The internet has for the past one week been awash with the news of a record achievement by an East London academy, where almost 100 students achieved straight A* and A grades at their A-Level examination.
Expectedly, they have all been offered admission at a number of prestigious United Kingdom institutions, from the London School of Economics, Imperial College, Bristol University, Queen Mary University, to Durham, Oxford and Cambridge universities.
Brampton Manor Academy in East Ham, London, has since been tweeting about its students’ success, congratulating them on the impressive grades and sharing the universities they will be going to study.
The great news? This school with this landmark feat is run by a Nigeria-born executive principal – Dr Dayo Olukoshi.
Dr Olukoshi was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in 2015 for his services to education. Under his watch, the school has been rated outstanding by Ofsted twice in the past five years (2012 and 2018).
Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. A non-ministerial department in the British government, Ofsted inspects and regulates services that care for children and young people, as well as services providing education and skills for learners of all ages.
The sixth form at Brampton Manor Academy was set up in 2012 as there was a lack of students in the borough (administrative division) going to top universities, and now pupils from over 100 schools apply to do their A-levels there, the director of sixth form, Sam Dobin, told HuffPost UK.
(A sixth form college is an educational institution in the UK and other nations where students aged 16 to 19 study for advanced school level qualifications).
Born in November 1966, Olukoshi was appointed executive principal on February 23, 2011; and to say he has since helped transform the secondary school would be an understatement.
Last year alone, at least five of the school’s sixth form pupils got accepted into Oxford or Cambridge.
Baker Lubwama got three A*s and will be studying medicine at Cambridge.
“My mum was screaming down the phone saying ‘You’ve made us proud’,” he told HuffPost UK.
Hunainah Mansuri is an 18-year-old student got three A* grades and will be going to Cambridge to study education and psychology.
She said her results were “completely unexpected” when she received them.
“I didn’t believe it when I saw it – I thought I was being scammed,” she said, admitting that she didn’t even tell her parents she was applying to Cambridge until she got an interview for the place.
Speaking about the teaching style at the school and the level of support students receive, Lubwama said: “They do a lot of mentoring for students to ensure that their mental health as well as their academic progression is on track.”
But the success at Brampton Manor Academy didn’t just happen; there is a method or pattern to it.
In his welcome message as executive principal on the school’s official website, Olukoshi laid out what seems to be the path to that outstanding success.
“We are a very successful school because we focus very strongly on what really matters – the quality of teaching and learning.
“Students of all ages and abilities make outstanding progress because of the rich curriculum we offer, along with the excellent care, guidance and support we provide… here at Brampton Manor Academy, our mission is simple: to ensure that no child is left behind.
Apart from dedicated and highly motivated teachers who see themselves as ‘missionaries’ of a sort, Brampton Manor Academy’s rich curriculum is also supported by “fantastic learning resources, including a state-of-the-art theatre, TV and recording studios, outstanding sports and fitness facilities, as well as modern, generously equipped classrooms, workshops and laboratories.”
All areas are served by excellent ICT facilities.
And, instructively too, as the sixth form director Sam Dobin puts it: “There are just two rules for doing well at the school: You have to be ambitious and you have to work hard.”
It’s yet unclear how Olukoshi and his team manage to make children ‘ambitious’ and work towards achieving it; but whatever they are doing, they are certainly hitting the bull’s eye.
Dobin told Huffpost UK: “The results were “what we hoped for, but it is not surprising when you see these kids. And if you put passionate teachers in front of these kids, the sky is the limit.
“Our aspiration is to send more kids to Oxford and Cambridge than any other school.”