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Local pupils overcome toughest two years ever with A-level grades delight

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Image captionImage 1: Pictured left to right are William Morris Sixth Form students Jessica Cywinska, Djoumana Zinet and Fatima Ahmed

Despite the great level of exam uncertainty, Covid lockdowns and challenges of online learning, local pupils have achieved impressive A-level results once again this year.

Sixth-formers across Hammersmith & Fulham celebrated on Tuesday – overcoming the daunting odds during the pandemic as they earned the grades needed to get into university or follow other career paths.

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Image caption: Image 2: Students from William Morris Sixth Form celebrating their A-level results

With the pandemic disrupting school life, this year’s grades have been based on a combination of coursework and mock exams.

All the schools in H&F have been affected by Covid with many classes forced to isolate and work from home if one person tested positive, leading Cllr Larry Culhane, H&F Cabinet Member for Children & Education, to praise students and school staff for coping so well in unprecedented times.

“This has been the toughest two years ever for our A-level students who have sacrificed so much to keep us safe during this pandemic. Their character has helped them overcome huge uncertainty with a great set of results across the borough. They have done us all proud,” said Cllr Culhane.

“It’s also a reflection of the dedication of teachers, school staff and parents who have kept pupils inspired and learning in the most turbulent of circumstances. Not everyone will have got the grades they were hoping for, but I know I speak for everyone in the borough when I say that just getting to the end of these two years is an achievement. This isn’t the end of the road, there are plenty of opportunities to try again or take a different path to pursue other opportunities, such as apprenticeships.”

Standout stars

Although H&F students traditionally collect their results in person from school, most received their results by email to maintain social distancing.

But that did not take the shine off for William Morris Sixth Form pupil, Fatima Ahmed, a young carer, who achieved three A*s in Biology, Chemistry and Maths as she goes on to study Medicine at university.

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Image caption: Image 3: Hammersmith Academy students

“I am so happy with my results – I can’t believe it,” said Fatima. “I am so glad I came to William Morris. It’s been the best sixth form for me.”

There were more reasons to celebrate at Hammersmith Academy too where Shahad Arzouni was the school’s top achiever scoring four A*s. Shahad will go on to study Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s College, University of Oxford.

Shahad said “I’m a bit shocked and surprised. I’m also quite relieved and so happy to have achieved what I aimed for. I want to thank all the staff who have done so much for us and provided the opportunities even in a pandemic. The teachers kept us on track and positively motivated, especially during the lockdown, and constantly checked in with us to see how we were doing.

“The support network here is second to none. It is a really positive end to my Hammersmith Academy journey. Our success really shows what the school has to offer and what can be achieved if you take all the opportunities offered.  A new path has opened up for me and I am excited to be moving to a new city and meeting new people.”

Read more about A-level results day at schools across H&F

  • Ark Burlington Danes Academy

    A fine set of results at Ark Burlington Danes Academy in White City included student Nerjess Alfellani landing a place at Oxford to study Geography.

    “I’m so happy with my results, and I can’t wait to start a new chapter in my life when I start my studies in Oxford in September,” she said, after opening her envelope to discover she’d achieved three A* grades, one A and a B.

    Nerjess has received the Ark Schools Reuben Oxbridge bursary, worth £22,500 over the course of her degree studies.

    The school put up banners congratulating students who turned up at the Wood Lane entrance to collect their results in person, even stringing a line of gold balloons across the envelope collection point reading: We Are So Proud Of You.

    Rumaysah Khan achieved 3 A*s in English Literature, Politics and Sociology, and is set to start a prestigious degree apprenticeship course with Eversheds Sutherland, where she will work alongside gaining an undergraduate degree.

    She has been hugely involved in student life during her time at Burlington Danes, having taken part in debating and the Realising Opportunities project. “My favourite years were in the 6th form,” she admitted.

    Merveille Samba opened his envelope to reveal D*, D*, D in his BTEC Professional Pathways business course; a triple distinction representing the culmination of seven years at Ark Burlington Danes.

    He will now continue his studies at Aston University, on the Business Management course, supported by a £9,000 bursary from Marshall Wace.

    A key member of several sports teams at the school, he is on the lookout for a boxing club to join in Freshers’ Week. “I never thought I’d make it this far,” he admitted.

