Despite the introduction of tougher new A-levels in many subjects, Jewish schools rose to the challenge and produced an impressive haul of top grades.
Two schools achieved a record proportion of A*s; at King David High School Manchester, close to a third of the exams, 31 per cent, were passed at the highest grade, and nearly a quarter at JFS.
More than twice as many students at Jewish schools gained three A*s than did so last year.
Deborah Lipkin, JFS executive headteacher and her leadership team, hailed “a record year of results. We remain very proud of all our students’ achievements”.
More than 54 per cent of A-level exams at JFS were passed with grade A* or A, while 74 students earned an A* or A in at least three A-levels.
The proportion of A*s was more than five per cent better than JFS’s previous best, as it was also in the A* to A bracket — while the 82 per cent of exams passed at A* to B matched the school’s performance in 2013 .
Star performers were Daniel Bernbaum, Oli Solomons and Vitale Stone, each with four A*s, while Adam Lang, Jesse Anthony, Jack Bergman, Nitzan Issler, Ilana Koffman, Jessica Mendall, Natalie Samuels, Zoe Sarankin, Rebecca Spagnoletto and Craig Stock all gained at least three A*s.
Thirteen JFS pupils will be heading to Oxford or Cambridge, and two others to medical school, while the “overwhelming majority” of students have secured a place at the university of their first choice, the school said.
Six of the eight students at King David in Manchester who received Oxbridge offers will be taking up their places, while “virtually all” students have the grades needed for their choice university, said the chairman of the school’s governors, Joshua Rowe.
“All the medical applicants and those for veterinary sciences have got their places,” he said.
Fifty-two per cent of grades were A or above at KDM, and around 78 per cent B or above.
“I am delighted for our students and teachers at these outstanding results, Mr Rowe said.
Nathan Domnitz , Maxim Mallerman, Fabian Bor and Elliott Cohen led the way at KDM with four A*s apiece: Tal Beer, Ehud Kirsh, Arron Gabel, Olivia Hamburg, Gabriel Hamburger, Daniel Lefton, Thomas McGowan, Rachel Valins, Matt Handler and Sam Prais each secured at least three A*s.
At Yavneh College, executive headteacher Spencer Lewis celebrated “another wonderful set of A-level results. An incredible 52 per cent of grades are at A* or A with 88 per cent at A* to B.”
Nearly one in six Yavneh pupils recorded an A or A* for their exams. The A* to B pass rate was the highest the school has achieved.
Yavneh’s pacesetter was Natalie Miller with three A*s.
Students on vocational courses have also achieved “outstanding results with almost all achieving a distinction,” Mr Lewis said.
At Hasmonean High School, Joshua Daniel, who will read natural sciences at Cambridge after his gap year, was “really ecstatic” after learning he had attained 5 A*s. “I’m especially happy with my A* in physics, which was a really tough subject,” he said. “It feels like endless scientific work and experiments have finally paid off.”
Overall, 15 per cent of grades were at A*; 43 per cent at A or above; and 72 per cent at B or above.
Andrew McClusky, Hasmonean’s executive head, said, “We are delighted our students have coped so well with the new linear A-level specifications that present an increased level of challenge.”
Patrick Moriarty, headteacher of JCoSS, noted “a historic and momentous day” as the cross-communal school announced its first full set of A-level results.
“This is the biggest milestone of the school’s history to date and we are thrilled with our results,” he said.
Over a third of grades were either A* or A, with over two-thirds at grade B or above. The majority have secured places at their first-choice university with two pupils destined for Cambridge.
The JCoSS roll of honour included Nikita Ostrovsky, Nathan Caplan, Jess Shaw, Kezia Niman and Jonah Zur, who each achieved at least three A*s.
In vocational courses at JCoSS, 86 per cent obtained a distinction or higher with 40 per cent gaining a starred distinction. Jamie Conway, Omer Golani, Daniel Gould and Morgan Jays all scored two starred distinctions, with Morgan gaining a further distinction on top.
Immanuel College said over 80 per cent of students have a place at their chosen university, with 46 per cent of exams passed at A or above and 75 per cent at B or above. A quarter of the students exclusively achieved As or A*s.
