Page last updated at 09:58 GMT, Thursday, 14 August 2008 10:58 UK

Quads celebrate A-level success

by Hannah Richardson
BBC News education reporter

Quads Tobi, Tayo, Tolu and Tosin
The awesome foursome all got into their chosen universities

Quadruplets are celebrating after earning the A-level grades they needed to study at their chosen universities.

The Oke quadruplets, Tolu, Tayo, Tobi and Tosin, from Woolwich, south-east London, all studied at St Francis Xavier Sixth Form College in Balham.

Tolu will study history at Peterhouse, Cambridge. Her sister Tayo will do business studies at Manchester.

Tobi and Tosin will stay in London, studying English at Goldsmiths and business management at Queen Mary.

You'd go into a room and find there was already someone in there revising - and it would be like, 'oh no!'
Tosin Oke

Tobi said all the quads, who will find out the breakdown of their results at 1200 BST, were really pleased for each other.

But his brother Tosin admitted a healthy competition between the foursome had kept them focussed.

"There's always a little bit of rivalry between the four of us - I think that's what spurs us on," he said.

Tayo said the fact the quads were really focused as they approached the exams had made all the difference.

"Sometimes we worked together, helping each other when our subjects overlapped. But mostly we worked apart," she said.

Her brother Tosin said: "It was quite chaotic in the house in the run-up to the exams but everybody knuckled down.

"You'd go into a room and find there was already someone in there revising - and it would be like, 'oh no!'."

But all four quads said their mother Julie kept them on the straight and narrow with plenty of supplies of food and drink.

Aiming high

And according to Tayo she has always urged them to work hard.

"Our mum really encouraged us from as early as year six and prepared us from a young age to take control of our own learning," she said.

Tobi also explained: "We've realised that aiming for the highest is really going to help us.

Tolu, Tayo, Tobi and Tosin talk about their A-levels

"At first we were probably pushed on but now we see it as the best way to help ourselves."

Tolu added: "We all know we've tried our best. Especially going through the exam process together we've all been helping each other.

"It's more like holding each other's hand and being there."

Another student with A-level triumphs to be proud of is 18-year-old Waheed Safi.

He had no English when he arrived with his family in England three years ago, having fled his home in Afghanistan.

But he has overcome that hurdle to obtain four As in physics, chemistry, maths and further maths at Uxbridge College.

This has earned him a place at Oxford University to study engineering science.

He said: "I was really, really excited, all last night my friends and I were looking on the internet for any clue on our results. We couldn't sleep. Then at 10am I got my results and it was incredible."

Waheed Safi
Waheed spoke no English when he arrived in England three years ago

Recalling the barriers he has overcome, he said: "I learned my English the hard way.

"At first it wasn't very easy for me to get on with my fellow students and I couldn't understand everything the teachers said.

"But my English teacher helped me and encouraged me to read books and told me I would have to work harder."

Before coming to England, Waheed did not even attend school in Afghanistan. He and his older brother were taught by a tutor in their home because it was too dangerous for them to go to school.

And for many years the family did not see Waheed's father, as he had to flee the country in fear of his life. The family was finally reunited in England three years ago

But Waheed also pays tribute to his family's support in helping him to achieve the right exam results: "My father has always encouraged me. When I was little he always wanted us to be educated and to go to high places and now I am going to one of the biggest universities in the world."

Six As

And it was double joy for identical twins Harriet and Emily Caton-Thick as they both scooped three A-grade A-levels - and now plan a round-the-world gap year.

The 18-year-olds beamed as they collected their results at fee-paying Brighton College in East Sussex in front of their emotional mother, Annie McManus, 52.

Harriet scored As in psychology, business studies and geography, while her sister scooped top marks in politics, English and geography to help send them to university.

Two other twins showed their academic excellence by taking AS maths at the age of seven.

Peter and Paula Imafidon, who are now both eight, managed a D in the paper but are thought to be the youngest ever candidates to sit the exam.

Meanwhile, maths fan Emma Davies from Walsall, West Midlands, celebrated six A grades at A-level today.

The 18-year-old said she was delighted after achieving top marks in maths, further maths, chemistry, physics, biology and general studies.

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