Sixth Formers at Putney Schools Excel in Difficult Times

Exceptional results achieved despite disruption during the pandemic

Putney High’s Isabella Wyatt (right) will be reading Human, Social and Political Sciences at Cambridge University.


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Sixth formers from schools across Putney have delivered some exceptional performances despite significant disruption to their education.

This cohort were unable to take GCSEs in 2020 so many were sitting their first public exams.

One of the more notable achievements was by Somalian refugee Nagma Abdi, who lives in Roehampton and attends Ark Putney Academy. She came to the country aged seven when her family fled a civil war. She managed an A in sociology, just four marks from an A*, as well as B in psychology and C in media studies. This allowed her to gain a place at the London School of Economics, where she will study law.

Another Ark Putney student Andria Kamil was made homeless in 2019, and when she was rehoused, she travelled from Walthamstow to Ark Putney every day leaving home at 5am. Despite this she is now celebrating ABB grades in History, Psychology, and Sociology and is preparing to study Law at City University. Andria is also a recipient of Marshall Wace bursary worth £9,000.

Andria said, “This has been one of the biggest character development opportunities for me. I can honestly say I have learnt a lot about myself through my journey at Ark Putney. I experienced extreme economic struggles during my GCSEs having joined the school as a student with English as an additional language. My head of year really navigated me through this, and staff have continued to support me into 6th form, making me feel comfortable, safe and valued. I have built relationships here with people I won’t ever forget.”

Nagma Abdi. Picture: Ark Putney Academy/Facebook

Santiago Castillo s the first generation in his family to head to university. He was on Ark’s Professional Pathway programme studying BTEC Sport and a Spanish A level and achieved Distinction*, Distinction, Distinction and an A in Spanish. He will now attend the University of Bath to study Sports Science.

Santiago said, “Challenge yourself and take risks. I can’t wait for university, particularly the chance to be independent, meet new people and broaden my horizons.

Destinations for Putney High School students include a range of top universities in the UK and around the world.. Among them will be a research fellow heading to Columbia University, USA; international ice skater, sailor and diver, and a host of medics, scientists, linguists and other scholars reading subjects from Neuroscience with a Modern Language to Law with Criminology.

Students are heading to Oxford and Cambridge on courses from Human, Social & Political Sciences, to English and History; whilst medics are off to universities including Edinburgh, Queen Mary’s and Newcastle.

Five students are off to the USA: one on a Research Scholarship to Columbia University, two on athletic scholarships to Duke and Richmond Universities, with others to Pennsylvania and Fordham.

One student earned a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, another is heading to the Oxford School of Drama (whose alumnae include Claire Foy) with other students embarking on creative courses including Art Foundation at Kingston University and City and Guilds of London Art School.

Ice Dancer, Natalia Pallu-Neves combined her A level studies with training which she hopes will lead her to the Olympic Games. Off the ice, Natalia will study History at Queen Mary University of London.

Natalia Pallu-Neves (pictured with her dance partner Jayin Panesar)
Natalia Pallu-Neves (pictured with her dance partner Jayin Panesar)

Ella Winter is going to Newcastle University to study Medicine. Through the pandemic, Ella racked up over 600 hours volunteering on the Covid wards at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital. She received a Gold Pride award from Downing Street in recognition of her achievement.

Ella Winter
Ella Winter

Not only was Religious Studies amongst those subjects achieving 100% A* grades but in one paper, every Putney student achieved full marks. Zahra Ahmad achieved full marks in all three of her RS papers and is now off to Oxford University to study Philosophy and Theology.

Subjects scoring particularly highly were English, History, Modern and Foreign Languages, Design Technology and Further Maths.

Head Suzie Longstaff said, “This bright, vivacious and hardworking year group have always epitomised the ethos and values of Putney High School. The last few years have thrown many challenges in their paths but all the way through we have had a Sixth Form full of friendship and team spirit, and now fantastic results!

“The Class of 2022 have been impressive from day one and should now be exceptionally proud of their outstanding A level results. The unique, eclectic and competitive range of university destinations that await them reflect their wonderfully diverse intellectual interests.

“This cohort are so much more than their fantastic set of grades; they include in their ranks everyone from top actors, musicians and sportswomen to future space scientists and naval engineers. They are undoubtedly a year group who will go on to make their mark on the world and I am so proud of them.

“I would very much like to thank their teachers and all those at Putney High School who have worked so hard over the last two years to support and guide them. Congratulations one and all!”

Overall top grades for A-level results for England, Wales and Northern Ireland have fallen since last year – with 36.4% of all grades marked at A* or A. This is still higher than 2019 – the last time results were based on students taking exams.

In 2020 and 2021 grades were higher but these were passed on teacher assessment.

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August 19, 2022

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