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'Tumultuous' year ends on a high for Year 13 as students celebrate IB results
Following another challenging year in education, Year 13 students at Westminster Academy were among more than 170,000 students across the world receiving their International Baccalaureate (IB) results this week, concluding their Key Stage 5 studies, and setting them on track for university, apprenticeships, career entry and beyond.
The Academy was delighted to celebrate a 100% pass rate in the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) and the IB Career-Related Programme (IBCP), as well as an average IBDP point score of 35.8, surpassing the global average of 33.02 points.
Among an array of impressive individual performances were seven students achieving over 40 points out of a possible 45 in the IBDP. Three students earned places at the University of Cambridge: Juned Muhith and Ismail Chishti, who both achieved an exceptional 44 points, joined by Tejah Henningham-Dezoysa, who achieved 43 points. Kian Jinnah also achieved 43 points and will be taking up a place at LSE. Juned and Tejah have both studied at Westminster Academy for seven years and described mixed emotions resulting from an intense period of study, the impact of the pandemic, and the reality of this week’’s results. Juned, who achieved his place to study Modern and Medieval Languages, said, “I’m ecstatic! But I’m a bit sad too as our WA journey is now over. My friends have been my rocks and I’m so happy that despite Covid, we have managed to have amazing memories during the Sixth Form.” Tejah added, “It’s been a tumultuous year, and we’ve all sacrificed so much to get to this point, but it finally feels worth it.” She is now looking forward to new experiences at Cambridge, as she takes up a place to study Human, Social, and Political Sciences. “I know it will be challenging but it doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger.” Ismail will be studying Natural Sciences, and, despite his preference for sciences, he is pleased to have had the opportunity to study six subjects as part of the IBDP. “It has made me feel much more rounded; if I had dropped any subjects I think I would have lacked certain skills that I’ll need at university. I also like the fact that not everything is about academia - doing CAS and getting involved in opportunities like the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has been great.”
Following the release of BTEC grades, IBCP students celebrated an average BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma grade of D*DD, in addition to their IB certificates. IBCP student Nuzha Noukri, who achieved D*D*D* in Creative Media Production along with three IB Certificates in English, Maths and Spanish, was “in shock” after achieving an apprenticeship with Visa. The programme will allow her to study a 4-year degree in Chartered Management while gaining full-time experience. She said, “It was very challenging during lockdown, and it didn’t seem possible to finish everything, so I am proud to have come out of lockdown and get to where I am now. I'm grateful to all the people who have helped me along the way.”
With the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting learning for a significant amount of students’ two-year IB programmes, the International Baccalaureate took the decision to offer a dual model of assessment to take into consideration the challenges that students in varying circumstances all over the world have faced. In contrast to A Level assessment, UK IB grades were awarded based on externally examined coursework, internally set assessments, and the historic performance of the centre. Much of the assessed work was completed during lockdown, while students attended the Academy’s virtual school, ‘WA Online’.
Students were congratulated by the staff who have supported them over the last seven years, and by the Academy’s Principal, Dr Paul Wood. “We are extremely proud of the members of our Class of 2021, who thoroughly deserved their success; the positivity and strength with which they have persevered throughout their IB programme has been inspiring to all of us at school.” Dr Wood joined Westminster Academy in January, with 13 years’ experience in school leadership and 21 years’ experience with the IB programmes. He is a passionate advocate of the value of an internationally-focused education. “The nature of the IB is such that even though Covid-19 has caused such disruption to academic study in the past two years, students have still had opportunities to develop the kind of intercultural understanding, empathy, critical thinking and balanced outlook which is essential for overcoming such challenges as a global pandemic.” The unique elements of the IB programmes include Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS), during which students have taken on social action initiatives, such as setting up a pen pal exchange with a local care home during lockdown. Dr Wood added his thanks and congratulations to Academy colleagues who navigated the complex assessment processes this year, and thanked the supportive network of parents, carers, sponsors, governors and supporters who have contributed to the opportunities and achievements of the cohort throughout their time at Westminster Academy.
(Updated 10th August 2021 to include BTEC Level 3 results.)