GCSE results: Cumberland School pupils secure grades to take up places at fee-paying sixth forms
- Credit: Nick Obank
Seven Cumberland School pupils will be taking up scholarship places at top independent schools including Eton after getting the GCSE grades needed to confirm their places.
The group all admitted to feeling a bit nervous last week with news of A-level students being marked down due to the grading system adopted by exam bodies.
But their nervousness turned to joy today when all seven learned they had passed their GCSE with flying colours, each scoring a mix of the grades 7-9.
The students won their places thanks to the Plaistow school’s prestigious colleges programme, which is exclusively for students from deprived families and will see their fees will be paid by the private schools.
Pijus Dragunas, 16, from Newbury Park, spent the first two years of his life in the UK living with his mum in a family friend’s loft having moved from Lithuania aged seven.
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He will now study maths, further maths, economics and geography at City of London Freeman School on a £40,000 scholarship.
He said: “I was very worried about the way the exams were being graded. This opportunity has the potential to open up so much for me.
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“After all we had been through, I was thinking this is going to be so unjust and unfair if I do not get the grades to take up my place.
“Once they changed their minds and went with the teacher’s grades, I knew we would be ok.”
Erica Darfour from Leyton, won a place at City of London Freeman School to study biology, chemistry and economics on a £72,000 scholarship.
The 16-year-old said: “I was worried at first about my grades because my school is in a very working-class area, that they might downgrade my grade.
“I got a call from City of London on Monday saying whatever happened they would be offering me an unconditional place which was amazing because I was no longer worried or anxious.”
Maleehah Khan, 16, from Plaistow will study maths, economics and politics at University College School, Hampstead. The scholarship is worth £40,000.
She said: “I needed a grade average of 6.5 across all subjects to secure my place but think I would have had that worry even if the exams did not get cancelled. It has been an amazingly stressful time for us.”
Waez Amin will a swap council house in Canning Town for the hallowed halls of Eton.
The 16-year-old said he hopes Eton will help catapult him towards his dream career in scientific medical research, inspired by family illnesses.
He said: “I was feeling ok because the offer from Eton was unconditional but I knew my friends were worried. If it was not unconditional, I probably have been worried.
“I want to do medicine and what has happened over the last few months particular in my borough of Newham and my community has made me even more determined to achieve that dream.”
Kira Maiberg, 16, missed out on a scholarship to prestigious fee-paying school when she was turned down by Highgate School.
News of her school trying to fundraise her fees reached Guy Ayling, the headteacher of Mount Kelly in Devon, who offered her a £63,000 bursary to attend.
She said: “I would have worried either way that is just the person that I am but my offer was unconditional so I did not have the anxiety of my friends.
“I was anxious I was not doing enough work to prepare me for A-levels but luckily both Cumberland and my new school Mount Kelly offered a remote online programme. It really helped keep me busy and occupied during the lockdown.”
Swatiya Montaha, 15, from Canning Town will joins Kings College, Wimbledon to study A-levels in maths, further maths and economics on a £43,000 scholarship in September.
She said: “My offer was unconditional but I still wanted get good grades so it was stressful, lockdown has been a bit demoralising.
“I have tried to put my time to good use by learning the violin. I know students at private school all have lots of extra skills so I wanted to have something to talk about with them.”
Alexia Kieya, 16, from Manor Park, will also be going to King’s College, Wimbledon to study politics, English literature and philosophy.
She said: “It was an unconditional but I still wanted to do well. You can’t judge my grades based on an algorithm. At least with the teacher grades there is a human element to it because they know us.
“I am looking forward to all the amazing after school activities they have at Kings. They have their own swimming pool so I want to make use of that.”
Cumberland headteacher Omar Deria said: “I am so please that common sense has prevailed and the magnificent seven will all be taking up their places at fee-paying schools.
“There was a degree of nervousness when you saw so many students left in limbo over their A-level results so we were all relived when the decision was reversed.
“This is a school that continues to set the bar extremely high. We have developed strong relationships with a number of top independent schools so we are hoping even more students will be leaving Cumberland for the best fee-paying schools in the country.”