Jewish students were “over the moon” on Thursday after racking up record results as their GCSE grades filtered through, but some of the community’s best performing schools did less well than last year.
This is the second year of the new 1-9 grading system, with 7 now the equivalent of the old A-grade, 8 equivalent to an A* and 9 amounting to an A** rating. Only three percent of results across the country fell into this top category.
As with last year, there was little to separate the best performing Jewish secondary schools in London, with JFS in Kenton, JCoSS in New Barnet, Yavneh College in Borehamwood and Hasmonean High School in Hendon all at the top of their game.
Fee-paying Immanuel College also managed to hit the high notes, while Hasmonean High School just pipped the others for the best Jewish state school in the south-east, with 53 percent of all grades marked 7-9, on a par with last year.
The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School achieved their best results on record for
the top grade at GCSE. 73.4 percent of all grades were 9, 8 and A*.
Another 23 percent of Habs students have achieved 10 or more straight 9, 8 and A*s, with 51.1 percent at grade 9.
Special mention was given to Habs student Max Joseph, a member of the Habs Jewish Society who is set to attend a UJIA leadership course. He achieved ten results marked at grade 9.
Katherine Brice, head of Hasmonean Girls’ school, said: “These impressive results are the product of hard work by the girls who have maintained their commitment to Jewish Studies alongside their secular subjects.”
Libby Levey, who achieved an incredible haul of 11 grades marked 8 or 9, said she was “absolutely over the moon, and more than a little surprised,” before paying tribute to her “incredible teachers”.
Debbie Lebrett, head of Hasmonean Boys’ School, said: “We are particularly proud of our students’ achievements given that they have sat very challenging GCSE examinations. We are delighted to congratulate each one of them.”
Second to Hasmonean was cross-denominational New Barnet school JCoSS, which had a “record-breaking year” with 50 percent of results graded at 7 or above, a substantial increase from 40 percent last year, while 18 percent got the highest 9 grade, and 83 percent registered grade 5 or above.
Headteacher Patrick Moriarty was particularly thrilled at the excellence shown in the three sciences, as well as in Jewish education and history, with seven students notching up at least nine grade 9s, of whom three scored 10.
“We’re delighted,” he said. “These outstanding results surpass our already strong track record. Hard work and resilience, married to the expertise and care of their teachers, enabled students to meet the increased challenges of new specifications with flair. I am exceptionally proud of students and colleagues alike.”
The school’s top performers included Tom Mosseri, Lucy Ritter, David Robertson, Tammy Berlinsky, Ben Brent, Aran Haber, Emma Wilkins, Ethan Cohn, Jacob Inwald, Aaron Maurice, Adam Tobiansky, Eliana Jackson and Yuval Kaufman.
At JFS, 46 percent of grades were marked 7-9, a fall of five percent on last year, while 80 percent were 5 or above, compared to 91 percent in 2018. Headteacher Rachel Fink called the results “outstanding,” noting that 28 percent were at 8 or 9.
“The results are the culmination of the collective hard work or students and staff, with support from home,” she said. “I am deeply proud of all our students who have shown such commitment to their studies as a step towards their future goals.”
Fink added that many had “made remarkable progress in terms of their value-added grades” while others had “succeeded despite personal challenges that impacted on them over the last two years”.
There was also a slight dip in overall performance at Yavneh, with 44 percent of grades marked 7-9, a drop of six percent on last year, while 90 percent reached grade 5 or above, compared to 92 percent in 2018.
Yavneh headteacher Spencer Lewis said it was “another fantastic set of GCSE results,” after last week’s A-level results established the college as the country’s best-performing non-selective state school.
“Pupils have worked very hard and should be really proud of what they have achieved. We are also extremely proud of those pupils who have taken vocational courses in Business Studies, PE and Digital Media and who did incredibly well.”
Special mention went to Yavneh students Josh Angel, Georgia Reback, Gabrielle Adda, Georgia Fishman, Zev Grunwald, Talia Rabinowitz, Scott Cowen, Sam Wagman, Jess Kosky, Emily Keen, Joel Shamash, Nathan Kay and Gaby Landau.
Kantor King Solomon High School in Barkingside did not reveal what percentage of grades were marked 7-9 but said it had been another year of “progress” and paid tribute to students of English, Maths, Jewish Studies and Religious Studies.
Exceptional performances were noted for Manoor Afseh, Alessandra Catana, Pratap Guha, Lok-Yee Lam, Abi Marcovitch, Rafail Rafailov, Natasha Schiffman, Louisa Sherman, Emily Sweeney, Ayra Tariq and Smilte Vilimaite.
Headteacher Hannele Reece said: “I am tremendously proud of the whole year group. We have maintained our amazing success at GCSE.”
At fee-paying Immanuel College, the results were described as “outstanding,” with 70 percent of all grades marked 7-9. A jaw-dropping 29 percent of Immanuel grades this year reached the top mark of 9, doubling the number of highest hitters compared to 2018.
Special mention was given to Gideon Futerman, Raquel Menashe and Sarah Root, who achieved a clean sweep of top marks in all their subjects.
Headteacher Gary Griffin said: “We congratulate all our Year 11 students on receiving such an excellent set of results, which continue to break College records. We are so proud of everyone’s accomplishments, which are the culmination of hard work and dedication by students and teachers alike.”
The Board of Deputies congratulated all students but vice-president Edwin Shuker said there appeared to be a worrying decline in the number taking Modern Hebrew.
“B’hatzlacha to all those receiving GCSE results today – and mazel tov to pupils, teachers and schools for all your hard work,” he said.
“The numbers of entries for Modern Hebrew have declined quite significantly, which is concerning against an otherwise upward trend of modern foreign languages.”
While acknowledging that it “could be an anomalous fluctuation, as does happen with smaller subjects,” he said: “We will continue to work with exam boards and schools to ensure Modern Hebrew remains an option for our pupils.
“We will engage with Jewish schools to understand whether this is just an anomaly or a systemic issue and how we might address it together.”