Saturday, November 27, 2021
HomeNewsEducationRecord breaking A stars for Southwark students

Record breaking A stars for Southwark students

Southwark’s star students were beaming after their A-level results showed they had bettered the national average.

The borough’s bright sparks also outshone last year’s impressive record with 78.2 perecent of pupils achieving grades A* to C, up from 76.2 percent in 2014.

The overall pass rate of students achieving A* to E grades also rose to 99.5 percent this year, higher than the national average of 98.1 percent.

Many schools reported that all of their university candidates had secured either their first or second choice places.

Cllr Victoria Mills, Southwark’s cabinet member for children and schools said: “Congratulations to all this year’s A Level students on their fantastic results. It is great to see their hard work has paid off and I wish them the best of luck in whatever they choose to do next.”

“We have been working hard with schools to ensure young people have the best support possible to achieve their potential. Today should be a stepping stone for our young people to go on to university, an apprenticeship or a great job.

For those unsure of their next step or finding it difficult in a tough economic climate, our youth guarantee means that from this year all school leavers should be able to secure a job, work experience or a place for further study.”

To find out more about the youth guarantee visit

Eighty per cent make the grade at Camberwell school

“Well done and don’t let anyone tell you that A-levels are easier than they used to be!” – Headteacher Serge Cefai speaking to his students



Eighty per cent make the grade at Camberwell school

“Well done and don’t let anyone tell you that A-levels are easier than they used to be!” – Headteacher Serge Cefai speaking to his students

Sacred Heart pupils
Sacred Heart pupils

One mother got twice the good news last week when her twin sons both got top A-level results, securing them internships in the City and places at University.

Raphael and Fabrio Marinello were both surprised by the four A*s, an A and two Bs they got between them when they went to collect their results from Sacred Heart Sixth Form on Thursday morning.

With a gap year internship set up at Schroders asset management firm before he starts his Politics and Economics degree, Raphael is well on his way to a high-flying career and confesses he even has his eye on the top job. “Everyone wants to be prime minister,” he said, adding that top of the agenda if he were in charge would be making sure kids from disadvantaged backgrounds had the same opportunity as those born with a silver spoon in their mouth.

Twin brother Fabrio said it was “a weight off my shoulders” to get his results and know his gap year placement at Accenture (international management consultancy firm) was secure, before he goes on to also study Politics and Economics at Bath University.

With both boys on the path to success, Raphael said their mum was “very happy and really proud.”

Brayan Bernal-Gil, 19, took the difficult decision to come back to school after trying to make it as a footballer. A year behind everyone else, he knew he would have to work twice has hard to catch up.

His hard work paid off last week when he got an A*, two As and a B securing a place at Birmingham University to study International Business.

“I just wanted to pick a degree that would open doors for me,” he said. “I’m the first person in my family to go to University so they’re really proud of me.”

Headteacher, Serge Cefai said the overall results for the school were “looking great” with 80 percent of students achieving grades C or above.

“I’m really pleased some of our kids have got fantastic offers at top universities,” he said, keen that people see beyond the fact that many of Sacred Heart’s students come from poverty-stricken pockets of Camberwell and Peckham.  “I want everyone to understand that our kids can do it,” he said.

To his students he said: “Well done and don’t let anyone tell you that A-levels are easier than they used to be!”

Head of Year thirteen, Mrs Sparkes, said: “I am so proud of the students with 60 percent of them achieving their first choice university. I look forward to seeing how they get on with their future endeavours.”



Despite tragedy Cheriesse is achieving top marks
Cheriesse with her impressive results

When her father died unexpectedly of a heart attack in March, Cheriesse Bema-Kwakye’s studies were the last thing on her mind.

With the support of her teachers at Sacred Heart, though, she has managed to achieve two As and a B in the first year of her A-levels and says “ the only way is up” as she prepares to get the grades to go to a top university next year.

“I don’t know what would have happened to me if I didn’t go to this school,” said the 18-year-old, who is passionate about her Geography studies. “I just love Geography. I now I sound like a geek but to think that is what I could do for a job is amazing,” she said.

“The teachers here – it goes beyond work for them –  they give everything to their students,” she added.

Cheriesse’s mother suffered a stroke last year so when her father passed away in March she said she just “shut off.”

“I was numb. I went into school the next day. It was a huge struggle but the teachers let the mourning run its course,” she said.

When she saw her results on Thursday morning and saw all her hard work had paid off, she started crying, and so did her teacher, then she called her mum and she started crying.

“It was absolutely phenomenal. I’ve worked so hard this year but it’s really paid off.

“Nobody in my family has gone to university before. I’m going got change the game for my family so my mum’s really proud. I’m on top of the world!”

If Cheriesse can get an A* and two As next year she is hoping to study Human Geography at a Russell group University.

