In amongst the very many stories and the strange set of circumstances surrounding this year’s results, it is sometimes easy to forget that there is a generation of young people who have suffered a very challenging few months and who have had to ‘dig deep’ to respond to something nobody could have ever anticipated.

At Croydon High, we are so very proud of every single pupil, not just for the outcomes they have secured through this bizarre and unprecedented process but, more importantly, for everything they have achieved during their time with us and for what they will go on to achieve in their bright and exciting futures.

When it was evident examinations had to be cancelled this year, the decision to award grades was to ensure that the national cohort of students due to take those examinations were still able to access a ‘passport’ to progress to the next stage of their careers. We are now sharing in the excitement of those students as they prepare to take that next step as we also celebrate the many achievements that have made it possible.

Our remarkable pupils have not had the chance to prove themselves in this year’s examinations but we know that they will go on to thrive, impress and succeed in coming years and, at the end of their university courses or in professional qualifications, they will then be given that chance and we know they will achieve outstanding success.

Amongst the many notable achievements…

  • Head Girls, Josie Cunnington and Maddie Brookes are also following their dreams. Josie’s achievement of A* grades in Biology and Maths and an A in Chemistry sends her to Nottingham to read Medicine. Meanwhile, Maddie’s passion for Geography leads her to Durham, with an A* in that subject at A level, along with A grades in Biology and Chemistry.
  • Natural Sciences at Durham is the course that Ria Dhopatkar had set her heart on and her stunning achievement of A* grades in all her subjects – Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology – means her place there is assured. We feel sure that Ria will continue to excel as an undergraduate at this highly respected university and we are extremely proud of her achievements.
  • Katharine Walker is also on her way to a prestigious destination; she is heading to Cambridge where she will be reading Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion. Katharine takes with her all A* grades in English Literature, History and R.S. along with the best wishes of everyone at Croydon High. We are extremely proud of Katharine’s journey from Nursery to straight A* student and we wish her every possible success in her future.
  • Aspiring medic Mariya Jamil is also celebrating straight A* grades, in Biology, Chemistry, Math and R.S. Mariya joined Croydon High for the Sixth Form, embraced all the opportunities available to her and is now ready to make her dreams a reality as she heads to Birmingham to read Medicine. Rhea Patel is to be hugely congratulated too with A* grades in Biology and Chemistry and an A in Spanish taking her to Birmingham, where her career as a dentist begins to take shape.
  • Another aspiring medic, Sewa Sangowawa, is also on her way with straight A grades in Biology, Chemistry and Spanish taking her to Leeds.
  • Esther Green has, as she puts it “achieved her dream” of accepting her place at the University of Glasgow’s Law School. With an A* in History and A grades in Psychology and Classical Civilisation, Esther will no doubt approach her new life in Scotland with energy and enthusiasm, just as she has always done at Croydon High. We are very proud of Esther and look forward to watching her bright future unfold.
  • Maya Patel will be studying Geography at UCL next year; an A* in that subject, another in Spanish and an A in Latin means she comfortably secures her place and we are delighted for her.

So much more than grades on a sheet…

Every year, around this time, we talk about academic success being ‘more than just grades’ and this rings true more than ever this year. The Class of 2020 have shown themselves to be a group of diverse passions and interests, united by the common bonds of high aspiration and strong friendships.

Every individual student has their own story with unique experiences and accomplishments, and this is, in part, what has made the Sixth Form at Croydon High such a vibrant and positive community over the past two years. It is impossible to showcase each one here, but without doubt, every one of them has contributed to making it an unforgettable year group and we look forward to celebrating that with them as soon as it is possible.

  • As a member of the England U21 Nets team, Vanessa Beal demonstrates what it takes to perform at the highest level in her chosen sport. But it was one of her work experience opportunities, in one of the most deprived hospitals in the world in the Dominican Republic, that really confirmed her goals. A passionate environmentalist, conservationist and vegan, Vanessa took this incredible and challenging experience in her stride, using it to fuel her ambition to one day work in the developing world. Her place at Surrey University, reading Biological Sciences, is the next step on that inspirational journey and Croydon High could not be more proud.
  • Deputy Head Girl, Victoria Akinwolemiwa is another student who is certainly not wholly defined by her academic achievements. Victoria discovered a passion for marketing and specifically e-commerce through her involvement and success as MD of a company in the Young Enterprise scheme. With straight A grades in Economics, History and R.S. Victoria is now flying off to the University of Toronto, where she will be enrolling in a degree course entitled CCIT (Communication, Culture Information and Technology) and will be specialising in Digital Enterprise Management. Bon voyage, Victoria – you deserve every success.
  • Mya Lewis-Powell started playing football outside school when she was in Year 4, often finding she was the only girl on the team. However, she believes this experience helped mould her into both the player and the person she is today. In her words, “… it taught me from an early age that challenges are put in place to be overcome.” Mya was awarded her first England cap in February 2019. She plays for Tottenham’s Under 20 team (where she was voted Players’ Player 2018-19) and also the ISFA England Schools Under 18 team. Mya has also been an inspirational coach and mentor for the younger girls at school, helping run an increasingly popular co-curricular club. Mya is planning to read English at University and we have no doubt that she will bring all the energy, creativity and natural talent she shows on the pitch to her chosen degree.

The standardised grades awarded to Croydon High students by the examination boards this year give us much to celebrate and as a whole, suggest improvement on previous years and rightly so, for a year group who carry the label of having achieved the highest GCSE results in a generation!

As Headmistress Emma Pattison concludes, “In a year like no other, we simply couldn’t be more proud of the character and determination shown by our Upper Sixth. Back in March, when they received the bombshell news that they would not be sitting their A Levels, we implored them not to let this situation define them. And they certainly haven’t. Supported by a dedicated teaching staff and, importantly, supporting each other through this uniquely challenging year, they leave school armed with so much more than grade certificates.

While many were just enduring lockdown, our Upper Sixth were committing to university seminars in the subjects they intended to study, carrying out preparatory reading and considering issues they are likely to be discussing in their degree courses over the next few years. What we are celebrating is the individual and collective achievements of the girls themselves, in spite of – and in some cases because of the situation they found themselves in.

We will miss them all and we wish each and every one of them success, fulfilment, but most importantly, great happiness in their future lives.”