The independent London newspaper

Former First Lady inspired GCSE students’ success

Visit by Michelle Obama ‘encouraged us all to stick together’

23 August, 2019 — By Emily Finch and Calum Fraser

Mariam Muhammed, Analise McDonnell, Anna Ebbatson-Solomon and Sadie Wilcox at EGA

PUPILS have credited Michelle Obama after scooping a series of top GCSE grades at the school where the former First Lady gave an inspirational speech on the importance of education just eight months ago.

Dozens of Year-11 students lined up for their results from 9.30am at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in Angel yesterday (Thursday) where the Harvard-educated lawyer talked to the students back in December as part of her European book tour.

She has a close relationship with the school having first visited back in 2009 when she was First Lady.

Analise McDonnell, 16, who achieved 7s and 8s and aims to study neuroscience at university credited Ms Obama’s visit for one of the reasons she did so well.

Jumping for joy at City of London Academy Highgate Hill: Just under 60 per cent of students achieved a Grade 4 and above in English and Maths

She said: “Her talk was one of the most amazing things ever. She’s such an inspirational woman, she encouraged us all to stick together and that’s what we did.

“We supported each other while studying in the hallways, in libraries and in between classes.”

Robyn Herbert, 16, said Ms Obama’s speech “helped us a lot” and was “so happy” to get grades that were 5 or higher.

Ann Ebbatson-Solomon, 16, achieved one of the top results in her year with six 9s – said to be even more difficult to achieve than an A* in the former grading system. “It took a lot of hard work and I am happy it paid off.

“It’s important not to just cram but make sure you stick to your plan for studying,” she said.

She will now go on to study maths, English and Classics at A-level.

St Mary Magdalene Academy pupils James Manigan, Josh Coogan and Glenn Vorpsi

Students at St Aloysius’ College in Highgate were all smiles as 100 per cent of Year-11s achieved a grade 4 or above in biology, chemistry, and physics. Sam Ridge, 16, took home the best results with seven grade 9s and three grade 8s, with Benny Mpulsu close behind with five grade 9s and four grade 8s and one grade 7.

Jamie Brownhill, headteacher at Central Foundation Boys’ School in Old Street, said that all of the teachers and students were to be “congratulated” for the results, which saw 63 per cent of students achieve a grade 5 or higher for both English and maths.

Proud parents hugged tearful students as St Mary Magdalene Academy pupils received their GCSE results.

This was the second year the exams were graded with numbers one to nine as opposed to A to F. But Josh Coogan forgot this and he was momentarily puzzled when he opened his results, adding: “I forgot over the holidays about the numbers, so when I looked at the results I was like, what?

St Aloysius’ College pupils Shahanur Rahman, Sam Ridge and Ferdous Reza

“But I’ve been told I passed everything so I’m happy.”

Josh is taking up an apprenticeship place at property developers Berkeley Group. But he achieved a 7 in English literature, the equivalent of an A, so he said he could become an English teacher if the apprenticeship doesn’t work out.

Of the 12 pupils who took Mandarin at St Marys Magdalene 11 achieved the highest grade of 9. The 9 grade is cut off so that only 3 per cent of pupils taking the subject will get it.

A tearful Jennifer Buster was in the school hall to see her son Dylan Low pick up a near clean-sweep of top grades.

Idris Burhan, Agon Bajqinca, Hasan Hachem, Imtiaz Chowdhury, Tahsin Kazi, Babatunde Oke, David Suleman-Waters, John Griffin, George Cobham, Patrick Reeves Thripp, James Keegan and Tomasz Kopiec from Central Foundation.

She said: “I am extremely proud. These are tears of happiness. I feel he lacked a bit of confidence, and he was anxious about these results. But it’s all worked out.”

Highbury Fields School saw 91 per cent of students achieve a grade 4 or higher in English while 84 per cent of results in biology and chemistry were at grade 7 or above.

Town Hall education chief Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, who visited students at EGA and St Aloysius on Thursday, said: “I’m delighted with the results and the hard work they’ve put it. I’m so excited to hear about what the students are doing for their next step. They’re off to study such important things such as science or maths and there are many prospective lawyers.”



Share this story

Post a comment