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A-level success stories in Waltham Forest

More students than ever before gained A-level qualifications from Waltham Forest’s sixth forms and colleges this week.

Thousands of Waltham Forest students celebrated their A-level success yesterday after their exam results were finally revealed. In total, 1,795 young people achieved an A-level qualification – an increase of 38 per cent compared to 2013/14.

During a visit to Heathcote School and Science College, in Normanton Park, Chingford, on results day (13 August), Cllr Mark Rusling, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, congratulated hard-working students as they found out their results.

Head Boy Jake Matthews-Hubbard was all smiles after discovering he had picked up two A*s in maths and economics and three As in history, biology and further maths A-levels. His achievements were all the more remarkable given that he chose to study further maths in his spare time. The 18-year-old will now study economics at LSE.

He said: “I was shocked – I did not expect to get in, it still hasn’t hit home. My parents are so proud. I called my mum and said I start there in just three weeks – and she started crying.”

Fellow Heathcote students, Gemma Bowers, 19, and Benedict Osei-Owusu, 18, were also reaping the rewards of their hard work.

Chingford resident Gemma achieved an A in accounting, a B in business studies and a C in ICT – earning herself a coveted apprenticeship at Ernst & Young, through which she hopes to become a chartered accountant.

She said: “University just did not appeal to me and so I looked at other paths to take. I was so shocked when I got in – I feel good, really good, and my parents were so happy.”

Despite only coming to the UK from Ghana three years ago, Benedict has already caught up on years-worth of lessons, learnt English, and taken A-levels in maths, chemistry, further maths and biology – bagging an A* and three As respectively. As reward for his staggering achievements, Benedict has secured a place at The University of Manchester to study dentistry.

He said: “I’m pretty pleased. It’s been challenging but I’m used to it – I’m willing and determined to succeed.”

Cllr Rusling said: “There have been many truly inspirational success stories from sixth forms and colleges across Waltham Forest, which is testament to our dedicated students and the standard of education available.

“Huge congratulations must go to all of the borough’s hard-working students and passionate teachers for their efforts. As ever though, the aim now is for results to improve next year.”

Provisional results from Heathcote – the only local authority maintained sixth form – show that for the third year running 100 per cent of students achieved at least one A Level at grade A* to E. 

Collated provisional results for the borough’s other community sixth forms and further education colleges – Chingford Foundation School, Highams Park School, Holy Family Catholic School, Leyton Sixth Form College, Sir George Monoux College and Walthamstow Academy – show a slight decrease in students achieving at least one A* to E A-level to 95 per cent.

Results received so far by the Council for vocational studies – which includes subjects like catering & hospitality, sport and engineering – revealed Heathcote once again maintained 100 per cent of pupils achieving three substantial vocational qualifications, while Highams Park School saw the percentage of students achieving two substantial vocational qualifications leap from 88 per cent to 98 per cent.

In total, there was a 65 per cent increase in the number of students taking vocational studies.

Cllr Rusling continued: “We’re still awaiting some results but on the whole they’ve been stable at the majority of Waltham Forest’s sixth forms and colleges – so the challenge now for schools is to try and improve next year. 

“We want every young person in the borough to reach their full potential and so will continue working with education providers and doing all we can to help ensure students have the support they need to do so.”

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