GCSE – pupils achieve despite the odds

Pupils at GSA schools have achieved great GCSE results, many despite unusual circumstances.

For example, Esther Pilling (Portsmouth High School, GDST ), age 16, contracted glandular fever two weeks before she took her exams. Nevertheless she has achieved 3 A*s, 4 As and 2 Bs. She said:
“I felt really bad the two weeks before the exams with swollen glands and absolute exhaustion but, with the support of the school and Mrs Prescott, I managed to get through them and am so pleased with my results.”

Despite a condition which means she is frequently in pain, boarding school pupil Jessica Soanes has received 2 A*, 6As and a C grade in her GCSEs this year.

Jessica, who attends Sherborne Girls’ School, has Arnold Chiari Malformation, a condition which means she is wheelchair bound and often in pain, resulting in a lot of time out of school, particularly in her final GCSE year.
Nevertheless Jess participates fully to life at her boarding school. She regularly leads school fundraising projects, competing in a range of wheelchair athletic events such as the London mini-marathon. Last year she took the John Muir outdoor award and went camping, canoeing and on an environmental project with a number of other girls.

Derby High School student Beth Kemp achieved nine A* grades in her GCSEs despite being diagnosed with a rare sleep disorder at the end of Year 10.

Beth knew there was something wrong when she started falling asleep in lessons in Year 9 and she was eventually sent for monitoring at a specialist sleep clinic in Oxford.
It wasn’t until the summer after she completed Year 10 that she was eventually diagnosed with narcolepsy, a rare disorder which causes a person to suddenly fall asleep at inappropriate times. She said:
“I was struggling to stay awake in lessons, especially in the afternoon. I did fall asleep but people probably couldn’t tell, it just looked like I had zoned out but sometimes I closed my eyes. It did make studying for my GCSEs hard as I would be revising but then I would need a half an hour nap and that would mean I was finishing really late at night. I had extra time in my exams which I really needed and I used it all, in some of them I still struggled to finish the paper.”

Beth couldn’t believe her results when she received them by email this morning.

Two comparative youngsters are celebrating top achievement in language papers.

Twelve year old Alice Brancale (Howell’s School Llandaff, GDST) has a remarkable A*, in her Italian GCSE. Meanwhile 14 year old Genevieve Baker (Bruton School for Girls) took GCSE Latin early and received an A* with full marks in two of the papers.

Genevieve’s headmistress Nicola Botterill said:
“People often don’t realise we are an academically non-selective school and take students from a wide ability range, so I am especially pleased with our results and the personal successes our girls have achieved.”

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