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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 August 2006, 12:47 GMT 13:47 UK
Cricketing star passes GCSE test
Holly Colvin
Holly Colvin is celebrating GCSE results by playing for England
A young cricketer who was at the centre of a row when she was included in a boys' 1st XI is celebrating gaining 10 A* GCSE passes.

Holly Colvin, 16, also achieved three As in AS-level exams taken a year early at Brighton College, East Sussex.

Her inclusion in the college's boys' team was described as "absolutely outrageous" by the MCC president.

Holly said juggling the sporting and academic worlds had been challenging, but she was pleased she had done well.

She played in the boys' team with school friend Sarah Taylor.

At the time they dismissed the comments made by Robin Marlar, saying they were "not scared yet".

Holly never took her eye off the ball
Head teacher Richard Cairns

"I only missed one match because I had an exam the next day, but overall juggling cricket and studies has been fine," said Holly, from Middleton-on-Sea, West Sussex.

"I've already chosen to stay on at Brighton College after the summer and I intend to do A-levels in maths, biology, chemistry and Latin.

"And after that I'm not sure whether to go and do a gap year, but I eventually hope to study for a degree and continue playing cricket."

Holly is playing on Thursday in an England clash against India at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, Hampshire.

Katie Merchant
Katie Merchant said the exam structure was "narrow-minded"

Brighton College head teacher Richard Cairns said: "Holly is a particular example to all teenagers, combining her high-level sporting commitment with her academic studies.

"She never took her eye off the ball."

Another of the college's students, who was penalised in her mock Latin GCSE paper for giving a "too sophisticated" answer, has achieved seven A*s and two As.

Katie Merchant, from Uckfield, East Sussex, had one point deducted from a three-mark question in the paper for the Oxford, Cambridge and RSA (OCR) board.

She said on Thursday the "narrow-minded " exam structure needed overhauling as it was geared towards standardising pupils

"The exam system as it currently stands doesn't award marks for what pupils really think," she said. "It is too constrained."

'Encouraging heads'

Next academic year, Brighton College pupils will be restricted to nine GCSEs.

"League tables based on point scores are encouraging heads to enter pupils for exam after exam quite unnecessarily," said Mr Cairns.

He wrote to Oxford, Cambridge and University College London in May to seek their reaction to his proposal to reduce the number of GCSEs.

"As I expected they were absolutely clear in their advice: there is no need to do more than eight GCSEs," he said.

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