Family & Education

Jewish schools celebrate impressive GCSE results

Jewish schools across the UK have celebrated an impressive set of GCSE results, despite a nationwide dip in grades since last year


Immanuel College has celebrated a record set of GCSE exam results and JFS reached its attainment score highest ever amid another year of success for Jewish schools.

This year’s cohort was the first to sit public exams since 2019 following their suspension because of Covid-19. In the past two years GCSE grades were awarded according to teacher assessment.

While grades in the UK dipped from  last year, they were higher than in 2019, with over 26 per cent achieving the top three grades 9 to 7 (compared with nearly 29 per cent in 2021 and just under 21 per cent in 2019).

Jo Saxton, chief regulator of Ofqual, which supervises exam boards, explained: “As with A level results, today’s GCSE results are higher overall than those of 2019, and — as we have always said — lower than in 2021 when there was a different method of assessment. I felt strongly that it would not have been right to go straight back to pre-pandemic grading in one go.”

Immanuel head Mike Buchanan, hailed “a record-breaking set of GCSE results” at the fee-paying college in Hertfordshire.

More than three in 10 passes — 31 per cent — were awarded at the highest grade 9 and over half at 8 or above (compared with 25 per cent at 9 and 49 per cent at 8 or above in 2019).

Mr Buchanan said, “We are very happy to celebrate with pupils and their families such outstanding results, especially given the upheaval of the last two years, and the challenges the pupils have faced.”

JFS also triumphed in the face of Covid adversity with 21 per cent of exams passed at grade 9 and 40 per cent grade 8 or above.

Over half of all students achieved at least a grade 7 in every subject, while 81 per cent secured at least a grade 5 in English and maths.

Eleven students achieved nine or more grade 9s and four students got 11 grade 9 passes.

JFS Headteacher Dr David Moody said this year’s set of results “marked an exceptional performance from a year group that has been through so much… they are a superb group of students, supported by an excellent staff at JFS and deeply caring families.”

The school’s “Attainment 8” figure of 64.7 — which measures the eight best passes with maths and English counting double — was “the highest it has ever been”.

Hasmonean High School for Girls surpassed its 2019 results with 62 per cent of all grades at 9 to 7 (compared with 53 per cent three years ago).

Alegria Benaim, who achieved 10 grade 9s, said: “Covid taught us resilience and pushed us to take responsibility for our own learning while being supported throughout by our teachers and school.”

Nicole Bishop, who secured five 9s and five 8s, said, “GCSEs were always bound to be a challenge, and this was certainly increased by the pandemic and blended learning — this meant that we had to adapt quickly to be a lot more independent.

“However, despite the tears and hardships through the six-week exam period, the results reflected our hard work, and I am really happy with the outcome”

Andrew McClusky, chief executive of the Hasmonean Multi-Academy Trust in Barnet, said it was “exceptionally proud of our students’ academic achievements as well as their wonderful work for charities and tremendous commitment to Jewish learning.”

At Hasmonean Boys, 49 per cent of passes were at 7 or above, and 89 per cent at grade 4 or above (compared with 95 per cent for the girls).

Spencer Lewis, executive head of Yavneh College in Hertfordshire, was delighted with a “fantastic set of GCSE results… To have 84 per cent of grades at 9 to 5 really is a wonderful achievement.”

At the comprehensive school, 36 per cent of grades were at 9 to 8 and 53 per cent at 9 to 7 (compared with 44 per cent for 9 to 7 in 2019).

Adam Bannon and Charlie Levy were  Yavneh’s star performers with nine grade 9s and one grade 8. Sasha Rabinowitz, Adam Herman, Ben Sassen and Charlie Cohen all achieved at least seven grade 9s.

Hannele Reece, head of King Solomon High School in Redbridge, said results were a credit to the determination of students and dedication of teachers “after an unprecedented period of challenge and change throughout the pandemic”.

King Solomon high-fliers included Ronnie Martin with nine grade 9s and one 8; Zaakirah Rahman with eight 9s and two 8s; Shaarav Guha with seven 9s, two 8s, one 7, and a starred distinction; Amirtha Kesavan with seven 9s, one 8, and three 7s; and Nathan Myers with six 9s, three 8s and a 7.

October Wright, deputy head of King David High School, Liverpool, where 87 per cent of pupils achieved at least five passes including in maths and English, said: “In a time of such uncertainty the one thing we knew we could rely on is the quality of our students.

“Beyond their academic accomplishments, we feel confident that we are sending out a cohort of young people who have consistently demonstrated real character and integrity.”

Jacob Lingwood, whose GCSE tally included six at grade 7 or above, said, “Sitting so many examinations was stressful at times, but we all had the reassurance of knowing that our teachers had gone above and beyond to support us along the way.”

One of King David’s top achievers was Rachael Stevenson with six 9s, three 8s and a 7.

At King David High School, Manchester, more than 41 per cent of grades were at 8 or above, with nearly 23 per cent at grade 9.

Joshua Glickman led King David’s roll of honour with twelve 9s; Lucy Gradel and Joseph Isaacson gained seven 9s and two 8s apiece; Libby Gordon, six 9s, four 8s and a 7; and Joshua Levene, six 9s, two 8s and a 7.

At JCoSS in Barnet, headteacher Patrick Moriarty saluted his students in the last GCSEs before his forthcoming departure.

Half of all results were at grade 7 or better, with 15 per cent at 9 and 32 per cent at grade 8 or above.

Ella Haber and Timara Kaplan collected ten grade 9s, while Nina Joffe nine 9s and an 8. Herbert Byrne-Smith, Gabriella Stern, Raphael Kelvin, Aury Mosseri, Jessica Shahrabany, Ruby Wilkins, and Gracie Peller all achieved eight grade 9s. 

Micky Boyne, Sofia Legazpi Palatnik, Chloe Silverman, and Daniel Solomon also excelled with seven 9s and three 8s.

Mr Moriarty said, “Not only were GCSE courses disrupted by school closure, isolation, and remote learning, but the social and emotional toll on students and their families has been very significant too. We rejoice with shared pride at these excellent raw grades, but also at the many students who have exceeded personal goals, school targets, or both.”

The percentage of results at grade 5 and above was 83.2 per cent.

Over a quarter of grades in biology, physics, chemistry, history, Ivrit, food technology and further maths were at grade 9.

Rabbi David Meyer, executive director of Partnerships for Jewish Schools, said the “excellent results” across the community were particularly impressive given the background of the pandemic.

“The impact of Covid on this cohort of students is considerable, with some of the most formative years of their studies disrupted,” he said. “We are only just beginning to see the true impact of Covid on our youth”.

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