He learnt English aged nine, now Isa is now on his way to study medicine

Isa Mohammed
Isa Mohammed

A bright spark student who only learnt to speak English at nine-years-old, has just achieved an A and two Bs at A-level.

Somalian-born Isa Mohammed is going to fulfil his dream of studying medicine after he got an A in Maths and two Bs in Biology and Chemistry last week.

“From day one I have always dreamed of studying medicine and I couldn’t be happier that now I get to do that,” he said.

Isa is being joined at Southhampton Univesity by his fellow Walworth Academy pupil, Sanmi Makanjuola, who achieved two As in Maths and Biology and a B in Chemistry.

“It just goes to show that hard work pays off – mine did,” he said.

Walworth Academy Principal, Yvonne Powell, was delighted to see the number of students at the Ark chain school achieving at least three A* to B grades had doubled since last year.

“These results are a huge testament to the hard work and high expectations of all of our students and teachers,” she said. “Our results have been improving year on year and we’re more determined than ever to enable our students to continue on to some of the best universities in the country.”


A small sixth form, but with massive results

St Olaves and St Saviours A Levels Larise Cummings Emily Wong Samantha Hunter Fraciska Howarth Dana Nurse

Students at St Saviour’s and St Olave’s didn’t fail a single A Level exam this year, an “outstanding” achievement for the all-girls school.

Five students received all A* or A grades, while 50% of total results were at least Bs – the fourth year in a row that the school recorded this milestone.

Samantha Hunter, who received two A*s and two As, will now study physics at Imperial College London.

She said: “I wasn’t feeling too nervous until the last week or so. I got up at 6.30am and was just refreshing the website, but now that I’ve got it I can’t believe it!”

Francisca Howarth also managed to excel with A*AA, despite spending some time out of school this year, while Emily Wong, Magdalene Kasshun, Larise Cummings and Dana Nurse all received all A* or A grades.

Head teacher Catherine May said: “I am delighted with these results. They reflect the hard work of the girls and their teachers as well as the support of their families.  We have girls going to the best universities and into some excellent opportunities in the world of work.

“I am proud that, in a relatively small 6th Form, girls have succeeded in an impressive range of academic subjects from Further Maths to Drama and from Modern Languages to Psychology.  I am confident that they have, in addition to strong qualifications, the personal skills and qualities to make a difference in the world. I wish them every success.”


JAGS girls have big brains but even bigger hearts

Alice Guillaume (second from left) with fellow pupils collecting over a tonne for local foodbanks
Alice Guillaume (second from left) with fellow pupils collecting over a tonne for local foodbanks

A star student has proven she has a first class brain as well as a heart of gold after she achieved four A*s at A-level last week after winning a community award for supporting local foodbanks.

Thanks to her outstanding academic record, James Allen’s Girls’ School pupil, Alice Guillaume, is now going on to study Geography at Cambridge.

Earlier this year the former Goodrich Primary pupil galvanised the whole school into collecting over a tonne of food in just four weeks for local foodbanks, for which she was awarded the Southwark Food Bank Outstanding Contribution Award.

Alice is not the only shining star at JAGs as a total of eleven girls succeeded in getting three A*s and 77 percent of students achieved grades A* to B.

The news of the results especially delighted head teacher, Marion Gibbs, CBE, who is retiring at the end of the month after 21 years in post.

“The girls and their teachers once again deserve huge congratulations,” she said.

“Our Sixth Form girls have not only enjoyed their studies and worked hard for their examinations, but they have also given a huge amount through their service to the wider community.  We are very proud of them.”


JAGS Head now plans turning her marking pen to writing novels

Marion Gibbs
Marion Gibbs

Years after she could have taken retirement, a head teacher who has worked 90 hours a week for the last 21 years is finally “ready to relax.”

Head teacher at James Allen’s Girls’ School for a generation, Marion Gibbs has been in teaching for more than 40 years and is now “ready to have a wonderful retirement.”

Speaking to the News, Marion said her proudest achievements at JAGs have been those which have connected the school and its students with the wider community.

In 2012 she received a CBE for establishing the Southwark Schools Learning Partnership between ten schools across the borough, to help teachers and pupils support one another.

Since 2005 Marion has been championing a new music centre at the school, which she says is “going to make a real difference to the local community.”

Marion did not want to leave until the new facility was confirmed, but now that it is she is retiring at the end of the month to make way for her successor, Mrs Sally-Anne Huang.

Speaking to the News, Marion said she would “miss the girls and the buzz of being in a school”, but is looking forward to filling her days at her new seaside home with sailing, growing fruit and vegetables and turning her marking pen to writing novels.

“It’s the best job in the world but it’s very hard to get a good work life balance,” said Marion, who says she has typically worked 90-hour weeks for the last twenty years.

