GCSE results day: UK’s oldest student and a Commonwealth Games star – stories from this year’s exams |  UK News

GCSE results day: UK’s oldest student and a Commonwealth Games star – stories from this year’s exams | UK News

GCSE results day: UK’s oldest student and a Commonwealth Games star – stories from this year’s exams |  UK News

Hundreds of thousands of students got the results of 5.7 million GCSE exams today.

But behind the numbers are stories of students balancing their revision with the Commonwealth Games – and even the UK’s oldest GCSE pupil.

GCSE results live: Pupils told lower classes ‘part of the plan’

Sky News spoke to some of those celebrating today.

The 92-year-old math student

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Meet the 92-year-old GCSE pupil

Derek Skipper, 92, became the oldest person in England to take a GCSE exam and scored a 5 in maths – the highest mark available on his paper.

Mr Skipper, from Orwell, Cambridgeshire, told Sky News he had passed away and was ‘a very happy little boy today’.

He admitted he was afraid he wouldn’t pass his exam, joking that “this interview would have been extremely short if I had failed”.

Mr Skipper said that as well as learning more about math, he also learned how to use Zoom as it was all done from home.

Top marks after just three years in the UK

Maya Hatata
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Maya Hatata

Maya Hatata has lived in the UK for just three years but scored a majority of 9 and 8 marks in her GCSEs.

She said she sacrificed “sleep” and “family time” and there was “no excuse”.

The student from Crest Academy in north-west London added: “If you are determined and consistent…if you have a dream…nothing will stop you.”

Maya said studying during the pandemic made her GCSEs a test of discipline and resilience, and she will remember that moment for the rest of her life.

Deputy head teacher Theresa Ball, below, said she was ‘exceptionally proud of our pupils’, adding that the school is in ‘one of the most deprived areas in the UK’.

Balancing the Commonwealth Games with Overhaul

Jade Phiri
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Jade Phiri

Jade Phiri, who represented Zambia at the Commonwealth Games, completed six Grade 9s and three Grade 8s at Millfield School in Somerset.

The 16-year-old, from Lusaka in Zambia, balanced her college education with a rigorous training schedule.

At the Games, she finished first in the women’s 50m butterfly, second in the women’s 50m freestyle and third in the mixed 4 x 100m medley relay.

Such a busy schedule has been a “major challenge”, she said.

“Knowing that I was going to be swimming at the Commonwealth Games just a month after my GCSEs, and making sure I was still training to the best of my ability, while balancing revisions for my exams, was a major challenge,” said she added.

Iraqi asylum seeker wants to ‘serve the UK’

Mohammed Alshammary
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Mohammed Alshammary

Mohammed Aalshammary arrived in the UK from Iraq as an asylum seeker in December 2018 and started school with what he describes as “very basic” English.

Today he is very “proud” after receiving six GCSE 9s – the highest mark available – plus an 8 and two 7s.

Mohammed, a pupil at Crest Academy in north-west London, told Sky News: “I’m very happy. I’ve worked hard and wasted no time. I’m proud of myself!”

He added: “My family left Iraq three years ago because it’s unstable.

“We came to the country to seek asylum. So my parents are extremely happy. I want to make my mother proud and that’s why I study hard.”

Student fought cancer and GCSE exams

Srimukhi Kalakonda
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Srimukhi Kalakonda

Srimukhi Kalakonda, 16, known as Sri, from Brighton College, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and scored two 9s, four 8s and a 7, after spending the year receiving treatment during his studies.

Sri was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last summer, just two weeks after his father discovered he had cancer, before undergoing surgery in August 2021.

She said, “I’m so happy! I really can’t believe it. It’s better than anything I could have imagined.”

Chris Fowler, Head of the Year, said: “Sri has been absolutely amazing this year. She is the heart and soul of her age group and has inspired friends and teachers with her determination and strength.

“We are so proud of her – she absolutely deserves these results.”

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