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Record breakers

LAST HURRAH: Students show that hard work pays off

STUDENTS AT the school where murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence was taught have produced another year of record breaking GCSE results amid plans by the local council to close it next year.

An impressive 70 per cent of the GCSEs taken at Blackheath Bluecoat secondary school, which was formally federated with St Cecila’s five years ago, were awarded five A*-C passes in subjects including maths and English – a 39 percentage point rise compared to last year's figure.

The tremendous results also showed students at the school based in Old Dover Road, Blackheath, southeast London, had performed seven per cent better than the national average of 63.6 per cent.

Students Diekonifeoluwa Falade, Olateju Gbadamosi, Raul Bajimaya and Brefo Gyasi achieved a staggering 25 A* among them.

Gyasi, 16, scored seven A*, and 6 A’s, only a mark away from getting eight A*. The 16-year-old, who will go on to study maths, further maths and physics at college, remarked, “I thought I had done better.”

Gyasi wanted to go to his school sixth form. However the foreseeable closure meant that Years 9 to 11 would be the only students remaining at the school for the time being.

Michael Ajeleti, who teaches science, said it was “no surprise” that Gyasi scored those results.

He said: “We knew that he was going to do it. Gyasi is seen as a template to other students as the best. His results are something to be proud of.”

Ajeleti, a former pupil of Blackheath Bluecoat, is praised as being one of the best teachers at the school.

The 25-year-old joined the school two years ago and has been instrumental in getting the school its top grades. According to his Year 10 pupils who received 100 percent A*- B in triple science, he was a “fantastic teacher” and “made science easy and enjoyable to learn.”

The head teacher, Barnaby Ash, who had moved from a school in Dubai (Dubai English school) to take on the top role of educating 900 teenagers aged 11-16 in 2009, congratulated staff and students for their achievements.

Ash said: “We are delighted that our pupils’ hard work has paid off. One of our aims is to help our Year 11 pupils achieve their full academic potential and it is very pleasing that for the overwhelming majority of our pupils, this is the case. Our warmest congratulations go to all of our Year 11 pupils who are rightly celebrating the results of their hard work.

CLASS ACT: 16-year-old Gyasi is just one of the school’s high achievers

However, he told The Voice he was “disappointed” at the council’s refusal to change its decision to close the school.

He said: “I was devastated when they made the decision in January to close the school down hence the results are a bit bittersweet really. Sweet, obviously, because they are fully deserved by the students and it’s a testament to their hard work, but bitter because ultimately in August 2014, the school will close down.”

According to the Chair of governors, David Prescott, 80 per cent of the school’s intake of students are from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities.

He said: “Although these are Blackheath Bluecoat’s penultimate set of GCSE results, staff, pupils and the governing body are determined to go out on a high.

Hopefully we’ll be able to open a new school in the borough at the earliest opportunity, built on Blackheath Bluecoat School’s solid achievements, determination and hard work.”

Prescott, who has campaigned “hard” with well known activists to prevent the school from closing, is now hoping to start another Church of England school modelled along the lines of Blackheath Bluecoat in the near future.

Although it was recently awarded a “good” Ofsted grade, the school, whose alumni includes England footballers Anton and Rio Ferdinand, has suffered massively from a lack of enrolment.

In 2012, Greenwich Council announced it was to shut the Church of England school, which has been serving the children in the south east London for over 300 years, due to financial constraints.

Ash said: “I think the results show the huge potential that the school has and the transformation that has taken place in the school over the last four years, but sadly the improvements were a bit late for Greenwich Council.”

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