    “I’m proud of what I’ve achieved and I’d like to thank all of the teachers that have supported me to get here, particularly my head of year, Ms Vasey.”

    Stella Traba has also received a life-changing bursary, and heads to Royal Holloway backed by the Aurum Finance fund, which offers £50,000 towards tuition fees and living costs, mentoring throughout her degree, and paid work experience placements to help boost her graduate prospects.

    Principal Paul Bhatia was delighted with the results achieved by Year 13. “It has been wonderful seeing our students secure such high grades and gain admission to the most competitive universities in the country,” he said.

    “This September, nearly half our students will be starting at a Russell Group university, including Oxford, Kings, Bristol, UCL, Imperial, Durham and the LSE. It’s testament to the hard work, resilience and ambition of our students, and their commitment to academic excellence.”

    He praised the teaching and support staff, and the pastoral team who worked so hard during a challenging year.

    “Their work has let our students focus on their learning, and achieve to their fullest potential. I am hugely proud of what our students and staff have achieved.”

  • Fulham Boys School

    The very first A-level results for Fulham Boys School reveal that 100 per cent of students achieved grades A* to D.

    Executive Headmaster Alun Ebenezer spoke of the students being on “an incredible journey with us since we opened in 2014, perhaps never more so than in the Covid-disrupted months of their sixth form”.

    A third of boys, at the school in Fulham Road, achieved all grades at A*- A, with 81 per cent achieving A*-B and 97 per cent achieving A*-C.

    The standout pair of students this year are Benny Rocys and Guy van Dijken, who will both now go on to study Computer Science at King’s College, London. Benny achieved four straight A* grades in Maths, Further Maths, Computer Science and Physics, with Guy a whisker behind with three A*s in Maths, Physics and Computer Science and one A in Further Maths.

    “I thank our staff for going above and beyond in steering the students through, and applaud everyone for achieving such impressive results in such extraordinary times,” added Mr Ebenezer.

    Head of Sixth Form Elisabeth Igbokwe added: “It’s a pleasure to see hard work pay off – both for the students and staff. It’s been a turbulent year and a half, but our first sixth-formers leave us with a genuine record of success.”

    A-level students will now be taking up places at 15 different universities including Bristol, Sussex, Westminster, Exeter, Brighton and Glasgow.

    Sambaz Unal is going on to study Economics at Warwick after securing two A* grades and one A, while Theo Barton – with identical results – will be taking Civil Engineering at Manchester while Max Wilson is going to study Ancient History at Exeter after he received ab A* in History and two As in Maths and RE.

  • Fulham Cross Sixth Form
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    Image caption: Image 4: Kyle Beck from Fulham Cross Sixth Form

    Head of School at Fulham Cross Academy, Alan Jones, was delighted with his pupils’ results despite the difficulties brought on by the ongoing pandemic.

    “Many students achieved the highest grades possible in their chosen subjects, and we could not be prouder of them. Fulham Cross Academy students have managed the fractious nature of education over the past 18 months impeccably and we are so glad that they can move forward with their future education or employment seamlessly,” he said.

    Among the notable high achievers were Mohammed Miah, Erin Thornton, and Kyle Beck.

    Mohammed achieved DDM in his Level 3 BTEC extended diploma in Sport and will attend St Mary’s to study Sport Performance Analysis.

    Erin received D*D* in her Level 3 BTEC in Health and Social Care.

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    Image caption: Image 5: Erin Thornton from Fulham Cross Sixth Form

    “My time at Fulham Cross Sixth Form has been a great experience for me as I struggled at the beginning. But as time passed I managed to get the best outcome,” said Erin.

    While Kyle received DMM and will begin a project management apprenticeship degree with Wilmott Dixon.

    “Thank you to all of the teachers who helped and supported me throughout my two years here,” added Kyle.

    “My time at Fulham Cross Sixth Form has been very helpful in pushing me further to achieve my dreams. The teachers are the best I have ever had and would always take time to make sure I understood everything. I have made lots of memories here and will always remember the time I have had here.”

    Other notable successes include Cherene Ahmed who achieved D*D*D* in her Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport.

    Michael McDermott, Assistant Head Teacher leading on Sixth Form, was extremely happy with the results of our students and said, “The disruption and uncertainty of the past two years have been extremely challenging for our Sixth Form community. We are proud of the commitment and hard work from both students and staff to ensure that progress and achievement are the best they can be. This is a fantastic achievement.”

