A for Astounding; ( Who Came Top of Britain's 13 Best A-Level Students? )

Daily Mail (London), December 16, 2003 | Go to article overview
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A for Astounding; ( Who Came Top of Britain's 13 Best A-Level Students? )


WITH girls consistently outperforming boys at A-level, and private schools scooping most of the honours, Peter Clayburn had his work cut out.

But yesterday the 18-year-old bucked national trends by beating 335,000 pupils to become A-level Student of the Year.

The comprehensive school pupil gained an astonishing six A grades in Spanish, French, German, English language, Business Studies and General Studies.

Peter pipped 12 other finalists at a London awards ceremony organised by the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, the country's largest exam board.

He had beaten almost 9,000 students to win the title of best Languages pupil for his Spanish A-level, then went on to win the overall title.

The winner of each subject award is the student with the highest mark in that category. The overall award goes to the category winner with the most A grades - in this case six.

Peter, who attended Danum School Technology College sixth form in Doncaster, South Yorkshireputs his success down to his hard work and love of languages.

He even studied Spanish GCSE at night school because it was not on offer at Ridgewood comprehensive where he gained 11 A stars at GCSE.

Peter said: 'I've always been interested in languages ever since I did French in Year Seven (age 11-12). 'I also studied German but wasn't able to do Spanish which I really wanted to do. I spent two hours a week doing it at night school on top of my school work.

'It was quite hard balancing it all, but it was fun and I enjoyed it a lot.

I put quite a lot of work in for my A-levels and just did my best.' Val Cusworth, head of sixth form at Danum School Technology College, said Peter was an outstanding student who deserved his success.

'He was a very gifted linguist and his academic strength was always that he was prepared to learn,' she said.

The Student of the Year award, together with a cheque for [pounds sterling]250 and gold medal, was presented by Education Secretary Charles Clarke.

Here is the full list of finalists:

1 Peter Clayburn LANGUAGES: Peter won for his Spanish A-level and was also the overall A-level Student of the Year.

He is now studying French and Spanish at St John's College, Oxford, and would like to work as an interpreter for the United Nations. His hobbies are playing the clarinet and saxophone.

His father Ken, 67, is a retired engineer and his mother Annette, 50, is a primary school teacher. They live in Doncaster.

2 Paraminder Dhillon

ENGLISH AND COMMUNICATIONS: Paraminder, 18, a former student at Chesterfield College, won for her English language A-level.

She gained As in her biology, chemistry, English literature and English language A-levels and has 12 GCSEs (three A stars, eight As and a B).

She is studying biochemistry and genetics at the University of Nottingham and is considering scientific journalism as a career. She enjoys reading 18th century novels and playing the piano.

Her father Jojhar, 55, is a retired local government officer, and her mother Gurjeet, 53, is a housewife.

They live in Sheffield.

3 Tina Maryan

LIFE SCIENCES: Tina, 41, a former student at Epping Forest College, Loughton, Essex, won for her environmental sciences A-level. She gained an A grade.

Tina studied for the qualification one night a week while working as a website co-ordinator for a law firm.

She wanted a career change and is now studying fulltime for a conservation degree at Writtle College, near Chelmsford, Essex.

She had left school at 16 and went to secretarial college. She now lives in Epping with her husband Mark Baber, 32, a retail manager, and would like to become a ranger.

4 Waseem Yaqoob

HUMANITIES - Waseem, 18, a former pupil at King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford, Essex, won for his General Studies A-level.

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