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OUTSTANDING! Record top grades for GSAL students in face of tougher exams

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(L-R) Aadarsh Nemana, Niharika Manu, Samyuktha Ganesh, Priyanka Misra and Shazia Sarela celebrate success at GCSE

(L-R) Aadarsh Nemana, Niharika Manu, Samyuktha Ganesh, Priyanka Misra and Shazia Sarela celebrate success at GCSE

 

Students at The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) are celebrating their best-ever GCSE results in the top grades with more than a quarter achieving the highest possible grades.

One of the outstanding achievers is Shazia Sarela, who achieved eight A*s and two 9s under the new numerical grading system for English language and literature. She looks set for success in her ambition to attain a place at medical school in two years time after sitting A-levels in maths, further maths, chemistry and biology.

It is the first year that the new 9 – 1 grades have replaced A*-G for English language and English literature, with all other subjects graded in the traditional A*-G format at GSAL. Students at GSAL already study the more rigorous maths IGCSE which remains graded A*-G (although maths GCSE is now graded 9-1).

Other students with the maximum eight A*s include Samyuktha Ganesh, who also earned grades 8 and 9 in English and Priyanka Misra who added 9 and 7 to her clean sweep of A*s.

There were notable performances in this summer’s examinations too from Rohan Karthik with seven A*s, A and two 9s; Manasvi Tyagi with seven A*s, A, 9 and 8; Niharika Manu with seven A*s, A, 9 and 8; Ishak Rouf with seven A*s, B and two 8s; Roshan Singh-Morgan with six A*s, two As, 8 and 9 and Vikram Sharma with six A*s, A, B and two 9s.

 Shazia Sarela achieved a clean sweep of A* and 9 grades

Shazia Sarela achieved a clean sweep of A* and 9 grades

 

From GSAL’s cohort of 220 GCSE candidates, 26 per cent clocked up the highest grades of A/7 or above in every subject, including five who achieved a clean sweep of eight A*s and two grade 9s each.

In the face of national predictions that top grades would be harder to achieve, GSAL students have surpassed the school record for top grades with 42 per cent of grades at A*/8 or above. The school also achieved its best results since 2011 with 98 per cent of passes at C/4 or above.

Nationally 2.2 per cent of GCSE candidates achieved grade 9 in English language while GSAL students achieved 14.5 per cent, almost seven times the national average.

Principal Sue Woodroofe said: “I could not be more proud of this year’s GCSE students. They are the first to have studied the new English language and English literature courses and other GCSE subjects with more challenging course content and they have performed brilliantly.

“These GCSEs are the toughest since the change from O-levels and our results testify to the outstanding achievements of a wonderful group of year 11 students and promise much for their A-level futures.

“I am grateful to staff and parents whose support for, and encouragement of, the children has been first class.”

B-ROAD-ening knowledge

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SAFETY: GSAL pupils Sejal and Oli receive their Modeshift STARS bronze award from the school’s estate team

SAFETY: GSAL pupils Sejal and Oli receive their Modeshift STARS bronze award from the school’s estate team

School awarded for dedication to road safety

Two young pupils from Leeds accepted a national award on behalf of the Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) last week as the educational establishment was commended for its safe transport schemes.

Year 1 pupil, Seja Sood, and reception’s Oli Yates, received the Modeshift STARS bronze award which demonstrates the school’s commitment to promoting sustainable travel.

Sejal Sood and Oli Yates with GSAL staff_2To achieve the accreditation, a school must complete the Sustainable Travel Accreditation and Recognition for Schools programme (STARS) run by Leeds City Council.

Amongst the work undertaken by GSAL is an annual travel survey, taking the issues identified in them and delivering transport initiatives that benefit pupils’ safety and wellbeing.

Mark Sadler, road safety officer from Leeds City Council’s Influencing Travel Behaviour team, said: “Modeshift STARS will have a major impact on travel choices for children and on their health.

“The aim is to reduce car use around schools, which will improve safety and congestion and help children to develop important personal skills and independence by walking or cycling to school.”

