GCSE 2014 montagePictured: 1) In the centre is Fariha Rehman who achieved the highest GCSE grades at Uxbridge College collecting her results with friends Mehrak Tariq (left) and Attiya Abbas. 2) The College’s second top performer, Azrat Bilal.

Students at Uxbridge College are celebrating their GCSE results this year.

• Grades A*-C awarded to 58% of those taking their exams in one year, which was 10% above the national average

• Impressive high grade results (A*-C) achieved in subjects including Maths 71%, English Literature 75%, Statistics 64% and Physics 64%

• 99% pass rate at A*-G.

Because students at Uxbridge College take their GCSEs in one year – either for the first time or to improve previous results - they do up to five subjects instead of the many taken in schools.

Individual stories include:

Fariha Rehman (17), from Hayes, who achieved the highest grades in GCSEs at Uxbridge College this year. Fariah, who got A* grades in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics and an A grade in English, plans to stay on and take A levels. She said: “I am more than pleased – I have done better than I expected. I have worked hard, without working hard you can’t achieve and everyone has been very helpful.”

Azrat Bilal (18), from Southall, who achieved excellent grades despite many challenges in his life, including losing his whole family at a young age and having to learn English at the same time as studying for his GCSEs. Originally from Afghanistan, Azrat arrived in the UK in 2012 speaking no English – and has now achieved A* grades in Biology and Physics, A grades in Chemistry and Maths, and a C in English
Azrat said: “When I was a child I heard my mother say "I want my son to be a doctor" and this has never left my mind. It always gives me a kind of courage and motivation because I want to fulfil what my Mum had expected me.

“In 2005 I lost my parents and sibling in an accident in our village. My uncle took me in to his family but I still faced a lot of problems as an orphan living with a different family.

“The situation in Afghanistan also meant I could not continue my life there, so I had to flee my country leaving everything behind, including friends, family and study - but I was happy that I would be safe in the UK.

“When I first came to Uxbridge College I felt I had no hope of getting to this stage because everyone there could speak fluent English and I couldn't. I had learned a little English but my pronunciation was so bad I did not dare to speak out loud. But from that first day I was so determined and I started working very hard, coming to College at 9am whether I had a class or not, studying until 7pm and then going to Brunel University's library and was staying there till 11pm or midnight.

“I have worked hard and it has paid off but everyone has encouraged me and helped me – what I have got is due to my friends and teachers too.”

Emilie Cunning (17), from Ruislip who was among Uxbridge College’s top three GCSE achievers this year having sat her exams after missing school through illness. She said: “I am really happy and will stay on now to do A levels. Everyone has been really helpful at Uxbridge College and the teachers are really supportive.”

Erenato Celami (19), of Uxbridge, who achieved one A*, three As and a B, and now plans to take A levels. Erenato came to the UK from Italy to play for QPR Under-18s but had to retire from the sport due to injury.

Abdullah Qadiri (19), of Southall, who achieved A grades in Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Physics and a C in English, and now plans to take A levels.

Megan O’Callaghan (17), from Hayes, was among the top ten performers after overcoming agoraphobia and severe anxiety. She missed nearly a year of school the year before she came to College and could not leave her house for six months. When she started College she struggled to attend at first due to anxiety levels, but managed to achieve A grades in English Language, English Literature and Media Studies, and Bs in Maths and Biology.

Megan said: “I’m so happy right now and I want other people who have found it hard to come back to school or college to know it is possible. Coming to Uxbridge College was the best thing I ever did. I missed most of Year 11 and didn’t come out of the house for six or seven months and it was really hard at first to start going out again. I came to College thinking it would be the same as school which had been really difficult, but it was completely different and everyone was so supportive. Now I can do the A levels I want and I never thought that would be possible.”

Ray Ferris, Director of 14-19 Strategy, at Uxbridge College, said:

"As ever it is a real privilege to see how far so many of our students have come during their GCSE year at Uxbridge College. We are one of relatively few colleges to offer a full GCSE programme outside school enabling students to progress to A levels, BTECs and other higher levels of study. For those who do not achieve GCSEs before the age of 16 for whatever reason, this opportunity can make a key difference to the rest of their lives. We are particularly pleased that both our Maths and English A*-C pass rates are well above the national averages for the sector”.