GEMS First Point School students celebrate their A level results on Thursday. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A-Level results for British curriculum schools were announced on Thursday morning and UAE students have again raised the bar of academic excellence, even surpassing last year’s results despite the challenges post by the global health pandemic.

In Dubai, more than 790 pupils from 14 GEMS Education British curriculum schools completed over 2,200 A Levels. Twenty-seven per cent of students achieved an A* grade, while 62 per cent of entries attained A* to B grades and 37 per cent recorded A* to A.

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Highlights include GEMS Wellington Academy — Al Khail, which recorded 49 per cent A* to A grades from their first-ever A Level cohort. In all, 19 per cent of their entries were A* grades and 76 per cent A* to B grades. GEMS First Point School — The Villa also saw strong results, with 54 per cent of students achieving an A* grade, 18 per cent of entries achieving A* and 41 per cent achieving A* to A grades.

190612 GEMS Wellington Academy
GEMS Wellington Academy — Al Khail recorded 49 per cent A* to A grades from their first-ever A Level cohort. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Jodh Singh Dhesi, deputy chief education officer at GEMS Education, told Gulf News: “We are extremely proud of the performance of all our A Level students. These impressive results — in what has been a very challenging year — reflect resilience, diligence and rigour in their approach to learning.

COVID-19 impact

An A-level is required for university admission. Exams, however, were cancelled this year due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Scores were then based on predicted grades given by their teachers and their marks in different subjects, plus academic performance in the past.

Dino Varkey, GEMS Education CEO, said in a statement: “This has been surely one of the most testing periods in the 60-year history of GEMS. But the incredible support of our parents coupled with the dedication and professionalism of teachers have given our hard-working pupils the best possible chance of A level success.

“We have enjoyed a fantastic record in public examinations over the years and last month’s outstanding IB results by our students continued that proud tradition of excellence thanks to the unbreakable partnership of parents, teachers and students,” Varkey explained.

Matthew Tompkins, Principal/CEO of GEMS FirstPoint School – The Villa, added: “We wish all our students well as they graduate to the next phase of their lives. They are no longer our students, but they will always remain members of our GEMS FirstPoint family.”

Mariam Ahmed

Mariam Ahmed, who got 3 A*s in Biology, Chemistry and Maths, shared her study routine: “Immediately after a lesson where we covered new content, I would make notes and revision materials on what we just covered in class. This meant when I had to revise for an exam, I could review the content straightaway with ease. I also balanced my hobbies such as netball and reading with schoolwork by scheduling specific time blocks in my week which were dedicated to hobbies or revision.”

She will study Biological Sciences at Imperial College London and is hoping to do a postgraduate degree in Genetics.

Excellent scores

Abu Dhabi schools also reported outstanding grades, despite the challenges posed by remote learning during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Aldar Academies, a leading private education provider in Abu Dhabi, announced that more than one in three students achieved A* to A in all subjects. These results are reportedly the highest to date for A-level students at Aldar schools, with 99.3 per cent of students passing all subjects and 85.6 per cent of students securing grades from A* to C.

“It is wonderful to be celebrating our highest ever A- level results today; this is testament to the consistent hard work and tenacity of our A-level students. This success has been made possible thanks to the passion and dedication shown by our education team and the immense support from our families,” said Sahar Cooper, chief executive officer at Aldar Education.

Meanwhile, Cranleigh Abu Dhabi announced that over a quarter of its students achieved all A*s and As. In a statement, the school said 23 per cent of students achieved A*s, 49 per cent received A*s and As, and 73 per cent received grades from A* to B.

The 2020-level cohort is Cranleigh’s second group of A-level students, and grades have exceeded last year’s results. The school said grades were 17 per cent better, demonstrating the momentum of the Cranleigh Sixth Form in spite of the backdrop of school closures due to COVID-19 and the challenges of remote learning.

Michael Wilson, school principal, said: “Our A-level students have received grades that reflect their ability and the hard work that they put in during the past two years at Cranleigh. They are moving on to universities of their choice and are well prepared for the next stage of their education. We are hugely proud of them and wish them the very best in their futures.”

Happy with the results

Brighton College Abu Dhabi also reported top grades, with 45.5 per cent of all grades between A* and A, and 70.7 per cent of all grades between A* and B. At Brighton College Al Ain, the overall pass rate was 97 per cent, and 18.2 per cent of students achieved A* grades, while 42.4 per cent secure grades between A* and A, and 74.2 per cent attained A* to B grades.

Speaking to Gulf News, Kiran Mungroo said: “I am very happy to receive my results today - 3A* in Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science. I really wasn’t expecting to get all three A stars. I did pretty well in the mock exams and my grades were good throughout the year, so I wasn’t too worried, despite the change in the exam process.”

Kiran Mungroo

“I actually transferred from Trinidad in Year 12 to Brighton College Abu Dhabi and started a completely different syllabus, so I am incredibly proud of my achievements. I have accepted a place at the University of Waterloo, to study Nanotechnology and will be starting next month,” added the student .

More excellent marks

Dubai College said it has consistently scored in the past three years an average of 60 per cent A*/A grades.

Over at Horizon International School, 29 per cent of exam entries were awarded A*-A, while 75 per cent of entries achieved A*-C grades. One of the outstanding students is Aleezay Atif who achieved results of A, A, B in Business, Media and Economics, respectively.

Aisha Hassan

English College Dubai also maintained outstanding results with 90 per cent their students achieving A*-C grades in various subjects. Some of their outstanding students include Aisha Hassan who got 2A*s and is going to University of Amsterdam; and Nicholas Veljkovic, who got 1 A* and As en route to his academic journey to University of Toronto.

Nicholas Veljkovic