Shepherd's Bush Schools GCSE Results Buck National Trend

Year 11 pupils had to cope with tougher marking standards

Some of the star performers at Hammersmith Academy
Some of the star performers at Hammersmith Academy

August 28, 2023

There was a great deal of celebration this Thursday (24 August) in schools across the Shepherd's Bush area as students received their GCSE grades.

It has been made even harder to get the top grades this year after Ofqual, the exams watchdog for England, announced it was bringing in tougher marking following the increased number of high grades awarded during the Covid pandemic.

Nevertheless, there were a significant number of outstanding performances at local schools in both GCSEs and A Level for which results were released a week earlier.

Ark Burlington Danes Year 11 students bucked the national trend by achieving significantly higher outcomes than in 2019.

Compared to the pre-Covid year, there was a 14 percentage point increase in students achieving a grade 5+ in both English and Maths, and a 7 percentage point increase in students achieving a 4+. Performance by the school’s highest achievers also improved, with students gaining grade 7s in both English and Maths increasing by 3 percentage points. Students achieved well in EBacc subjects with a 7 percentage point increase in students achieving 4+ in all EBacc subjects.

Jasmin, achieved 4 grade 9s, 4 grade 8s and 1 grade 7. She says, “I’m so proud of myself and my peers; I wouldn’t have been able to do it without our fabulous teachers. It sounds cliché but they were the reason I did so well.”

Fatima, achieved 9 grade 9s and 1 grade 8. She said, “Thank you to my family, my teachers and my friends. This wouldn’t have been possible without them!”

Fatima of Ark Burlington Danes managed 9 grade 9s
Fatima of Ark Burlington Danes managed 9 grade 9s

Serena, achieved 4 grade 9s, 5 grade 8s and 2 grade 7s. She said, “Thank you to all my teachers and peers for my results!”

Jordan, achieved 2 grade 9s, 4 grade 8s, 2 grade 7s and 2 grade 6s. He said, “Thank you to the supporting staff that allowed me to achieve well.”

Yasmin, achieved 4 grade 9s, 2 grade 8s and 4 grade 7s. She said, “My grades wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for my family and my teachers.”

Emmanuel achieved 2 grade 9s, 4 grade 8s, 2 grade 7s and 2 grade 6s. He said, “Confidence is key when you’re under pressure.”

Ark Burlington Danes Principal, David Carr said, “We are so proud of the achievements our young people at BDA. While GCSE results nationally have declined, students at BDA have done brilliantly. This is due to the hard work of students and staff who have modelled our values of Aim High, Be Brave, Be Kind and Keep Learning every single day. These results also demonstrate the rapid improvements we are making to ensure that BDA and our students ‘are the ones to make our world a better place’.

“We couldn’t be more excited to be continuing working with our students next year as they start their A levels with us.”

At Hammersmith Academy seventy-eight per cent of marks achieved by the Year 11s were a 4 or above, and 30 per cent were marked as a 7 and above.

61 per cent of students who achieved a 5 or higher in Maths and the 74 per cent of pupils who earnt a 5 or higher in English.

Ayushi Fernando was the Academy’s top performer, achieving nine grade 9s.

“Prior to opening my email, I was feeling nervous but hopeful,” she said. “When I saw my results, I was overjoyed and very relieved. I am still slightly in disbelief but am looking forward to continuing my education at Sixth Form.”

Classmate Anisha Ali, who earned seven 9s and three grade 8s, said, "When I opened my results, I felt super proud of myself. It’s a great feeling to know that my hard work over the last few years has been worth it. I am incredibly grateful to all of my teachers and friends who were always there to give me advice and help."

Zoe Kemp achieved eight 9s and two 8s. She’s off to celebrate at Reading Festival, adding, “I had to double check my name and, when it sunk in, I was so happy. I was worried about my English, so I think I did every past paper possible. The teachers never complained about the extra work.”

Also sporting a collection of high grades is Leo Marshallsay who received four 9s and five 8s.

“Seeing the grades was a great relief, as the nerves and uncertainty had been building up,” he said. “The support in lessons from my teachers was incredible. I am looking forward to focusing on a smaller range of subjects that I enjoy as a Sixth Form student.”

