We're pleased to share some of the exciting success stories of our former students
BSix College provides a range of courses at all levels. This is a vital resource for the borough as we can provide career relevant options for Hackney’s young people who aren’t ready to access their own school sixth form. We support students to achieve the next level of their course and go beyond BSix to employment, internship, apprenticeship or university. Students graduate from BSix with the skills and knowledge to be successful in life. Shared here are some of the many success stories of our alumni.
Rojin Tasman - Humanities A-Levels
“BSIX AND HACKNEY HAS HELPED ME TO BE SUCCESSFUL!”
BSix alumnus, Rojin Tasman, recently visited us as she ‘wanted to give something back’. Rojin says that,
‘…the skills that I developed at BSix and continuing to be true to my Hackney roots since starting my career in law, have
helped me to be confident and successful.’
Djofry Makumbu - Level 4 Art Foundation
BSix Alumni wins prestigious award!
High flying ex-BSix Art Foundation student, Djofry Makumbu, won a year-long residency for his animated film about street life. Djofry Makumbu, a recent graduate from Goldsmiths, University of London, was awarded the ALUMNO/SPACE award upon completion of his Fine Art degree.
He was introduced to the University via its Summer School programme and has since gone on to complete a BA in Fine Art this year. He has been recognised for his 2017 final year project, Dreams. His award-winning degree show project was influenced by his upbringing in east London. The multimedia installation features digital and stop motion animation, video, sculpture, painting and performance. It tackles a range of subjects including street culture, hip-hop and drug abuse. His prize is a year-long residency in a studio in Old Southwark Town Hall, Camberwell. The studio rental is supported with a year’s salary from the Department of Art at Goldsmiths.
The Goldsmiths Summer School aims to encourage local London teenagers with a talent for art to experience what it’s like to study at university. Students who would be the first in their family to attend Higher Education, like Djofry, are prioritised. Run over two weeks in the Goldsmiths art studios, the course encourages students to create work with found materials, experiment with new methods, attend critical studies, gallery visits and make a final exhibition. Djofry was part of the programme in 2014 after meeting Goldsmiths staff at his foundation college, BSix in Hackney, and impressing with his stop-motion animation about the New York Graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. He went on to study the BA Fine Art course, at Goldsmiths, specialising in animation, ceramics, painting, music and live performance.
Speaking with Djofry recently, he described his journey as an artist saying:
“There have been a few key people who I will never forget, as they have been such a big influence on my life. Bryan Parsons, BSix Art teacher, and Alison, my tutor at Goldsmiths, have helped to shape me into the artist that I am today. When I was at school, some people used to say that I would never amount to anything, that I would never go to university, or if I did, I would never finish. This was due to my struggles with dyslexia and dyspraxia and I used to doubt myself and always put myself down. My art teacher at school and then the Art team at BSix changed everything for me. They pushed and challenged me, and it is because of them that I am the person I am today. They gave me the belief that I could go to university and excel!”
Aaminah Dawood - BTEC Level 3 Science
Aaminah Dawood attended Tayyibah Girls School in Hackney and graduated from BSix in 2015 achieving Triple Distinction* for her BTEC in Applied Science. Aaminah wrote to us saying…
“My story is incredibly long, but I will try and sum up the last 5 years into a few paragraphs. I started off my journey at BSix Sixth Form College in 2013, just like a typical secondary school leaver, I was excited and eager to start sixth form until I actually arrived and realised I am probably the shyest individual in the college! But fortunately, that didn’t last long. I joined the Student Ambassador programme within a few weeks of starting BSix, after being trained to talk to different students and families, my confidence slowly grew. Before you knew it, I was able to talk in front of a large group of people. I enjoyed the programme so much that I spent most of my time in BSix as part of this team and was announced the Top Ambassador of the year…”
Shakhae Merrifield - Level 2 Diploma in Music Performance and Production & EHCP student
Shakhae Merrifield is one of BSix College’s many successes for students with Education Health Care Plans (EHCPs) and a testament to the exceptional support staff at the College.
