by LAUREN CODLING
SCHOOL leavers have spoken of their relief at receiving their GCSE results last Thursday (20), days after the government reversed its decision to base grades on a computer-generated algorithm.
It announced that grades would be awarded based on teachers’ predictions, following widespread criticism as 40 per cent of A-level results were downgraded by the government-approved algorithm.
Mehjabin Islam, 16, a student at Swanlea School in east London, said she was reassured by the government’s decision. “I felt better when I found out that my teacher would be giving me my grades,” Islam told Eastern Eye. “I was definitely nervous about getting my results before they reversed the decision on the grading system, especially when I saw the reaction of A-level students earlier this month.”
Islam, who received eight grade 9s, three grade 8s and one grade 7, said she had felt anxious about her results since it was announced that exams would be cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak in March.
“It has been such a long time since I was at school. I’ve been worried about it since March,” Islam, an aspiring doctor, said. “So to see the grades makes me so happy.”
Her father, Emdadul Islam, also admitted he was excited when the government announced they would be relying on teacher’s predictions on students’ past performances, instead of the algorithm. “We were worried about (the grading) initially because of what happened with the A-level results,” he told Eastern Eye. “We got the real results with the [government] U-turn. We trust the grades from her teachers and we believe it is a reflection of (Mehjabin’s) results”.
Meanwhile, pupils at John Lyon School in north-west London celebrated their results after a record 15 per cent of the year group attained a coveted academic scholarship to the John Lyon Sixth Form. Scholarships are awarded to pupils attaining at least eight 8 grades.
Harsh Hingorani attained a clean sweep, achieving straight 9 grades (the equivalent of the highest A* grade.) Admitting the results had left him speechless, Hingorani said “it was not what I imagined getting in a million years.”
“Two extensive, painstaking years of diligent and scrupulous work has finally paid off for me in the best way I could possibly imagine,” he said. “I am very grateful to have had such amazing and understanding teachers, including my form tutor, who were there for me whenever I needed help.”
Fellow student Vinay Kapoor also achieved straight 9 grades and is due to take up an academic scholarship.
The John Lyon head, Katherine Haynes, ac- knowledged the year had been a “difficult” period for students. Despite not having the opportunity to sit their exams, Haynes said “every one of them has shown a great resolve to get to where we are today”.
“This year’s GCSE results are remarkable,” she said. “Some of the individual success stories portray the hard work that has been applied over a number of years by our pupils. It is extremely satisfying to see them achieve at such a high level.”
At Alperton Community School in northwest London, 25 per cent of students achieved the top grades (9-7) in English and Maths. There were more than 100 grades at 9-7 in the science subjects – biology, chemistry and physics.
Dhruv Patel achieved grade 9 results in 10 GCSEs, including a grade 9 in Further Mathematics. He said “We have all worked really hard – my friends and my teachers. The teachers at Alperton really care about you and support you.”
Fellow student Nabiha Shaikh achieved nine grade 9s and one grade 8. “I would like to thank my teachers – they have helped me achieve so much since I arrived at Alperton. I can’t wait to start my A-level studies in the Sixth Form,” she said.
According to statistics released last week, more than a quarter of GCSEs were awarded top grades across the country. This was estimated to be up from around a fifth last year, when 27.5 per cent of GCSE results were marked at 7 or above, compared to 21.8 per cent last year.