Ayushi Mehra also achieved high grades, with seven 9s and three 8s.

Georgia Marshallsay, who received four 9s, three 8s and two 7s, said, “When I saw my first results, I felt very excited because I could finally see that my hard work had paid off. I am really excited to be taking my favourite subjects and doing more of what I love doing most. I recommend that if you don't know exactly what you want to do you pick what you love most.”

Headteacher, Gary Kynaston said: “Congratulations to Year 11 on such a strong set of GCSE results. Not only were the results impressive as a whole, there were outstanding individual successes. This is all the more pleasing given the reduced number of top grades nationally this year.

“I wish to thank all our staff in their efforts in supporting the students to such heights. Students should undoubtedly be proud of their own achievements and we look forward to seeing many of them return to the Academy as fully fledged Sixth Form students.”

Pupils at Phoenix Academy in Shepherd’s Bush celebrated achieving the school’s best ever GCSE results.

One star student, Nawal Mohamed, was thrilled to have achieved all 9s in her GCSEs.

She is excited to be staying on at Phoenix Academy to join the Sixth Form to study A-Levels alongside her close friend Radwan Askar.

Radwan was also a standout achiever, receiving one 8 and seven 9s in his GCSEs. “I’m incredibly proud of myself,” he said.

Fiza Ahmed was pleased to have achieved the grades she needs to go on to study for her A-Levels in Psychology, Sociology and Politics.

Her classmate, Irma Mohamed, beamed as she explained, “I didn’t sleep all night. I’m really happy with my results, and I can’t stop smiling.”

After getting his results, student Amer Halmstrand, said: “I’m happy with my results because they’ll enable me to do the subjects I want at A-Levels.”

Other outstanding performances include pupils Hassan, Abdirahman, Josh, Armando, Farah, Joshan, Ridwan, Salma, Agnes, Hanad and Victoria who all achieved grades 7-9 across their subjects.

Principal, Tony MacDowell, was full of praise for the students. He said, “There were some absolutely phenomenal results across a range of subject. It’s a testament to their hard work, commitment and perseverance over the past two years,” he said.

“We are immensely proud of all the work and achievements of our students. Our teachers and students have worked tirelessly this year to achieve outstanding outcomes which allow students to progress onto further education and study. We look forward to welcoming students into Phoenix Sixth Form at the start of the new academic year and look forward to seeing what they will achieve in the future.”

West London Free School (WLFS) also bucked the national trend with 48% of all GCSE entries graded 7 to 9 and nine pupils gaining straight 8s and 9s. 83% of pupils gained a 4 or above in both English and Maths and half of all pupils gained a 5 or above in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) combination of subjects.

Overall, these results are comparable with those achieved in both 2022 and 2019..

Ben McLaughlin and Robert Peal, Joint Headteachers at the WLFS, said, ‘We are thrilled with Year 11s efforts this year. They have shown enormous resilience over the past years of highly-interrupted schooling, and been rewarded by a fantastic set of GCSE results. They worked incredibly hard throughout the year and should be proud of these grades. A big thank you to the wonderful staff at WLFS for the support they have shown these pupils.’

At Hammersmith & Fulham College, part of West London College, in Gliddon Road one of the standout stars was Shreyas Vartia, 16, who achieved a 9 and 8 in Double Science, 9 in Maths, 8 in RE, 7 in Sociology and 6 in English.

Shreyas’ good friend, Chris Dsouza, also earned a good set of results with an 8 and 7 in Double Science, 7 in RE, 6 in Maths, 6 in Sociology and 4 in English. She wants to work in medicine one day.

Their classmate, Kira Dunbar, was home-schooled for most of her secondary education. When she reached Year 11, she joined Hammersmith & Fulham College.

Kira achieved two 7s in Double Science, 6 in Sociology, 6 in English, 6 in Maths and 5 in RE.

“My teachers really helped me to adjust to college as when I first came here it was a little overwhelming,” explained Kira.

Fellow pupil, Khloe Datig, 17, took her GCSEs alongside studying for her Health and Social Care Diploma Level 1.

“I was aiming for Grade 4 in English and Maths, and I achieved Grade 7 in both,” said Khloe, who is Head of Education in the West London College Students’ Union.