    “Fulham Cross Sixth Form has also been going through significant changes in courses and organisation over the last year, and students have adapted to these challenges well. We look forward to a broader curriculum offer for the coming year as our first A level cohorts complete their courses.”

  • Hammersmith Academy

    Once again, Hammersmith Academy students have shone at their A-levels with a string of impressive results.

    Shahad Arzouni was the top achiever at the co-ed secondary school in Cathnor Road, gaining four A* grades.

    Shahad will now take up a place studying Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s College, Oxford. “I’m a bit shocked and surprised, but I’m also quite relieved and so happy to have achieved what I aimed for,” she said, thanking the staff for their hard work during the pandemic. “The teachers kept us on track and positively motivated during lockdown.

    “It really shows what the Academy has to offer, and what can be achieved if you take all the opportunities offered.”

    A trio of A* grades means Omid Ashoorzada has secured his place to study Maths with Finance & Accounting at Queen Mary, London.

    “I am very, very happy,” he said. “I put a lot of work into all the tests and I know my parents are really proud of my results.”

    Similar results have guaranteed a place at LSE for Artora Mehmetaj, who will study Politics & Economics.

    “I’ve been at Hammersmith Academy from Year 7, and I’ve always had support whenever I’ve needed help with anything,” she said.

    “The teachers went out their way to help all of us.”

    Fahmeena Aziz also secured three A* grades, securing a place at St George’s to study Medicine.

    “My family and I are so happy, over the moon! It’s an amazing feeling, it makes you feel like you can do anything,” she said.

    Also studying Medicine – at King’s and UCL respectively – are twins Farah and Fatima Elmi.

    Farah, who achieved three A* grades, said: “It’s amazing that our hard work has paid off. This year has been hard and stressful, and there was a lot of uncertainty, but we are both so happy with the support that we got throughout our time at the Academy.”

    Sister Fatima added: “It has been a rollercoaster of emotions these last few weeks, but I’m super proud that Farah and I are going to study medicine. I’m looking forward to a new chapter and excited to be sharing this experience with my sister.”

    Meanwhile student Arian Najafi will also be going to UCL to study Chemistry, thanks to an A and a pair of A*s, and said: “I’m looking forward to the independence that university will bring.”

    Ahmed Jama accomplished two Distinction* in BTec, gaining a place to study Sport & Exercise Science at St Mary’s University, Twickenham.

    “I’m so pleased to get in to my top choice,” he said, praising the teachers for their support.

    Proud headteacher Gary Kynaston said that the results were extra special as it was the second year of academic disruption for the sixth-formers.

    “What is different this year is that teachers have been able to make the determination in grades, submitting these to the exam boards,” he said.

    “Students have been able to demonstrate their ability in the form of tests and pieces of assessed work.”

    The Academy has supported students via a digital equality initiative, supplying every student with a laptop to use at home. 

    “We have seen the largest number of students go on to study medicine, and the continuation of Hammersmith Academy students studying at Oxbridge. I wish them every success,” he said.

  • Lady Margaret School

    It has been another remarkable A-level season for Year 13 students at Lady Margaret School, Parsons Green, with 24 girls gaining at least three A or A* grades.

    “These results reflect their range of talents, their focus on studying and their hard work through a great deal of uncertainty and change,” said proud headteacher Elisabeth Stevenson.

    With the cancellation of public exams, the results were awarded based on assessments at school, with robust procedures in place to ensure all grades were evidence-based.

    “Students have experienced a great deal of disruption to their studies over the last two years, with periods of lockdown in Years 12 and 13 because of Covid-19,” said the head.

    “Despite the changes to A-Level assessment, our students should feel very proud of their grades. All the work they have done in the sixth form here at Lady Margaret School will ensure that they are ready for studying at university level this autumn.”

    There were ten A* grades in English, eight in History, nine in Maths, three in Economics and five in History.

    In Economics, English Literature, Fine Art, French, History of Art, Further Mathematics, Music, Physics, Politics, Religious Studies and Spanish no student attained below a C grade.

