'Phenomenal' Portsmouth students overcome adversity to achieve stunning A-level results
FOR years Savannah Coles had struggled with school in silence, perplexed as to why some lessons were so difficult to grasp.
It wasn’t until three weeks into her studies at Portsmouth College that the answer finally became clear when she was diagnosed with cognitive impairment.
The disorder leaves people having trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life.
With the answer to her woes finally revealed, Savannah was given the help she had lacked while at school – and has now achieved her dream set of exam results, bagging her a coveted place at university.
The 19-year-old of Fratton said: ‘I really struggled throughout school. I always knew that I had something but because I was that kid that was never disruptive or naughty at school, it was never picked up. But I knew something was always there, I just never knew what it was.
‘My psychology teacher here spotted it within three weeks of me starting lessons and helped get me assessed. That really helped change my life.
‘I was given so much extra support here. It boosted my confidence so much, knowing that I’ve been allowed to have that help and no longer need to wonder why I’m not getting the grades that I need or wanted.’
All the extra help meant Savannah was able to bag a ‘surprise’ B in criminology as well as Distinction* in health and social care and a Distinction in applied psychology – scoring her a place at the University of Chichester to study criminology.
‘This has been the most stressful two years of my life… But I’m so happy,’ she added.
Elsewhere, it was double joy for high-flying 18-year-old pals Amy Brazier and Rebecca Myers, who both secured places at the University of Oxford to carry on with their studies.
Amy scooped a near-perfect haul of grades, securing A*s in English language and literature, psychology and an extended project qualification – or EPQ – as well as an A in maths.
The teenager from Milton is now off heading to Oxford’s Somerville College to study experimental psychology. She said: ‘It really hasn’t sunk in yet. I can’t believe it. I’m just so excited – I get to go to the University of Oxford.’
Rebecca meanwhile will be studying history and politics at Oxford after achieving As in history and biology and an A* in politics.
‘I thought I had done okay but obviously you never really know, so it’s quite worrying. But it’s just bonkers. I don’t think it’s fully set in yet. It’s just amazing and I’m so excited,’ said the Drayton teenager.
A future career as a doctor is on the cards for Aqsa Pervaiz after she notched up three A*s in biology, chemistry and mathematics to secure a place to study medicine at the University of Sussex.
The 18-year-old of Fratton said: ‘This is a dream come true. I’m just so shocked – especially given the last year with the pandemic. I’ve worked so hard. I have wanted to go to medical school for years and now it’s really happening.’
Portsmouth College – which is part of the newly-formed City of Portsmouth College – performed well, with an overall pass rate of 98.6 per cent, with 57 per of grades being either A* to B or Distinction* to Distinction.
College principal Simon Barrable was in awe of all the students’ achievements following 18 months of coronvirus upheaval.
He added: ‘The students have been phenomenal. It’s been inspiring to see over the last two years.
‘They’re a really resilient generation and I think they could all go on to do great things because of what they have been through and the challenges they have had to rise to.
‘We have all learned some really incredible life lessons over the last two years – staff and students alike – and we can certainly hold our heads high and say “we have got through this”.’