News & Press
Three friends celebrating excellent GCSE results at Uxbridge College are among those on their way to further study thanks to their achievements.
Science students (left-right) Nazila Nadiri, Iqra Razzaq and Simranjit Kaur, are all coming back to college to do A Levels then plan to continue to university, whilst others who completed Maths or English GCSE alongside their vocational qualifications are now able to take up their degree places.
Uxbridge College Sixth Form Centre, which offers a full-time one year GCSE programme for students who are either doing the exams for the first time or who have not fulfilled their potential at school, achieved a 67% pass rate at GCSE grades 9-4 (equivalent to the old A*-C).
The college’s top performer at GCSE this year was Iqra Razzaq (18), who achieved grade 9s - the equivalent to top scores at what used to be A* - in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, a grade 8 (formerly A*) in Maths and a grade 6 in English (formerly B).
Iqra, who took her GCSEs for the first time at Uxbridge College after moving to the UK from Italy to study, said: “Uxbridge College is a good college and I am really happy to have chosen it. The teachers are nice and friendly and work hard to help you achieve your goals - although you have to study hard too. I have made a lot of friends and I am glad to be continuing A levels. I am planning to go on and study medicine.”
Nazila Nadiri (18), who also wants to study medicine and was taking GCSEs for the first time, achieved grades 9 in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, and grades 7 in Maths and English. She said: “I am very happy with my grades especially as I thought I was going to fail maths - it was very hard! I think I have progressed as a person at Uxbridge College, as well as getting good results, the teachers have been very helpful.”
Simranjit Kaur (17), who also achieved high grades in Maths, sciences and English after taking GCSEs for the first time, said: “I am happy with my results and it is thanks to the teachers and the extra classes when needed that I have done so well.”
Jack Harris, Head of Uxbridge College Sixth Form Centre, said: “Our one year full-time GCSE students have shown a strong performance yet again and we are very pleased to see so many of them progressing to A Levels or other Level 3 qualifications in vocational subjects. Whilst our students do not do the same number of GCSEs as at school, as they are completing the programme over just one year instead of two, it is still a demanding programme which is only successful thanks to the hard work and high standards of students and staff alike. Congratulations to everyone.”
In addition to the full-time GCSE programme, students who took GCSE English and/or Maths alongside vocational programmes are also celebrating.
Emadeddin Golpayegani (18), completed a BTEC Extended Diploma in IT at Uxbridge College this year, but needed to pass his GCSE in English at grade 4 or above, which he studied alongside his Level 3 Diploma. He is now off to study a degree in Software Development at University of Westminster after achieving a grade 6 in GCSE English.
Anastacia Korshoonoff (17), who has achieved grade 5 in both her English and Maths GCSEs during her first year alongside a Level 3 Performing Arts course at Uxbridge College, now plans to apply for a degree in acting at Drama School.
Dr Darrell DeSouza, Principal of HCUC (Harrow College Uxbridge College, the merged college group) said: “I am delighted to see so many students in a position to go on and study at a higher level either at college or beyond thanks to their GCSE achievements at HCUC. As well as the many opportunities that come out of our successful one year full-time GCSE programmes, students who have not yet achieved Maths and English or need to raise their grades in these subjects, can make that essential step to get them into university or other Higher Education programmes.”
Top A Level achievements at Uxbridge College this year have included two students winning places at Cambridge University, and another on his way to Brighton & Sussex Medical School.
Staff and students are celebrating strong results and some fantastic individual performances, with 40% of students achieving A*-B and 74% A*-C. The overall pass rate at grades A*-E was 98%. AS Level pass rates at Uxbridge College were 81%.
Individual success stories included:
Rumail Azhar (pictured left) is on his way to Cambridge University to study maths after achieving a fantastic set of grades with four A* grades, in Chemistry, Physics, Maths and Further Maths. He also had to pass an additional advanced maths exam called STEP with high grades to be admitted to Cambridge.
As he picked up his A Level results Rumail (19), said: “I have been awake all night, I did not think I had done well enough in the STEP exam or Further Maths A Level and had given up hope of going to Cambridge – so it is a surprise but I am very happy and so are my parents.
“The teaching has been of a high standard - I got lucky with my teachers at Uxbridge College, I didn’t know what it was going to be like being in a new college but everyone’s been very helpful to me, including with my personal statement for UCAS. Maths is a passion for me and a Cambridge offer is life-changing. I want to go on and do a PhD in maths.”
Before studying at Uxbridge College Rumail, who was this year’s top A Level performer at Uxbridge College, lived in Dubai.
Maryam Mahmood (pictured with Principal Darrell DeSouza) is also going to Cambridge and will be studying Social and Political Science at Downing College. Maryam achieved A grades in Sociology, English and Media studies.
Erdi Tewelde (21), achieved A grades in Biology and Chemistry and a B in Physics, and will be studying Medicine at Brighton & Sussex Medical School. Erdi has been at Uxbridge College for three years, including studying GCSEs, before progressing to A Level. Originally from Eritrea, he has always wanted to become a doctor. He said: “I had family at Uxbridge College and it had a good reputation which is why I chose to come here. It’s been exciting to be in the UK but hard to be away from family - it’s been a tough journey but Uxbridge College has been fantastic in terms of teachers and I have had great support.”
Puneet Grewal (19), was the second highest performer at Uxbridge College, achieving A* grades in Maths and Further Maths and an A in Chemistry. She is now going to UCL to study maths. She said: “It is hard work that pays off – I really wanted to go to UCL so I am very pleased.”
Yamen Badran (20), came to the UK from Syria and has now achieved an A* in Maths, an A in Chemistry and a B in Physics and is going to Queen Marys to study Mechanical Engineering. He also took his GCSEs at Uxbridge College. “I am so happy to have got my place – I was so worried about my maths - the exam was awful!”
