GCSEs 2017: Yorkshire’s pupils who overcame personal challenges to get results

Hanaa Khan with fellow pupils opening their results at Dixons Trinity Academy in Bradford. Picture Bruce Rollinson
Hanaa Khan with fellow pupils opening their results at Dixons Trinity Academy in Bradford. Picture Bruce Rollinson
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There were tears of joy today as the months of hard work paid off for thousands of pupils across the region who celebrated GCSE success.

And for some teenagers it took true steely Yorkshire grit and determination to get them there.

For Hanaa Khan, a Year 11 student from Dixons Trinity Academy in Bradford, it has proven unspeakably challenging.

Miss Khan’s father died following a sudden heart attack just weeks before her first exam; however, the brave pupil found inspiration in her loss and honoured his wishes by focusing on her studies.

With the support of teachers, Miss Khan opened her results on Thursday morning to find eight A* to A grades, including grade 9s – the new grade above an A* – in both English literature and English language, in which she scored full marks.

She said: “When my dad passed away, I had no motivation and didn’t want to take my exams but I then realised I had to see it as a life experience and channel it into a positive. Even though my dad didn’t receive any formal schooling until he was 40, he was so passionate about education. I thought what better way to make him proud through my dedication and hard work. I knew he would be more proud of the effort I put in rather than the outcomes; however, I have done better than I could ever have imagined.”

Miss Khan was among the first cohort of students to receive their GCSE results at the school, which sees 50 per cent of its students come from the five poorest wards in Bradford.

Luke Sparkes, principal of Dixons Trinity, said: “Hanaa’s response to the loss of her father was humbling; she honoured her father’s wishes by focusing on her studies and we are so proud of her.”

Bradford Grammar School student Niamh Gregg is celebrating after achieving top GCSE results under difficult circumstances after her father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Niamh, of Colne, Lancashire, achieved seven A*s and three As and will now go on to continue her studies in sixth form.

The 16-year-old faced added pressure studying for and through taking the exams after her father Jon, 49, was diagnosed with MS.

“We are both over the moon with just how well she has done,” said her proud father.

“It has been a difficult time for all of us. We did worry about telling her because I was diagnosed in the middle of her taking her GCSEs.

“I was taken to hospital and diagnosed with MS a week after. I had been in ill health even before being diagnosed so Niamh has had this going on throughout her studies for the exams.

“When she was taking her GCSEs, she would sit the exam and then come visit me in hospital. It is amazing what she has done under the pressure. I cannot tell you how proud I am of her.”