Sir Hugh Taylor Parent of two JAGS students and Chair of the school Governors, paid tribute to Marion, saying she had been an “outstanding headmistress” who had encouraged high academic standards, and an ethos of ‘care, curiosity and consideration’ in all aspects of school life, “producing well-rounded citizens who care for their fellow human beings and play an active role in society.”

Mr Taylor added that all the pupils who have passed through the school over the last 21 years will remember Marion “with affection and respect. Their lives – and therefore the lives of countless others – will have been shaped and inspired by her values,” he said.


Pride and passion at City of London Academy

oner, Deniz, Kamle and Seun
Soner, Deniz, Kamle and Seun

For the second year in a row, Bermondsey’s City of London Academy students have recorded their best ever A-Level results.

Among the high-flyers were three brainy pals who have all been accepted to study mathematics at University College London.

Deniz Ukselir, Soner Hasan and Seun Tijani all received exceptional results.

Deniz, who received A*A*A* said: “With all the waiting around you start to doubt yourself, especially as we needed the grades to get accepted.”

Soner, who got A*A*AA, thanked  his teachers and said: “They are always willing to support students in developing their own interests and passions.”

Seun also spoke of how stressful the days leading up to results day were and how relieved he felt after receiving his A* A* B grades.

Becky Olaniyi, who is set to study at Birmingham University, could not believe it to see A*AB. She said: “If I had known that I would do so well and people would be taking photos of me I would’ve made my hair look nicer!”

Vocational studies students also excelled, with Denzel Ubiaro set for a full basketball scholarship in Iowa, USA, after distinction grades in PE, ICT and Business.

Principal Richard Bannister said: “It’s so great to see all of the students’ hard work come to fruition. I’m also very proud of our staff – this is why we go into teaching. We teach in a very disadvantaged area, so our priority is for our young people to flourish in education and go onto to have successful futures.”


A third walked away with A or A*

Tom Ap Rees and Rufus Love from Charter School
Tom Ap Rees and Rufus Love from Charter School

High-flying students at the Charter School in North Dulwich celebrated the release of their A-level results on Thursday morning, with nearly a third of all grades achieved being an A or A*.

Tom Ap Rees got three A*s in Biology, Chemistry and Maths, and is excited to confirm his place to read Biology at Oxford. “I was really surprised – the exams were much harder than I was expecting them to be,” he said.

Rufus Love also managed to rack up three A*s in English, History and Latin, and is ready to head up north to study English at Edinburgh. He said: “I’m very happy, but I didn’t expect it.”

Minnie Cullen Close, said her A* and two A’s made her dad cry. She is going on to study English Literature at Durham in preparation for a career in politics or the charity sector.

Millie Milsom also achieved an A* and two A’s and plans to go to Nottingham to study Economics and Spanish. “My parents are happy, but they would’ve been happy with whatever I got,” she said.

Head teacher, Christian Hicks, said: “Students flourish here regardless of their starting points or circumstances, and are encouraged to enjoy their learning. These outstanding A-level results are due to the responsibility and perseverance shown by all the students and teachers in this flourishing family school, and they deserve to celebrate today.”


Alleyn’s star show

Students at Alleyn’s school in Dulwich celebrated another impressive year of A level results on Thursday, with seventeen percent of students gaining three or more A*s.

Lucian Clinch who got three A*s, plans to take a year out then go on to study history. He said: “I’m very surprised, it felt like a lottery – you sort of come out never sure what you’ll get.”

Julia Elkouby, who managed to get an A* and three A’s says she is planning to study mechanical engineering at University College London.

Another star pupil, Lizzie Skinner is going to study art at Kingston after getting three A*s before possibly applying to study English at Cambridge.

Head teacher, Dr Gary Savage, said: “I’m delighted to see so many Alleyn’s students being awarded the top A* and A grades and indeed am equally proud of all those students who achieved their target grades to secure their university places. It shows that pursuing wider interests and taking part in all the co-curricular activities on offer in such a busy Sixth Form helps with academic success. It all involves hours of dedicated study along with the hard work of the teaching staff.”


Read about Southwark’s GCSE results this year here 


Most Popular

Recent Comments

Michael Peacock on The King of Nunhead
EricEatsPickles on Letters to the editor: 09/11/17
Bermonds03 on Rye Station
WesternApproaches on When The Blitz came to Southwark
WesternApproaches on When The Blitz came to Southwark
WesternApproaches on When The Blitz came to Southwark
Peter Bavington on Letters to the editor: 08/12/16
Darren McCreery on Letters: 25/05/16
Paula Griffin on Letters: 25/05/16
Catherine Stephens on COLUMN: Harriet Harman MP
Terrie Walker Amor on £5k raised for brave Southwark kids
Francis Githaiga on GALLERY: Walworth’s Got Talent!
Charlotté India Péto on TOMMY BLACKMORE: Photos and tributes