a career in medicine after gaining 10 GCSEs, including one 9, four 8s and three 7s.

    “I’m really happy about my science results,” she said, adding that she now planned to do biology, chemistry and maths at A-level.

    And Paul had encouraging words for all his GCSE students. “It is a stressful time for the kids; the exam cycle is stressful,” he said. “It’s why a lot of pastoral support is needed – making sure the students are supported in all their emotional challenges, and making sure they’re sleeping properly.”

    He looked on with satisfaction as the queue snaked out of the door in the adjoining building as students waited to sign on to advance their education at Ark Burlington Danes Academy sixth form.

    “Our sixth form is very strong, and we have the benefit of the whole Ark network as well,” he said, pointing out that at A-level, one in three students progress to Russell Group universities, with 50% of this year’s A-level graduates going on to unis in the top third of the league tables in the UK.

  • Fulham Cross Girls' School
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    Image caption: Image 5: Students and teachers at Fulham Cross Girls' School

    Fulham Cross pupils impress yet again with outstanding GCSE results

    There were smiles all around at Fulham Cross Girls’ School after the pupils achieved another outstanding set of GCSE results this year.

    One of the standout star performers was Ginna Al-Zubaidi who scooped an incredible eight grade 9s.

    Grades are awarded from 9 to 1. With 9, 8 and 7 ranging from what would have been A* to A in the old system, and 4 being similar to a C.

    Ginna, 16, who was nominated the school’s most academic student of 2019, will now go on to study A-level biology, chemistry and maths at Latymer Upper in Hammersmith.

    “I still can’t believe it,” said Ginna. “I was not expecting to get such an incredible set of results. My teachers have been amazing. They were there to support me through the tough times when I felt I couldn’t do it.”

    More joy

    There were more screams of joy as Noor Khan and Amal Mohamed Ali opened their envelopes.

    The classmates will be going to study their A-levels at Putney High School together after their terrific haul of grade 9s.

    Noor, 16, scored seven 9s and two 8s while Amal collected three 9s and four 8s.

    But it was a sleepless night for Noor ahead of the results day.

    She explained: “I couldn’t sleep last night as I waited for my results. All that hard work has finally paid off though and now I’m excited to go and study for my A-levels with my friend Amal at Putney High.” 

    Headteacher Denise Fox was delighted with her students’ results. “I’m so proud of all our students, teachers and parents after another fantastic set of results this year. It’s great to see our girls going on to the colleges and sixth forms of their choice to continue their studies,” she said.

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    Image caption: Image 6: Noor Khan (pictured left) with Amal Mohamed Ali from Fulham Cross Girls’ School

    Hot topics

    The school’s English department, which was shortlisted for the Times Educational Supplement’s English Team of the Year award, achieved an 80% pass rate (grades 5 and above) and 40% top grades (7 to 9).

    Meanwhile the RS (religious studies) team, achieved an 81% pass rate and 49% top grades.

    The hard work has not gone unnoticed as the head of RS, Courtney Hosp, has been shortlisted for the Pearson Secondary School Teacher of the Year. She will be hoping to add it to her prestigious London Secondary School Teacher of the Year for Raising Attainment accolade.

    There were also a strong set of pass grades across the sciences – 93% for physics, 90% for biology and 83% for chemistry.

  • Fulham College Boys' School
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    Image caption: Image 7: Fulham College Boys’ School student Rodin Akraminejad

    Fulham College Boys' pupils celebrate GCSE success

    There were scenes of joy at Fulham College Boys’ School as pupils opened their GCSE results envelopes on Thursday.

    The biggest smile was on the face of Muessar El Fadl Al Shaweesh, who just turned 16. After joining the school, based in Kingwood Road at the end of Year 10, he was on the road to getting no GCSEs.

    But with the support of staff at the Fulham school, Muessar went on to pass all his GCSEs. His impressive set of results included three grade 9s and two grade 8s.

    “When I joined the school, I was failing in all my exams subjects,” explained Muessar. “With the help of my teachers I was able to get back on track and I’m absolutely delighted with my results.”

    The Fulham College Boys' pupil will now go on to study A-level maths, further maths and history at St George’s Catholic School’s sixth form.

    All smiles

    More top grades popped out of the envelopes on the day after Rodin Akraminejad achieved the best results in the year with one 9, seven 8s and one 7.

    “My teachers were super supportive from the moment I started studying for my GCSEs to the final moment before stepping into the exam hall,” said Rodin.

