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Thursday, 17 August, 2000, 16:36 GMT 17:36 UK
Some special successes
James Law
James Law: Language no barrier to top grades
A student who emigrated to the UK from Hong Kong five years ago has notched up a string of straight A grades at A-level - even though English is his second language.

James Law scored top grades in six subjects - maths, further maths, chemistry, physics, general studies and Chinese.

He also gained an A grade in AS-level further maths, the equivalent of half an A-level.

Now he plans to study pure maths at Cambridge University's Magdalene College.

James, 19, praised his teachers at King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys in Birmingham for helping him achieve his success.

students smiling about their results
All smiles: Students from Ballymena Academy celebrate

"I have been at four schools in the past six years, but this school is definitely the best - in Hong Kong or Britain," he said.

James, whose native tongue is Cantonese, said that when he first arrived in the UK, it took him time to get to grips with English.

But he said the language problems had not affected his grasp of maths, which was an "international" subject.

The school's headmaster Mervyn Brooker said: "A boy got six As two years ago, but James has set a school record. He's special."

Bosnian refugee

Another student who broke through a language barrier to score top grades was Bosnian refugee Tamara Todorovic.

When Tamara arrived in the UK from Mostar with her family in 1993, she was unable to speak any English.

On Thursday, the 18-year-old learned she had achieved grade As in A-level economics, French and German.

The former pupil of Bishop Stopford School in Kettering, Northamptonshire, is now going to Warwick University to study law with French and German.

I couldn't believe it when I got my results, I didn't expect to do so well," she said.

"I learnt English very quickly, but it was difficult and I had a lot of help from my teachers."

Matching results for twins

At least two sets of identical twins, in different parts of England, proved how similar they are - by scoring identical top grades in identical subjects.

Simon and Andrew West, 17, of Healing, near Grimsby, scored five A grades each in maths, further maths, physics, chemistry and general studies.

Katharine Collis and Pouyan Manteghi
Double act: Katharine Collis and Pouyan Manteghi

And Joe and Sam Atkins, 18, from Bristol, achieved four As each in Latin, music, English and theatre studies.

The two pairs of brothers are now preparing to part company to attend different universities.

Success stories were repeated across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with a considerable number of students achieving five or more straight A grades.

Among them were Asheem Singh, a former pupil at the independent Yarm School in Stockton-on-Tees, who, like James Law, scored six As at A-level as well as an A at AS-level.

At Saffron Walden County High School, Essex, two pupils got six grade As.

Katharine Collis, 18, notched up As in maths, further maths, physics, chemistry, geography and general studies, and now plans to read natural sciences at Cambridge University.

Pouyan Manteghi,18, got his top grades in maths, further maths, physics, chemistry, German and general studies.

He is also going to Cambridge, but to study maths.

Pensioners' brain power

In Wiltshire, pensioner Terry Tyacke was celebrating an A grade in his 27th A-level, film studies.

The 74-year-old left school at 15 with no qualifications, working first for the Royal Navy and then for the Civil Service.

He started taking exams after enrolling in evening classes at Trowbridge College with his wife Morwenna, as a way of encouraging their daughter Susan to study.

After achieving O-levels in maths and English, he took his first A-level - and has continued at the rate of one a year ever since.

He said: "I had a good laugh doing film studies. I've even done PE, but I had to write off the 30% practical element.

"I may do further maths next year, but I'm running out of subjects."

Lancashire grandfather Allan Millican picked up two B grades in 3D design and fine art.

The 74-year-old widower spent two days a week attending classes at Nelson and Colne College in Pendle, but despite his achievement, said he was disappointed with his grades.

"I expected to get a bit better, so I haven't done as well as I would liked. But the courses were very good, and I enjoyed the experience."

Mr Millican, a former Rolls Royce engineer who left school at 14 with no qualifications, completed an art and design foundation course five years ago.



How they did:



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