Northern lights at A-level undimmed by tuition fees

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 23, 2012
Successful Jewish students from the Grammar School at Leeds

Successful Jewish students from the Grammar School at Leeds

High achieving northern A-level students say increased tuition fees have not dissuaded them from university studies.

Manchester King David’s most successful student — self-confessed “geek” Rafi Dover — said “enough doors would open after graduating” to cover any debts. Rafi’s four A*s confirmed a place at Cambridge to read maths and he is looking forward to sampling Jewish life at Jesus College. “The maths course at Cambridge is one of the best of its kind in the world and it seems a bit unreal that I will be a part of that,” he said. “As a college, Jesus is known for having the better kosher facilities and a good Jewish life. My dad is finding it funny telling people that ‘Jesus wants his son’. But he is very proud, not only as a parent, but also as a governor of King David.”

KD head boy Joshua Goldman attained three A*s and has been helped with his university costs by financial firm Deloitte. The Liverpudlian, who lived away from home to attend King David, said that with “enough loan schemes available to students, nobody should worry too much. Obviously the fees are a burden, but as long as you have a job, paying a loan back shouldn’t be a problem.”

Zack Balaban’s dream of studying medicine was reignited by unexpectedly good results — an A* and two As. Zack has turned down a place to study biochemistry in order to reapply for a medicine course. And the 17-year-old heavy metal fan will be using his gap year to take an A-level in music.

“Medicine is what I’ve always wanted to do,” he stressed. “Although with fees and maintenance university could cost £70,000, it’s not influenced my decision. You only start paying it back when you are earning.”

Over the past two years, pupils at the state school have achieved an 80 per cent pass rate at A*-B grades, matching private schools such as the Grammar School at Leeds, where Jewish students have also been celebrating.
Sophie Drazen gained two A*s and an A. Sam Levi, Joe Jackson and Josh Masser each achieved an A* and two As. Sophie, who will study mathematics at Manchester University, said the higher fees had made her consider her options.

“My parents questioned if I was sure I wanted to go to university. I’m worried about the debts and I’ve taken a loan. I just hope I will be able to pay it back. I’m going to get a part-time job at uni to help.”

Last updated: 4:31pm, August 23 2012