Last week was an anxious time for many GCSE pupils across the UK. But not for nine-year-old Rafi Ashkenazi-Bakes.
While parents and students suffered sleepless nights amid controversy over the government’s grading system, the high-achieving youngster from Bushey awoke to the news he had earned the top grade in GCSE foundation maths.
Rafi, due to start Year five in September, sat three online maths papers in the summer after enrolling as a private candidate, earning a five overall, the highest grade on the foundation tier.
“We were very lucky that our exam centre said that they would give them invigilated exams,” Rafi’s mum Lily, 50, told Jewish News on Tuesday.
“He was one of the very few children that actually managed to sit a real-life exam,” she said. “I really feel actually for some of the kids this year it’s been awful, especially the private candidates like him.”
“So I just feel very lucky that he was actually able to sit in exam and have a really valid grade. We’re just super proud really,” she added.
While the family suspected Rafi had done well, the Hertsmere Jewish Primary School pupil jumped up and down in excitement after opening his result envelope.
“We’d decorated the room with a congratulations, so by the time he’d woken up, we said ‘come down and open it’ … and he realised he’d got the top grade,” she said.
“We went out to dinner. We went into town and just made a bit of a fuss of him. He’s one of five. He got a little party for him and it was cute,” she added.
Rafi, who taught himself how to code in his spare time during the lockdown, is also a “mad Chelsea fan” and hopes to become a football player when he grows up.