Meet the A-team

How our schools bucked the national trend to hit new heights

By Charlotte Oliver, August 21, 2014
Relieved faces: JFS’ A-level students

Relieved faces: JFS’ A-level students

You know the feeling: sleepless night, sweaty palms, unprovoked hysteria. It must be Results Day.

Last Thursday's A-level marks came and went in a flurry of brown paper envelopes, delighted students, and one prevalent cry: "We did it!"

In a year when A-level grades went down nationally by 3 per cent, and the country's overall pass rate marginally fell, Jewish students achieved unprecedented success.

East Barnet's JCoSS reported top marks in its first year sitting A-levels, with an 100 per cent pass rate. The school added that 70 per cent of all marks were either a B, A or A*.

Headteacher Patrick Moriarty said: "During the two years these students have been with us, they have worked hard, together with their teachers, to produce excellent results.

He was 'relieved' with his marks - a modest understatement

"In a large number of cases they have out-performed their original targets, and we are very proud of them."

JFS also had cause for celebration, announcing that a record 16 pupils were taking up places to study at Oxford or Cambridge, and a further six were off to medical school. Everyone passed - half at grades A or A* and 80 per cent at grade B or higher.

"It is so rewarding for us to see the students' joy," said assistant head Simon Appleman. "It is their hard work, and the hard work of their teachers, that shines through today."

He added that the Kenton school's success rested on "providing support not just academically, but pastorally and socially, in order to support students' learning, leadership and Jewish identity".

Immanuel celebrated a full pass rate, with 62 per cent achieving an A or A*. The Bushey school commended its art, photography, Hebrew, French and sociology departments, whose students all swept the board with grade A or above.

In Borehamwood, Yavneh College announced its students had garnered the "best A-level results in the history of the school". More than 98 per cent passed with a grade C or above, while 63 per cent received A or A*.

Among the school's high-achievers, special mention was given to Daniel Greenblatt, who achieved four A*s, and Joshua Peters, Aron Carr and Sam Levy, who gained three A*s each.

Headteacher Spencer Lewis said the results were "exceptional. A-levels are extremely difficult and these grades are the result of a lot of hard work and dedication."

At Hasmonean, 80 per cent of students celebrated passing with a grade B or higher, while a quarter achieved three As or more. The Hendon school's vocational programme, which offers BTEC courses for subjects such as health and social care, also performed well.

Executive head David Meyer said the school's achievements were "especially notable, given the changes in the A-level curriculum which caused many schools to expect a dip in the results.

"Our students and their teachers are a credit to the school and the whole community," he added.

Hasmonean pupil Yair Halberstadt confessed he was "relieved" with his results - a modest understatement, considering he garnered five A*s in maths, further maths, additional further maths, physics and chemistry.

In Redbridge, King Solomon High acting headteacher Dr Paul Doherty said the impressive results made him "determined to encourage more students to apply to Russell Group universities and Oxbridge. I'm sure that we have a high enough calibre." The school saw 87 per cent of its students pass with a C or above, while 53 per cent achieved A*, A and B grades.

"I came in late in the year," said Dr Doherty, who was appointed acting head in May. "As soon as I arrived, I felt an air of scholarship, as well as the industry and dedication of students."

King David High School, Manchester, reported an "excellent" set of results, with 50 per cent of all grades being As and A*s. The adjacent Yavneh Yeshivah High saw 97 per cent of its students pass with a grade B or above.

Successes also spread to Liverpool, where almost 60 per cent at King David High School attained an A*, A or B.

For those now at the end of their school days, the results are stepping stones to new feats - including, but not limited to, foundation courses, apprenticeships, gap year travels and university. Unprovoked hysteria optional.

Last updated: 1:34pm, August 22 2014