NAT 200820 GCSE GEMS Winchester School 44-1597911040662
Maryam (head girl and last years winner of Sheikha Fatima award) and Saif (head boy) from GEMS Winchester School Dubai celebrate their GCSE results Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai, Abu Dhabi: Satisfaction and elation exemplified the overall reactions of UAE students after receiving their GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) grades on Thursday.

Their hard work and resilience paid off, despite the challenges presented by the global pandemic and after GCSE results came following last week’s criticisms with A-level grades. Students and parents earlier complained about their A-Levels being marked down by more than two grade levels for almost two in five students, resulting in some students missing university places.

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After a policy U-turn by UK board officials, students who took the GCSE were given grades based on whichever is higher between teacher estimates and the moderated, algorithm results. This means overall GCSE results were likely much higher than normal.

GEMS schools

Across the GEMS network, more than 500 students achieved the highest grade 9. Of all grades across GEMS schools, 49 per cent attained grade 9 — 7 (A* — A) and 76 per cent were grade 9 — 5 (A* — B).

In particular, GEMS Wellington International School achieved an extraordinary 26 per cent of entries at grade 9, and 94 per cent at 9 — 5 while GEMS Jumeirah College returned 21 per cent of entries at grade 9 and 98 per cent at 9 — 5.

GEMS Wellington Academy, Al Khail had 48 per cent of grades at 9 — 7 with nearly half of their students achieving a grade 9 and GEMS Wellington Academy, Silicon Oasis scored 57 per cent of grades at 9 — 7 and 92 per cent of grades at 9 — 5.

GEMS Winchester School, Jebel Ali reached 72 per cent of grades at 9 — 5; while GEMS FirstPoint School — The Villa achieved 80 per cent at 9 — 5. GEMS Founders School, Dubai performed superbly, with 44 per cent of students achieving a grade 9 and 80 per cent of entries at 9 — 5 while GEMS Our Own English High School, Al Ain achieved 56 per cent of grades at 9 — 7. GEMS Cambridge International School, Abu Dhabi, meanwhile, attained 46 per cent of grades at 9 — 7

Jodh Singh Dhesi, Deputy Chief Education Officer, GEMS Education, said: “I congratulate all of our students for their outstanding results at IGCSE and GCSE. We are proud of the performance of all our GCSE students in what has been a challenging year. These results reflect not only the hard work and determination of our students but, also showcases the support of their parents and the dedication of our teachers. We wish all our young people every continued success in their future endeavours.”

First GCSE results

Dubai British School Jumeirah Park (DBSJP) exceeded expectations as it celebrated its first-ever set of GCSE results. The school’s average predicted grade for 2020 cohort was 5.00 but the actual average achieved grade was 6.88.

“We couldn’t be happier with our first ever set of GCSE results. They have certainly set the bar high for the years to come. Despite all of the confusion and angst over the allocation of grades, we are very confident that our students have received the grades that they deserve and that they have worked so hard for over the last 2-years,” said Brendon Fulton, DBSJP executive principal.

The school’s highest number of grades achieved was by Youssef Saad, who got nine grade 9’s. The total number of exam entries 275 in 25 different subjects, out of which 37 got A*/9-8; 58 got A*-A /9-7; 65 got A*-B /9-6 82; 98 A*-C /9-4 98 and 4 got 5 A*-C/ 9, including 100 in English and Maths.

Abu Dhabi

In Abu Dhabi, Aldar Academies announced that more than 95 per cent of its students have achieved GCSE grades between 9 — 4, which is a new record for its schools. Overall results at the Aldar schools are essentially 7 per cent higher than last year.

More than 56 per cent of students achieved grades above a 7, with over 21 per cent achieving a grade 9, which is five times the 2019 national average.

“I am elated with the results across our schools; they have shown what can be achieved through hard work and resilience. This has been an unprecedented academic year and thanks to the future-focused education we apply at Aldar Academies, as well as the consistent dedication shown by our students and staff, supported by our amazing families, we have once again enjoyed record results,” said Sahar Cooper, chief executive officer at Aldar Education.

Aldar schools had earlier this month reported their highest ever A-level grades to date, with Al Ain Academy securing the highest reported results in UAE.