    Next month girls will start courses at a multitude of universities including: Medicine (Nottingham), Physics with Theoretical Physics (Manchester), Mathematics (Bath), Philosophy and Theological Studies (St Andrews), Natural Sciences (Cambridge), Architecture (Nottingham), English Language and Literature (Oxford), Sports Management and Development (Portsmouth), Law and Criminology (York), English Literature with Creative Writing (East Anglia), History of Art (Manchester), Law and Korean (SOAS, University of London), Genetics (Glasgow), Sociology (LSE), History (Oxford), Physics and Philosophy (Oxford).

    In addition, six girls will be starting Art Foundation courses.

    “Many congratulations to all of our Year 13 students,” said Elisabeth Stevenson. “These results are a testament to their commitment to their studies, and to the dedication of our staff team. We wish everyone well as they begin a new stage of their education.”

  • West London Free School

    Three sixth-formers from West London Free School in King Street, Hammersmith, have gained Oxbridge places; an achievement hailed by the joint headteachers as a triumph.

    Luke Sitaraman and Edward Chesterman will study Music at Oxford, and Max Bailey will be studying Natural Sciences at Cambridge.

    Luke, who will be studying Music at St Peter’s College, Oxford, said: “The brilliant teachers at West London Free supported me through the many expected, and unexpected, challenges of the past two years. Their support both in academics and university application was unparalleled, allowing me to achieve top marks and secure my place.”

    Robert Peal and Ben McLaughlin, the joint heads, said that the Year 13 pupils had had an extremely challenging two years of sixth-form study.

    In a shared statement they added: “They have triumphed in this adversity through their commitment and perseverance, and we offer them all our very best wishes for the next stages in their education and careers, and hope that they retain fond memories of their experiences at the West London Free School.”

    Other highlights of A-level results day for West London include four students going on to study Medicine at Edinburgh, Leeds, King’s College London and Anglia Ruskin.

    Four students will be studying modern languages, seven are to study Computer Science, while half a dozen will embark on Art Foundation years.

    Five sixth-formers will be heading to international destinations including McGill University (Canada), Tufts University (USA), and the National Taiwan University.

    The three most popular universities for WLFS students are Exeter and Leeds, with eight students each, and Bristol with seven, while the most popular degree subject is History.

    Ruhama Mulugeta, who will study Liberal Arts at Tufts in the USA, via the Sutton Trust partnership programme, said: “West London Free School sixth form has provided me with the highest quality education as well as the best support system, and I’ve managed to gain a fully funded scholarship to an American university.”

    Alexander Gardner, who will study Zoology at Bristol, praised the teachers for what he described as a “shock result”, while Saffron Gill, who will be doing Geography at Durham, added: “I did much better than expected thanks to the amazing help of my teachers who supported me through the whole two-year process. I wouldn’t have wanted to do it anywhere else!”

  • William Morris Sixth Form

    William Morris Sixth Form Principal Mary Berrisford could not have been prouder of her students’ excellent exam results this year following the many challenges caused by the Covid pandemic.

    This year’s pupils had their entire sixth form experience shaped by lockdowns and online learning. It also meant missing out on proms, international trips, and whole sixth form events, such as fun runs and multicultural days, which are an exciting part of sixth form life at the school in St Dunstan’s Road.

    But the students did not let that get in the way of their studies as 54 per cent of the students at the sixth form attained the top grades of A* to B and  84 per cent achieved A* to C.

    Fatima Ahmed, a young carer, who achieved three A*s in Biology, Chemistry and Maths is going to study Medicine at university.

    “I am so happy with my results – I can’t believe it. I am so glad I came to William Morris. It’s been the best sixth form for me.”

    Jessica Cywinska went on to receive one A* and two As in Media Studies, Film Studies and Photography. She will go on to study Photography at Bournemouth University.

    “The teachers at William Morris Sixth Form have been amazing and it’s been wonderful being here. I can’t believe I’ve done as well as I have. I am so, so happy. And just want to thank everyone here.”

    Meanwhile Djoumana Zinet got an A* in Criminology and Distinction* Distinction* in her Double Science BTEC which means she will be going to study Midwifery at Kingston University.

    Principal Mary Berrisford said, “We are so proud of our students who have achieved so much, despite the challenges of the past 2 years. They have shown resilience and determination to learn and achieve and will be ultimately be empowered by their extraordinary accomplishments.”

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