Paul Womersley, director of estates at GSAL, said: “We’re proud to receive this award in acknowledgement of the measures we have introduced under our travel plan.

“The next challenge is to aim for silver and we are committed to working towards this goal.”

Central to GSAL’s travel plan is the safe transfer of its youngest pupils using a shuttle bus between the main site at Alwoodley Gates and the Nursery and Pre-prep at Rose Court in Headingley, so Rose Court was chosen as the venue for the presentation of the award.

During a special road safety assembly for pupils in reception and years 1 and 2, members of the Influencing Travel Behaviour team presented the certificate and plaque to the two five-year-old pupils, before performing a special pantomime ‘The Gift of Life’, which delivered important road safety messages in a fun, interactive and seasonal way.

The gift of education

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Pupils at a local Leeds school took time out of their academic studies earlier this month to help raise thousands of pounds for educational establishments around the world.

Student members of the Hindu and Sikh societies from the Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) handed over a cheque of £5,000 to a representative from the charity Saraswati Vidyalaya – a service project of The Three R’s Education Trust.

DONATION: Members of GSAL’s Hindu and Sikh societies handed over a cheque of £5,000 to the Saraswati Vidyalaya charity, (l-r) Student faith leader GSAL Hindu Society, Akash Ramnath; UK coordinator of Saraswati Vidyalaya, Mr Hashmukh Shah; and Student faith leader GSAL Sikh Society, Manraj Thethi

DONATION: Members of GSAL’s Hindu and Sikh societies handed over a cheque of £5,000 to the Saraswati Vidyalaya charity, (l-r) Student faith leader GSAL Hindu Society, Akash Ramnath; UK coordinator of Saraswati Vidyalaya, Mr Hashmukh Shah; and Student faith leader GSAL Sikh Society, Manraj Thethi

‘Saraswati Vidyalayas’ are one teacher schools in India and Nepal which are helping to transform the lives of children in the south Asian countries by giving them greater access to education.

Thanks to the generosity of students at GSAL, five of these new schools can now be built in remote villages of the two countries, with the total amount donated to the cause by the Leeds school now standing at £10,000.

The main fundraiser each year is the Diwali show, organised by the Hindu and Sikh student faith leaders, an event which brings the whole community together for an evening of Indian food, music and dance.

As well as the Diwali show, a tasty sum is raised each year through curry tastings and cooking demonstrations thanks to the generosity of Mr and Mrs Dabhi of Hansa’s Restaurant in Leeds.

Mr Hashmukh Shah is Saraswati Vidyalaya’s coordinator in the UK and was presented with the cheque by Student faith leaders from GSAL’s Hindu and Sikh societies earlier this month.

He said he was extremely grateful to see such generosity and explained how crucial such funds are for the charity.

He said: “Education is empowerment, and through your sponsorship of schools in India and Nepal you are helping disadvantaged students to overcome illiteracy and resist exploitation.

“Thanks to GSAL we have built nine schools over five years – today’s donation alone will fund five more.”
Akash Ramnath, Hindu student faith leader, added: “Education is a fundamental right for every child and we are proud to support this charity which provides education to children who don’t have the advantages that we take for granted.

“The Hindu and Sikh communities at GSAL are very inclusive and I would like to thank everyone who has supported us, in school and from the wider community.”

Leeds pupils raise thousands for Syria

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Four pupils from the Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) have raised an amazing £17,000 for Islamic Relief’s Syria appeal through organising a school event.

The evening, attended by over 150 parents, pupils and guests, included a play written and performed by pupils, a nasheed performance from the younger members of the school and an inspiring eye witness account, from Zia Salik of Islamic Relief, who has recently returned from the war stricken country.

Noor Ahmed, one of the four organisers and a Muslim Faith Leader at the school said they were overwhelmed by the response: “We were aiming to raise about two thousand pounds so to raise such a large sum of money in one evening is incredible”

FUNDRAISERS: (l-r) Zara Shah, Akeel Bhamani, Anam Malik, Jasmine Iftakhar, Noor Ahmed, Faisal Motashar

FUNDRAISERS: (l-r) Zara Shah, Akeel Bhamani, Anam Malik, Jasmine Iftakhar, Noor Ahmed, Faisal Motashar

The pupils paid tribute to Mrs Zara Shah who is a teacher at the school and who supported the faith leaders in organising the evening.