Emily Harris (18), got two A grades and a B in English, Politics and Law, and is going to study Politics and International Relations at Royal Holloway College, University of London. She said: “I did really badly last year and have had a lot of work to do but it just goes to show you can catch up if you try."
Uxbridge College students may go on to university, into jobs, to further study at college, or take up the increasingly popular option of an Apprenticeship.
Jack Harris, Head of Uxbridge College Sixth Form Centre, which teaches A Levels, GCSEs and vocational science, said: “A massive congratulations to all our students - the numbers progressing to university are extremely impressive, especially with students going to prestigious universities such at Cambridge and winning places on competitive subjects such as medicine.
“As well as our strong A Level results, we are also very pleased with our students’ AS Level performance. The majority of educational institutions no longer offer AS level exams at the end of the first year of A Levels, but we continue to do so as it gives both the learners and their teachers a real indication of progress. It also gives students the opportunity to change course at the end of the first year, if they find that the A Level route is not the right path for them. They will still leave with AS qualifications that carry UCAS points and can be combined with other qualifications such as BTEC to enhance entry to university or employment.
“We would certainly encourage school students receiving GCSEs next week to look at college as an option once they receive their results.”
Dr Darrell DeSouza, Principal of HCUC (Harrow College Uxbridge College, the merged college group), said: “We are extremely pleased with the strong A Level and AS Level results at both Uxbridge College and Harrow College and the many individual success stories.
“Many of our A Level students and those on equivalent courses do not come from the strongest GCSE backgrounds and it is testament to the quality of the academic and vocational training and education and facilities, as well as the additional support offered here if needed, that they go on to do so well.
“The successes in science and maths subjects at both colleges this year and previously, pave the way for our exciting new Institute of Technology due to open next year. We are very proud to have been chosen for this as just one of 12 organisations nationally – and for the introduction of the new technical equivalents to A Levels, the T Levels.”
Laraine Smith OBE whose leadership at Uxbridge College and more recently of the merged college grouping HCUC (a merger of Uxbridge College and Harrow College) is retiring after nearly 16 years at Uxbridge. Laraine has overseen top student results, millions of pounds worth of building improvements, and the successful merger of the two west London colleges from August 2017.
The Australian-born Group Principal and CEO of HCUC said: “I feel extremely privileged not only to have had the opportunity to play my part in the education and training of young people and adults in west London, particularly over the last 16 years based at Uxbridge, but also to have worked alongside so many great people along the way.
“It has been a profoundly rewarding experience to see so many students and apprentices from so many different backgrounds achieve and grow through what we have been able to offer here, and I feel extremely proud of having been part of an organisation that has made this not only possible but a regular cause for celebration and success.
“From our staff in teaching and support roles, to our governors and stakeholder and scrutiny panel members, to our community and employer partners, I would like to acknowledge the dedication of everyone who makes HCUC the dynamic and dedicated place to study and train that it is and say what a pleasure it has been to work with them all!
“I know that I will miss the place and the people tremendously, but after a 35 year career in education in this country, including most recently seeing the HCUC merger through its first two years, I am ready to shift down a few gears and hand the baton to Darrell DeSouza. I leave with absolute confidence that there is every reason to believe that HCUC will move forward to bigger, better things in his extremely capable hands.”
The current Vice-Principal of HCUC Dr Darrell DeSouza, officially takes up the Group Principal & CEO post from 22 August 2019.
Achievements and developments during Laraine’s time at Uxbridge College and HCUC include:
* No. 1 college in London for 16-18 year olds for a number of years and most recently for HCUC in 2017/18 - QAR (Qualification Achievement Rate) in DfE National Achievement Rate Tables
* Outstanding award from Ofsted for Uxbridge College in 2008 which was maintained thereafter
* HCUC chosen as one of 12 colleges and university providers nationally to operate an Institute of Technology with key partners including Brunel University London, Heathrow, Fujitsu and West London Business
* Other employer and community partnerships have been developed including with Hillingdon Council, local MPs, intu Uxbridge shopping centre, SEGRO and Barratt London, Hillingdon Chamber of Commerce, Hayes Town Partnership, Chelsea FC Foundation Trust, Uxbridge Cricket Club and Thames Valley Cavaliers basketball club
* Improvements at Uxbridge College’s Uxbridge Campus including: £6m new build accommodation housing creative studies and health and social care in 2015, £6.2m modernisation and expansion of the refectory, new plumbing and gas workshops, and additional classrooms and offices in 2013; £5m IT and Media Block opened by HRH The Countess of Wessex in 2011; £6m sports development including national standard basketball courts and outdoor Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) in 2010
* £5m improvements at Uxbridge College’s Hayes campus to create a contemporary frontage, and redeveloped theatre, rehearsal studios and social areas, completed in 2015
* Current improvements at Harrow College including an £8 million refurbishment and redevelopment at the Harrow-on-the-Hill campus and £5m of work at the Harrow Weald site
* Creation of West Met Skills recruitment and training provider for west London Employers in 2017
* Hosting student recognition awards with guest stars including: adventurer and author Anna McNuff; international hurdler Julz Adeniran; BBC Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills, and MOBO Awards founder Kanya King
* Laraine was awarded an OBE for services to Further Education in 2010's New Year Honours List.
Laraine joined Uxbridge College as Vice-Principal in 2003, moving up to the lead role at Uxbridge in August 2007, and a decade later was selected as Principal of HCUC following the merger of the two colleges to become a single legal entity. Post-merger Laraine also continued to lead Uxbridge College, whilst Pat Carvalho, Deputy CEO of HCUC, has remained at the helm at Harrow College.