Grade grief for Hitchin girl as she worked so hard

Hitchin Girls' School in Hitchin

Hitchin Girls' School in Hitchin - Credit: Daniel Wilson

A teenager who suffers from a series of learning difficulties has been told she can’t stay on at a Hitchin school to take three A-level subjects because she failed to get a C in English in her GCSE exams.

Eliza Thorpe, from Whinbush Road in Hitchin, retook her GCSEs this summer at Hitchin Girls’ School and achieved A grades in biology and physics, and a B in chemistry.

The 17-year-old now wishes to study two of the subjects – biology and chemistry – at the school at A-level, as well as psychology, but has been told she cannot do so as she needed to get a C instead of a D at English. She also achieved an overall B grade in additional science and Cs in maths, applied science and art.

Her mother Louise has spoken to the school to put the case forward for her daughter – who has a neurological condition, high functioning autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and an eating disorder – but to no avail.

She said: “Eliza did poorly during her GCSEs last year due to the problems she has. She even left examination questions blank for fear of answering them incorrectly. However, she was given the opportunity to re-do her GCSEs and Mr Crowther, the deputy headteacher, tried his hardest to accommodate Eliza at that time and for this we are exceptionally grateful.

“This year Eliza retook her GCSEs and, with the help of a private science tutor, achieved a number of high grades. Unfortunately she only received a D grade in English due to her autism, which will always be an area she will struggle in.”

Ms Thorpe is worried Eliza, who attended The Valley School in Stevenage up until Year 10 before moving to Hitchin Girls’, will not be able to find another suitable place to study.

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She added: “Eliza will not make the transition to college due to her problems. She will not even walk to Sainsbury’s, which is two minutes from our house, unless accompanied, so there is no way she will take herself off daily on public transport to attend a local college.

“Eliza is desperate to continue to sixth form to study her A-levels with a view to a future in either marine biology or forensics. It would be very sad for Eliza to just stay at home and do nothing which is potentially what is going to happen unless Hitchin Girls’ School make an allowance for Eliza.”

A letter from Eliza’s doctor to the school has raised concerns about the effect a change of school would have on the teenager’s mental health.

Hitchin Girls’ headteacher Frances Manning said: “We are sympathetic to Eliza’s situation and have already provided considerable support to enable Eliza to remain for a further year at Hitchin Girls’ School after she completed Year 11.

“Our sixth form offer is for A-level, for which students need five A*-C grades, including English and mathematics. These entry requirements are in place to ensure that our students are able to successfully progress on appropriate courses.”

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