Shakhae (known as Shaks) joined BSix from Riverside School in Haringey. Whilst not from a Hackney school, Shaks is a Hackney resident, and a great example of a young man who has benefitted from the College’s range of courses and flexibility in enabling him to undertake a one-year Level 2 qualification across two years. In his first year at BSix, he developed his skills within the Progression department (Entry Level courses) and then progressed on to and achieved his Level 2 Diploma in Music Performance and Production. Shaks was crowned the Creative Industries Department, ‘Student of the Year 2018’ by popular demand, having never missed an opportunity to DJ at every event possible whilst at College. This year he has started his supported internship with Project SEARCH at Homerton Hospital.
The ground-breaking Project SEARCH internships based at Homerton Hospital are aimed to develop future career prospects for local young people with physical and learning disabilities. Launched by the Council’s Supported Employment Service, this is the first year the internationally acclaimed programme, which aims to remove barriers faced by young jobseekers with disabilities, has been run in Hackney.
Umamah Tarvala - Science A-Levels
Umamah Tarvala attended Stoke Newington School and graduated from BSix in 2014 having achieved top grades in Science A-levels. She worked incredibly hard to earn her place at medical school.
Umamah continues to be successful in her studies and whilst at medical school she has also been the Pre-Clinical Faculty Representative and an elected Course Representative for 5 years running. She has been extensively involved with presenting posters internationally and acting as an ambassador for the Pathological Society as well as the British Atherosclerosis society.
When catching up with Umamah recently, she talked passionately about the benefits of the BSix study programme and how important the extra curricula activities are, not just at college, but in your next steps too.
She went on to explain saying, ‘I would like to really stress the importance of students working together and following their hobbies alongside their studies. For me, this is the photography business, but I’m also doing medical illustrations for a book! It’s very important to be able to manage stress at tough universities/degrees; so, I would like to give that advice to the younger students, because I wish I was told that at their age.’
Umamah also said, “Coming from a disadvantaged background poses so many difficulties, but it is important to me to help inspire others to achieve their full potential; not in spite of struggles, but because of it.”
Check out her posts on @UmamahTarvalaPhotography to gain motivation.
I will leave you with one other inspiring article: Hackney student success in Evening Standard!
Ibrahim Mohammed - Humanities A-levels
Ibrahim Mohammed: Attended Stoke Newington School, Hackney and graduated from BSix in 2015. He achieved top grades in A-level English Literature, Psychology and Sociology and progressed to study at Cambridge University!
Since then, Ibrahim, better known as Ibz Mo, has hit both the national (Guardian Newspaper) and the local headlines (Hackney Gazette)
A student video blogger from Stoke Newington is on a mission to introduce more diversity into elite circles. Ibrahim Mohammed’s unique style has seen him gain a cult following at Cambridge – one of the most lauded universities in the world.
Studying social, political and human sciences at Cambridge University would be enough to keep most students glued to their books, but Ibrahim has the added pressure of a YouTube channel with more than 100,000 expectant subscribers waiting for the next bit of ‘Ibz Mo’ magic.
Much of the 22-year-old’s vlogging content is inspired by his own experience, which saw an ‘extroverted’ teenager who didn’t feel like he always belonged excel at BSix College and bag a place at Cambridge on the back of a stellar clutch of grades. Immensely proud of his Hackney roots, Ibrahim is determined for traditional institutions such as Cambridge to be reflective of the environment in which he grew up. He still has a huge connection with BSix, returning to mentor students and run personal statement sessions for university hopefuls.
Ibz said, “I went to school with people from council estates and with student mums juggling their A-levels and a job – these people aren’t represented here. I was lucky I had amazing teachers who had faith in me. I love Hackney – we are unified by our cultural diversity. We are told at Cambridge that we are the best of the best, but isn’t it the best of the privileged?”
As well as not being afraid of dishing out stinging critiques, with Cambridge’s ‘whiteness’ being one of his targets, Ibrahim has made videos that are as entertaining as they are informative – he gets messages from thousands of young people seeking his advice as they apply to top universities.
Ibz’s recent successes include: becoming Student Vice-President of Cambridge and implementing many policy changes to encourage equality, diversity and access. He was involved with the 2018 Cambridge University Social Media policy that encouraged and guided staff to use social media to its full potential. He started his own social enterprise, called “BTYS Ltd,” dedicated to help bridge the gap between further education and higher education for marginalised students. He has worked with Nobel peace prize winner, Malala, to host the first Pakistan Access Conference to inspire young students and all of this crowned by winning “Best Blog” at the Asian Media Awards 2018!