Emirati students excel

Brighton College Al Ain pupils also performed at a very high level and are celebrating another year of excellent GCSE results, with the school’s Emirati pupils excelling with their best ever GCSE grades.

Following the school’s outstanding A Level results, which were announced last week, the overall pass rate for GCSE exams this year for grades 9-4 was an impressive 98 per cent.

Consistently included in the UAE’s best performing schools, 42 per cent of exams taken this year by Brighton College Al Ain students resulted in top grades 9-8, and 61 per cent of exams taken resulted in grades 9-7.

Janna Al Riyami, a 16-year-old Emirati student at Al Mamoura Academy in Abu Dhabi, was delighted with her grades. She bagged the highest possible grade of 9 in Arabic, French, Math, English Language and English Literature, achieved an 8 in Chemistry and Physics, and also got the topmost grade of A* in Food Technology.

“I’m the eldest in my family, and my siblings are now looking up to me as a role model. To be honest, I was apprehensive as I waited for the email from my school. But once I saw my grades, I was really happy and proud of myself, and so were my parents,” Al Riyami told Gulf News.

For now, Al Riyami says the family will celebrate her achievements with cake, and mark it with a celebratory meal after the COVID-19 outbreak subsides.

“In future, I am debating between studying Sustainable Engineering, because I love Math and Physics and because sustainability is very important, and Mental Health, for which I feel there should be much more awareness and support,” she added.

Other notable schools

Brighton College Al Ain pupils who achieved outstanding GCSE grades this year include the following: Sara Kidher (British) 8 Grade 9’s, 1 Grade 7; Isaac White (Australian) 7 Grade 9’s, 1 Grade 8; Laila Dawelbeit (British) 7 Grade 9’s, 2 Grade 8’s; Jana Abdel Aty (British) 6 Grade 9’s, 1 Grade 8, 2 Grade 7’s; Shaikha Aisha AlDhaheri (Emirati) 2 Grade 9’s, 4 Grade 8’s, 1 Grade 7, 1 Grade 5; Fadel Alshamsi (Emirati) 3 Grade 9’s, 2 Grade 8’s, 1 Grade 7, 3 Grade 6’s

Headmaster of Brighton College Al Ain, Dr Ken Greig said: “This has been an extremely difficult year for our exam groups, but I’m pleased that the awarding bodies have finally placed their trust in Centre Assessed Grades. The hard work done by pupils and their teachers has resulted in yet another superb set of results which give our pupils an excellent basis for success at A Level, and beyond at University.”

Successful students from Brighton College Abu Dhabi. Clockwise from top left: Gyubo Kong, Gyeongeun Noh, Gustavs Cerps, Amala Ayyar, Ella Menane and Ashna Chaturvedi. Image Credit: Supplied

Brighton College Abu Dhabi likewise excelled with 30 per cent GCSEs grade 9 and over half of all GCSEs graded 9 or 8. The College is celebrating its best ever GCSE results, despite the unprecedented circumstances and the challenges of remote learning. This year’s group has shown immense resilience over the last few months and laid some very strong foundations for the future.

Sara Kidher, from Brighton College Al Ain who got 8 Grade 9’s and 1 Grade 7, told Gulf News: “I am over the moon with my results. All the tears and stress has been worth it. My plan is to start with taking 4 A Levels next, and I plan on thrashing those results as well. My ultimate goal is to study Medicine or Law in the UK.”

Ella Menane, Brighton College Abu Dhabi who got 10 Grade 9’s was equally ecstatic. She said: “I’m really very happy and relieved because it was a very uncertain situation this year. Now, I’m excited to be entering Sixth Form and will push myself to do the best I can do and will study Physics, Chemistry, Math and Further Math before pursuing a career in Chemical Engineering.”

Meanwhile, Dubai British School Emirates Hills saw another successful set of GSCE results, with 668 examination entries taken by 69 students, out of whom 41 per cent achieved A* – A (9-8) grades; with 83 per cent of all grades being inclusive of A*– B (9 – 6) and a 100 per cent pass rate overall.

Simon Jodrell, school principal, told Gulf News: “We are incredibly proud of each and every student. The unprecedented and uncertain circumstances faced in the past weeks have demonstrated their strength of resolve, character and resilience.”