    The 16-year-old will now head to the sixth form at Harris Westminster College to study maths, physics, chemistry and history.

    All this was achieved at the Fulham school despite the huge government funding cuts all local schools are having to deal with.

    “I’m delighted with all the hard work our students have put in this year with another set of great results,” said headteacher Sally Brooks.

    “Despite the huge funding cuts we’ve had to deal with, our teachers have gone the extra mile, worked late after school and on weekends to give our students the best chance to succeed.”

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    Image caption: Image 8: Fulham College Boys' School student Mohammed Abuqarnar
  • Hammersmith Academy
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    Image caption: Image 9: Pictured left to right are Samia, Shahad, Farah, Nandana, Headteacher Gary Kynaston, Fatima, Artora, Monika and Amarin from Hammersmith Aacdemy

    Huge thanks to teachers at Hammersmith Academy

    In Hammersmith Academy’s strongest set of GCSE results, student Artora Mehmetaj led the pack with six grade 9s and 5 grade 8s.

    “I’d like to thank all my teachers,” he said. “In particular Mr Saunders, Ms Silcocks and Ms Simonovski, who went out of their way to help and guide me while I was studying.”

    His classmate Shahad Arzouni also did well with five grade 9s, a grade 8, and 2 grade 7s. “I am so thankful to all the teachers,” he said. “I am so proud of myself and my friends who worked so hard for this.” He is remaining in the academy’s sixth form, targeting a career in medicine.

    Headteacher Gary Kynaston said that this year’s GCSEs continued the annual progress made by the academy since its first set of results four years ago.

    “Not only are our students able to succeed above the national average, they do so alongside the rigorous English Baccalaureate system,” he said.

    “This upholds the belief in our ethos that any student who enters through the gate can succeed, regardless of ability, if they apply themselves and embrace our professional standards.”

    Other individual successes by GCSE students in the academy in Cathnor Road, Hammersmith, included Johnny Tang getting four grade 9s, two 8s, a 7 and a 6. “I feel great! A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this and I gave 100%,” he said. “The academy has really made me a more confident person.”

    Nandana Nisha Ajith gained three 9s, two 8s and three 7s, having joined the academy late in key stage 4. “The teachers helped me catch up really quickly, and I was able to get the results I wanted,” she said. “I’m aiming to study maths and further maths in the sixth form.”

    In all, 74% of students achieved 9 to 4 grades at GCSE.

  • Hurlingham Academy

    Hurlingham Academy's big boost in English and maths scores

    With seven 9s and four 8s, Machi Otsuka was the toast of her classmates at Hurlingham Academy as the GCSE results were announced.

    The school in Peterborough Road, Fulham, announced that 78% of its students had achieved five or more good passes (grade 4 or above), including English and maths, while students achieving the top grades 7 to 9 in English and maths rose to 23% from 17% last year.

    Machi, who will now study maths, chemistry, German and biology at A-level, said: “I didn’t expect to do this well. I’ve been to schools in Germany and Japan, but this is the best one I’ve been to, with the most supportive teachers. I am so grateful.”

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    Image caption: Image 10: Machi Otsuka (pictured left) with Hurlingham Academy principal Leon Wilson

    Principal Leon Wilson described the academy’s Year 11s as ‘fantastic role models’ and said the results would act as inspiration for younger students.

    “As always, I would like to thank our excellent staff team, who work tirelessly to provide all the support, guidance and encouragement students need to achieve their best,” he said. “It is fantastic for us to be able to share in students’ celebrations today and see them all take their next steps with confidence.”

    Among other stand-out results was the achievement of Francesco Moscato, who gained five 9s, three 7s and three 6s.

    Meanwhile Hamza Gallo, who joined the academy at the beginning of Year 11, achieved three 9s, four 8s, one 7 and two 5s. “I’m so surprised; this is an incredible feeling,” he said. “Three 9s! Four 8s! The hard work was 100% worth it.”

    Angelica Shokor gained five 9s, four 8s and one 7; and Aisha Tahliil, five 9s, three 8s and one 5. She said: “I was worrying all last night, but now I am so relieved and so happy! I can’t wait to tell my history teacher that I got a 9!”

    Charis Leto gained two 9s, four 8s, three 7s and one 6; Sergio Martinez Lopez, two 9s, two 8s, four 7s and two 6s; and Mark Phesan, four 9s, one 8 and five 7s.