Michael Tarsh, Jeremy Schiff and Daniel Schindler garnered at least three A*s, while Immanuel head boy Charlie Coverman has won a place to read history at Oxford with two A*s and an A.
Matthew Slater, headteacher of King Solomon High School, praised his sixth form’s “superb results” with a 73 per cent A* to C pass rate.
King Solomon students performed strongly in maths and physics with more than 40 per cent gaining an A or above.
At King David High School, Liverpool, headteacher Michael Sutton said “the percentage of results at A* to B increased by five per cent [from last year] and made up 51 per cent of results overall. The overwhelming majority achieved their goals and are taking up their place in their chosen university.”
Outside the Jewish school sector, among those who notched up three A*s were Felicity Greenfield from the Grammar School at Leeds and Zak Wagman, vice-captain of Haberdashers’ Aske’s in Elstree.
Gabriel Koslover, of Manchester Grammar School, was “shocked” to learn he had attained two “Distinction One” grades — considered a mark higher than an A* — in his Cambridge Pre-U exams, which are an alternative to A-level.
THREE A*S DESPITE A BRUSH WITH TERROR
Charlotte Buchalter’s three A*s in maths, chemistry and biology are all the more notable because less than a month before her exams she was caught up in the Manchester Arena terror attack.
When a family friend offered last-minute tickets to the Ariana Grande concert, her mother had persuaded her to accompany her 15-year-old brother to the event.
“When we were on the way to pick them up from the concert, she called us,” her mother Sharon said. “She was hysterical. She knew something had happened because there was a lot of blood when she went out, but she didn’t know what. When we picked up 20 minutes later, we saw the emergency services. She wasn’t injured but she was traumatised.”
Twenty-two people died that night after a suicide bomber targeted them as they left for home.
It took around 10 days for Charlotte to settle back into a routine, her mother said. Her school, Altrincham Grammar, was “fantastic in the support they gave her. Fortunately, because she studies science, her exams didn’t start until June 12.
“We were concerned because she lost a week of revision. She is very sensitive and you don’t know what is going on internally. But she worked so hard.”
Charlotte, who has just turned 18, did even better than the A* and two As she needed to take up a place at Birmingham University to study medicine.
Government plans to make A-levels harder were phased in across 13 subjects this summer, including English, history and biology. Results now depend primarily on exams at the end of two years rather than taking some at A-S in the first year (which allowed for resits).
While there was a marginal decline in the national A* to E pass rate by 0.2 per cent, the proportion of A to A* grades was up by 0.5 per cent from last year to 26.3 per cent.
The percentage of A* to B grades in the UK rose slightly to 53.1 per cent but A* to C passes dropped fractionally to 77.4 per cent.
However, the proportion of A*s and As in the 13 reformed subjects fell from last year.
Nationally, take-up of university places was around two per cent down on the same time last year — leaving hope of a university place for students whose exam grades were lower than their offers.
Daniel Sugarman writes:
Pupils at Yavneh College in Borehamwood saluted teachers who helped them through the tougher new syllabus introduced into many subjects this summer.
Unlike students in previous years, they had fewer resources such as past papers to go on.
Aliza Cohen, who achieved A*s in psychology and sociology and a B for maths, said: “I think they prepared us as well as they could have, because it was new to everyone.”
Her friend, Sophie Album, who received A*s in history and psychology and an A in maths, concurred: “I think they prepped us as well as they could, because they didn’t get much from the exam board at all.”
Gemma Jacobs, who earned an A* in biology, and As for history and art, said: “We had specimen papers that come with every exam board, every subject, but that was it. We had nothing else to sort of look at and work out what we might be getting asked.”
Tom and James Lee, twins from Shenley, gained A*AA and A*A*A respectively. Tom intends to go to Bristol to study politics and economics, while James is heading to Leeds to study automotive engineering.
“It’s not just with the teaching, which is incredible,” Tom said, “it’s how they prepare you for exams, the amount of effort they’re willing to put in for us to match the effort we put in ourselves. And it’s not just our exams they helped with, they’ve helped with our application process, and they just prepare us through the whole year. It was fantastic.”