“NewVIc did not judge me by my GCSE grades” - student goes on to achieve top A-level grades


Raees went on to achieve top grades in his A-levels - Credit: Archant

Raees is an aspiring economist and has been offered a place at King’s College London to study a degree in Economics.

He achieved top grades in a whopping 4 A Levels getting A* A A A in Maths, Economics, Politics and Physics. He was a former Forest Gate Community School student.

We caught up with Raees to find out a little more about his journey so far.

What made you choose NewVIc?

“My journey over the last two years has been a turbulent ride to say the least. I can remember GCSE results day as if it were only yesterday. When I first opened the dreaded envelope I was quite pleased with the set of results that I had achieved, but deep down I knew I could’ve done much better.

Like many of the other ‘gifted’ students at my secondary school, we were encouraged to apply to the ‘elite’ sixth form or colleges within the borough. After doing just that, I can remember anxiously waiting in line at Newham Collegiate Sixth Form (NCS) for their enrolment. With hundreds of other students also waiting to secure their places, the nerves truly started to kick in for me and, when it was finally my turn to be enrolled; the teachers broke the news that I had missed out on my offer by a single grade and I was unable to study the subjects that I wanted to.

I can recall my parents doing all they could to reason with the teachers but, because of the fact that NCS were so fixated on their students achieving 8s and 9s; they turned away many hard-working students, me included.

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After finding out that I did not secure my place it was a frantic race to secure places at either London Academy of Excellence (LAE) or Brampton Manor, but this wasn’t to be either.

Their responses were exactly the same. These colleges were only prepared to offer me a place for subjects I didn’t want to do. Whilst many students across the country were celebrating their results and securing their college places, I was left disheartened and above all, left without a college place.

It wasn’t until a few days after when I came across an enrolment flyer for NewVIc. I was initially hesitant to apply. NewVIc were so open and welcoming that they reminded me again of how good my results were. They allowed me to take up all the subjects I wanted to, and showed encouragement and praise for my choice of subjects.

They were willing to provide help and support for me to do well, and they did just that. Even through the chaos and destruction in the education system brought about by the pandemic, NewVIc teachers did so much, in terms of teaching lessons, providing resources, helping with interviews and personal statements etc. that it really helped me to excel and achieve such amazing results.

Coming to NewVIc really proved to be the best decision I have ever made. NewVIc did not judge me by my GCSE grades. They gave me (and other students like myself) the chance and opportunity to study what I wanted.”

How have you found sixth form so far?

"The first year of my studies was obviously new and I was finding my footing at the college. I tried to gain the teachers friendship and trust as I knew that the majority were there to help.

Half way through the year the Covid-19 pandemic brought about the lockdowns. However, there was an extremely good diligent network of support by NewVIc staff and a robust online teaching structure with a full time table. Although it was not the same as being in a live environment, we all had to adapt quickly and make the transition.

The communication was very good with the college and students, we still continued with a regular full class timetable.”

Tell us about some of the projects you have been involved in at the college?

“I have been involved in many unique opportunities available to students at the college through the Honours Programme. I worked closely with numerous universities, including Oxbridge who arranged for various guest speakers to come in and hold workshops for different career pathways.

Besides academics, NewVIc offers numerous programmes and clubs that are open to all. The college places a huge emphasis on diversity, as well as placing students’ mental health and wellbeing at the forefront.”

Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?

“At NewVIc, all of the teachers have been amazingly helpful and supportive. I got the greatest support from one special teacher, her name is Carina Ancell. She went over and above what was expected of her for me. Not only was she busy teaching history, she was also busy arranging programmes like the Honours Programme, Brilliant Club and debating society. She was also organising workshops and mock interviews.

She provided immense support with personal statements for everyone including help for students applying for medicine. Although other teachers were responsible and came together to support students, Carina was at the heart of it - hats off to her for what she does.”

Is there anything you wish you had known that you do now?

“Before leaving secondary school, I thought that in order to achieve the best results you had to attend only very high-performing schools or colleges. However, now that I have attended NewVIc I realise that is not the case and that you can achieve the best results as long as you are willing to put in the effort.”

What is your advice for students considering NewVIc?

“Don’t let your GCSE grades dictate to you what you can and cannot study. Choose the subjects you like and are interested in, only then will you do well. Remember that no matter where you attend, if you put in the hard work you will reap the rewards. Don’t be afraid to go beyond your comfort zone, it will only make you more resilient.”

So what’s next?

“With the results I have achieved at NewVIc I am now going to study Economics at King’s College London in the autumn term.”

Hear more student stories at: newvic.ac.uk

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