GCSE Results Day: Orphan Forest Gate Community School pupil thanks his late gran for his top grades

PUBLISHED: 10:25 23 August 2018 | UPDATED: 10:42 23 August 2018

Jack Powell, 16, reacts to his GCSE results as he receives an A, an 9, four 8s, a 7, and four 6s at Forest Gate Community School. Pic: Isabel Infantes

Jack Powell, 16, reacts to his GCSE results as he receives an A, an 9, four 8s, a 7, and four 6s at Forest Gate Community School. Pic: Isabel Infantes


An orphan from Forest Gate who lost both his parents before he was seven overcame the death of his inspirational grandmother to scored top marks in his GCSEs.

Jack's grandmother Gwen died six months before he sat his GCSEsr. Pic: Tom BarnesJack's grandmother Gwen died six months before he sat his GCSEsr. Pic: Tom Barnes

Jack Powell, 16, went to live with grandmother Gwen and uncle Peter following the death of his father Chris, who was a professional wrestler, when he was just three.

Then, aged seven, his mum Sheena who he saw only on contact visits at weekends passed away - leaving Gwen and Peter tp look after him.

Jack says it was Gwen who pushed him to study hard at school but just six months before his first GCSE exam she too sadly died, aged 85.

Today, Jack, discovered he had scored mostly 8 and 9s in his GCSE, which is the equivalent to As and A*.

He had planned to bring his gran along to the school to collect the results and has dedicated his success to her memory.

Jack studied at Forest Gate Community, which is Ofsted rated Outstanding and ranked sixth best in the country for GCSE results last year.

This year over half of students scored grades 7-9, the equivalent of A* and A, with grades once again expected to be among the very best in the UK.

Jack said: “She was the central person in my life from the age of three. She was the one who taught me everything I know and pushed me to do well at school.

“It is sad because we had planned for her to come here together to collect my results because she has been the biggest part of my success.

“I know she will be looking down on me now and she would be so, so proud of what I have achieved. I just wish she was here to share it with me.

“She was the most amazing person you could ever meet. Everything I have achieved and will achieve I dedicate to her.

Jack says his grades began to slip around the time of her death in December last year but says he got back on track because he did not want to let her down.

He added: “When I got some of my mocks results through my grades in some subjects had started to slip. That is when I knew that I had to really start putting the effort in.

“She would have hated to think that I was not going to do my best so I started revising extra hard.”

Last year, he applied for Eton College through Forest Gate Community’s scholarship programme but narrowly missed out on a place.

Jack, who lives with his uncle in the same house, plans to study A-level maths, further maths, economics and politics at a local sixth form.

After finishing his exams in June this year, Jack was given a job at his school working in the admin office.

He added: “This school is just an incredible place. They really go above and beyond for you, particularly Simon Elliott, the executive headteacher, we have a very close bond.”

Mr Elliott said: “It is hard to put into words or describe a young man with the character of Jack.

“To say he is an inspiration just is not enough, he is exceptional. Many of us have great challenges in our lives but none I have met faced them with the courage, grit and spirt that he has.

“I am not only proud to have taught and mentioned this young man, I am proud to know him. I wish we could keep him here at the school but I know he is destined to outshine us all.”

Jack’s dad Chris Powell was a professional wrestler in the 1980s and 1990s. His stage name was demo.

Latest Newham Stories

Justin Edinburgh will make at least one change to the team which won 3-1 at AFC Fylde last time out

Charlie Lee

Pupils from seven Newham schools were able to discover more about science and the aviation industry at an event organised by London City Airport.

London City Airport

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this weekend? Watch our Met Office video forecast.

Met Office

A bookseller from Newham has won an award for her work.


Remembrance Day services are always moving and especially so with this year marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Sadiq Khan
Yesterday, 19:00

The University of East London (UEL) has rebuked claims that it has received a £1 million emergency loan from the Office for Students.

University of East London
Yesterday, 18:21

Police have found the body of a missing student with links to east London.

Yesterday, 17:00

Footballer Jermain Defoe, who grew up in Newham, has said he has “amazing” memories of his time with Bradley Lowery, the terminally ill boy he befriended.

United Kingdom


Have you spent time as an unpaid carer? If you are over the age of 25 and living in Newham, the Working for Carers scheme can help you take the first steps back to employment.

Hanson Fernandes’ journey began in 2015 when he arrived in London from Goa, India.

Newsletter Sign Up

Newham Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now