Ark Putney Academy students celebrate A Level results success

4 min read

Wandsworth Times

A student living in Roehampton whose family fled Somalia’s civil war is “very happy” today as she has secured her first choice university to study law.

Somali Nagma Abdi said she was “very happy” with her A-level results of A in sociology, just four marks from an A*, as well as B in psychology and C in media studies.

The 18-year-old has secured her first choice of university, the London School of Economics, where she will study law.

“I feel very happy, I’ve worked very hard, and obviously with Covid it’s been quite challenging,” she said at her school, Ark Putney Academy.

“It made everything more difficult, you were very unsure what was happening.

“We weren’t sure whether the exams would happen, then there were questions about grade boundaries and the questions because we’ve had changed curriculums.”

Ms Abdi arrived in the UK at the age of seven after her family fled Somalia’s civil war.

Wandsworth Times: Nagma Abdi (left) and Zuhoor Haibe with their A-level results at Ark Putney Academy, south west London (photo: PA)Nagma Abdi (left) and Zuhoor Haibe with their A-level results at Ark Putney Academy, south west London (photo: PA)

“English became a big challenge – it took me about a year and a half to work out grammar – but in the end, everything went well for me,” she said.

Following her experience of homelessness, Andria Kamil, who is celebrating A-level results of A in sociology, B in psychology and B in history, said it is important for universities to admit disadvantaged students.

The 18-year-old, from Roehampton, had a “nerve-wracking” morning after missing her first choice of university, but secured her insurance choice to study law at City, University of London.

“It was nerve-wracking this morning because I opened the Ucas portal and I didn’t get the answers so I came in early to sort it out.

“I’m excited and happy because I knew I wanted to do law,” she said at her school, Ark Putney Academy.

“All these two years building up to it has led to this moment and it’s crazy because everything I’ve done is on this piece of paper.

“We’ve been through a lot as a year group and I’m just proud of all of us.

“We’ve always been the first year group to experience something. I was nervous doing exams again, walking into what used to be our assembly hall, this time to sit A-levels, but we tried our best and I think it paid off.”

Ms Kamil found the cancellation of GCSE exams “a blessing in disguise” as she was moved into temporary accommodation in east London, meaning a commute between 5am and 8pm each day to reach school.

She said universities should “definitely” focus on disadvantaged students.

“Everyone has their own struggles, disregarding their backgrounds and whatnot, but it just depends how you take it on and manage your problem. I just tried my hardest and now I get to go to uni, so I’m excited,” she added.

Rand El-Shebli, from Battersea in south London, felt her generation had not been treated fairly as she opened her A-level results.

The 17-year-old is now going on to study psychology at Queen Mary University of London, after achieving A in media studies, B psychology and B in sociology.

“I was expecting a bit better, but overall I’m happy because for those to be the first exams since SATs, it’s a big achievement and everyone should be proud regardless of what they got,” she told PA news agency.

“We’re the first year to never have sat GCSEs then go straight into A-levels. We did have some help but I feel like it’s not entirely fair but overall I think people did get what they deserved.”

The Ark Academy Putney school-leaver added: “At the end of the day, I feel like it’s pretty unfair for your whole secondary school and A-level life to be determined by just one grade and three papers that you sit. Your future depends on that, which isn’t the best.

“I did expect the grade boundaries to be lower but if anything they are not actually low, which again is not really fair. It has become normal for people to get A*, and I think they wanted that grade to be reserved for a particular type of student this year.”

Alfie Astley, 18, another pupil at Ark Putney Academy said he was “very happy” and “relieved it’s all over” after receiving A* in geography, A in art and A in biology in his A-levels.

He is now going to Loughborough University, his first choice, to study graphic design, where he will become the first in his family to study for a degree.

After opening his results envelope, Alfie said: “With Covid it was quite strange, in and out of school constantly and with the struggles of online learning.

“It never really felt real until the last few months when the A-levels started and then it was a mad rush to be prepared and sit the exams, as there was a big question over whether we could actually sit the exams.

“It made me feel a lot more uncertain about it all. My GCSEs were completely cancelled and we got teacher-assessed grades.

“It feels very great to be the first in my family to go to university.

“I know that some of my friends feel a bit disappointed or frustrated; they’ve received offers but not getting into their first choice.

“I’m very grateful that I wasn’t negatively impacted by anything that I had no control over, such as grade inflation.”


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