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    Image caption: Image 11: Robert (left) and Aisha from Hurlingham Academy
  • Phoenix Academy
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    Image caption: Image 12: Pictured left to right are Phoenix Academy students Ananta, Sucaad and Abdullah

    Phoenix Academy sees improved GCSE results again

    Another GCSE grade improvement at Phoenix Academy in Shepherds Bush has been welcomed by principal Thomas Phillips.

    “We are delighted that outcomes have improved again with 62% of our cohort achieving at least a grade 4 in both English and maths – up from 53% in 2018, and 39% in 2017,” he said, after students streamed in to collect their results papers.

    Among the outstanding achievers, Ananta Mia gained six grade 9s in maths, the sciences, French, geography and Italian.

    Her classmate Sucaad Hassan gained grade 9 in biology, chemistry and physics, with all his grades being 7 or above, while Mohammed Slimani also gained grade 7 or more across all his subjects.

    Abdullah Khan achieved 9 in biology, physics and maths; Iman Ahmed achieved a 9 in history; while Zohreh Andohkosh and Mohamed Ali gained results that were, on average, two grades above their target.

    Tamal Jurgiewicz, an RAF air cadet, achieved grades 9 to 4 across all his subjects.

    “I’d like to congratulate all students at Phoenix Academy,” said Thomas. “The school is on a rapid improvement journey, having been recently graded ‘good’ by Ofsted, and we’re excited to see this continue.”

  • The Bridge and Latimer AP academies

    Well-earned reward

    Hats off to the pupils at The Bridge and Latimer AP academies - 81% of learners gained accreditation at GCSEs (9 to 1) or their equivalent – and, most notably, five learners achieved grade 4 or above in English Language and Religious Education.

    The Bridge in Finlay Street, Fulham, and Latimer in Freston Road, Notting Hill, are both schools which provide education and intervention through Alternative Provision - supporting learners who are experiencing difficulty with or have been excluded from mainstream education. They are both part of the TBAP Multi-Academy Trust which support vulnerable and challenging young people. 

    Krishna Purbhoo, executive headteacher, TBAP West, said, “The TBAP West region continues to achieve successful outcomes for our learners. This is a well-earned reward for their hard work, dedication, support and commitment to learning.”

    At TBAP academies across all regions, 54% of Year 11 learners achieved five or more GCSEs (9 to 1) or equivalent (a 3% increase on 2018 results), compared to the latest available national average for AP schools of 12.3%. And at least one GCSE or equivalent was achieved by 93% of Year 11 learners, compared to the latest national average for AP of 57.7%.

    “Congratulations to all our learners for their hard work, resilience and perseverance, which has been rewarded with outcomes we are all incredibly proud of.”

  • West London Free School

    West London Free School pupils improve on GCSE results once again

    Year 11 pupils from the West London Free School produced another set of impressive GCSE exam results on Thursday.

    The grades were a huge improvement on last year’s outstanding results as 12.3% were grade 9s, 30% of grades were 9s and 8s and 51% of grades were at least a 7 - the equivalent to the old A grade.

    “Many congratulations go to all pupils and staff for their hard work, dedication and deserved successes,” said headteacher Clare Wagner.

    Twenty-one pupils gained a minimum of nine exclusively top grades, with one pupil achieving an astonishing 10 straight 9s.

    There was more good news from the school with an excellent English Baccalaureate (EBacc) pass rate of 69 per cent alongside good Attainment 8 scores.

    “I am extremely proud of our pupils’ achievements. They all worked extremely hard and fully deserve their outstanding results,” added the head of the school in King Street, Hammersmith.

  • Westside School

    Westside School pupils achieve best GCSE results ever

    The pupils at Westside School made history this year with the school’s best set of GCSE results ever.

    Headteacher Carol-Anne Alcock was delighted with the results and the achievement of her pupils. She said: “I am immensely proud to be the headteacher of Westside School and look forward to building on the school’s examination successes in the future.

    “I would like to thank staff who gave their time so willingly to support our students, many of whom, for a myriad of reasons, had huge gaps in their learning.”

    Some of the standout successes from this year’s results include:

    • 93% of students achieved GCSE grades in both maths and English, with a grade 8 achieved in maths; a grade 7 in English Literature; two grades 6 achieved in English Language Grades 7 and 6 in Citizenship
    • the Galena Road, Hammersmith school supports young people, not in mainstream secondary education, with a personalised curriculum.
    • a Distinction Star at level 2 BTEC Sport
    • a grade B in Portuguese.

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