“The evening really would not have been possible without the input from Mrs Shah so we just want to express our sincere gratitude for all her hard work in enabling us to put the event together,” they said.

Zia Salik who is the Regional Manager for Islamic Relief relayed the harrowing account of what he witnessed on his trip to the country but also expressed his delight at the ongoing support being provided by the community.

He said: “The money raised tonight will help to literally save lives by providing much needed medical supplies and to see four 18 year olds from the school put an event on like tonight encourages us to continue with our campaign to help the people of Syria – they are a credit to both the school and to the community”.

The evening concluded with a meal very generously donated by My Lahore and an auction which saw a hand painting by Islamic Relief volunteer, Fahad Khan, sell for almost £1,000.

For further information on Islamic Reliefs work in Syria please visit www.islamic-relief.org.uk/ure.

Super Sixteen

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To receive an offer from the prestigious Oxbridge universities is something many students can only dream of yet for a group of local teens, that dream has become a reality.

16 students from the Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL), from across multiple specialist subjects, have all been approached by the ‘big two’ as conditional offers were sent out by Oxford and Cambridge University last week.

OFFER: GSAL Upper Sixth student, Trina Seal, has been offered a place at the University of Cambridge to study Natural Sciences

OFFER: GSAL Upper Sixth student, Trina Seal, has been offered a place at the University of Cambridge to study Natural Sciences

The ‘super 16’ make up an astonishing eight per cent of the Upper Sixth’s population, and will all now have extra motivation to succeed in their A2 Levels, which begin later this year.

Out of all the students offered places at the two institutions, half were from Oxford whilst the other eight came from their near neighbours, Cambridge.

One student, offered a conditional place at the latter, was Trina Seal who is hoping to study Natural Sciences (Biology) following her time at GSAL.

After visiting the institution last year for a tour of the facilities, the aspiring teenager says she instantly ‘loved’ the place and is now targeting her place amongst the elite.

“On receiving the offer, I was thrilled and slightly in shock as competition for places was very high,” she said.

“The offer has motivated me to continue working hard in all my subjects and attain the necessary grades to meet the conditions of my offer.”

CLEVER: 16 Students from the GSAL will be hoping to achieve top grades in this summer’s A2 results after receiving conditional offers from the prestigious Cambridge and Oxford University

CLEVER: 16 Students from the GSAL will be hoping to achieve top grades in this summer’s A2 results after receiving conditional offers from the prestigious Cambridge and Oxford University

If successful Trina will begin her University education in September and it is the appeal of the natural sciences course which really interests the keen learner.

“The challenge of the natural sciences course really appealed to me, as well as the opportunity of learning from professors at the forefront of their field,” she said.

“In addition, the course allows the study of many different areas of science in depth which results in a wide base of knowledge that will be useful later in life.

She added: “The school (GSAL) has been a massive help in the application process, from reading several drafts of my personal statement to running sessions at lunchtime to help extend knowledge beyond the subject syllabuses.”

This year Oxbridge attracted a record level of applications, with five students chasing each place and for GSAL’s head of student development, Christine Jagger, to see her school so well represented in the offers was amazing.

She said: “In the face of such stiff competition our students should be extremely proud that they have come through this tough selection process.

“While we work closely with senior students to guide them through those all-important decisions about the courses and institutions that will be right for them, it is their own hard work and determination that ultimately impresses the admissions tutors.”

The seven other students conditionally accepted by Cambridge University include Elinor Clapson, Jacob Gibbs, Christopher Schofield, Vandan Parmar, Jennifer Shaw, Yasmin Khan and Yash Singh.

Heading to Oxford, subject to this summer’s exam results, will be Harry Martin, Isobel Rose, Elliot Pawley, Joe Ball, Georgina Mordue, Sam Harman, and head boys Jack Harrison and Matthew Li.