“This is fantastic news for me because it means that I can probably progress straight to Health and Social Care Level 3.”

She plans to study Nursing at university.

Aiesha Mechure, 17, is on the same course and wants to become a nurse too. She is the West London College Student Union Deputy Head of Education and works alongside Khloe. She achieved a grade 5 in GCSE Maths and 6 in English.

“I was so excited to pass my English and Maths GCSEs. Now I can spend time focusing on my other subjects,” she added.

Oleksandr Vengeruk, 17, and Viktoriia Tokan, 17, both from Ukraine, study ICT Level 2 at Hammersmith & Fulham College.

While they didn’t like maths in Ukraine, they both achieved grade 6 in their GCSE Maths exams.

Both students plan to go to university to study Computer Science. Oleksandr wants to work in cyber security, and Viktoriia wants to become a computer programmer.

Students at Hammersmith & Fulham College with their results

Deputy Principal, James Taylor, said: “We are really thrilled for our students who have achieved so well in their GCSE grades this year, which comes from a lot of hard work and commitment by our learners and their teachers.”

At Latymer Upper School 93% of all grades are 7-9 (equivalent to A*/A), more than half (55%) of all grades are 9s (high A*) and 25 pupils achieved ten or more grade 9s which the school describes as its best performance in ‘normal’ times.

“Congratulations to all of our students in Year 11, who have done so well this year,” said Ian Emerson, Deputy Head, Academic. “These remarkable GCSE results follow on from an excellent set of A Level results last week and complete an incredible year for our School. My thanks to colleagues across all academic departments and pastoral teams and our Academic Mentoring Department, all of whom worked closely to deliver an astonishing level of holistic support and care for our students.”

Students have achieved this academic excellence whilst also enjoying success in sport, music, drama and charitable works. For example:

• Musician Luke secured a remarkable 12 straight grade 9s (A*)
• Hockey 1st XI player, Phoebe also got straight grade 9s
• Charlie topped off a year of rowing success with seven grade 9s and three 8s
• Drama Scholarship holder, Paddy achieved nine grade 9s and one 8
• As well as running half marathons to raise thousands of pounds for their chosen charities, Julia and Sidd achieved outstanding grades (14 grade 9s and four 8s between them)

Head, Su Wijeratna said, “I’m absolutely thrilled for our students and their parents. I applaud them for their tenacity and dedication to their studies during such an unprecedented period. They have truly managed to make the most of their time at Latymer, excelling not just academically, but also across the many co-curricular activities on offer here. I congratulate them all on these excellent results and look forward to seeing them thrive in Sixth Form.

"I would also like to thank our incredible staff who have devoted themselves to providing outstanding pastoral support as well as inspirational and dedicated teaching. The hard work and dedication of our students and staff has culminated in these excellent results - the best in ‘normal times’ the School has ever had.”

Other top performers included The Fulham Boys School students Maxim Subbotsky, who earned nine grade 9s, two 8s and one 6, and Jadiael Yared who walked away with six 9s, two 8s, and three 7s.

Over at Fulham Cross Academy in Kingwood Road, one of the standout performers was Vitali, who only arrived at the school – and in the UK – last year, having moved from his native Ukraine in 2022.

He received a strong set of results, including an 8 in Maths, and a 7 and 8 in Combined Science. He was particularly proud of his achievements in English Literature and Language, as it is not his first language.

“It was very difficult and very hard to get used to everything but the school staff and teachers helped me a lot,” said Vitali. “I want to say I’m really grateful for them for these grades because without them I wouldn’t have done it.”

Vitali will go on the study at the school’s Sixth Form in September.

“A huge well done to everyone who took their GCSEs this year,” said Cllr Ben Coleman, Deputy Leader of H&F Council.

“And massive thanks to the committed teachers and parents who have supported our borough’s young people to fulfil their potential. It’s a proud time for everyone.”

Across England, Wales and Northern Ireland overall grades were down with 68.2% of all grades marked at grades 4/C and above. This has fallen mainly due to tougher marking standard in England. The results show that the London area is outperforming the rest of the country with a growing north/south divide developing.

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