Shannon proves doubters wrong with top results

Shannon Smith and Nick Leon celebrate their results at Thomas Gainsborough School. ANL-160818-115125001
Shannon Smith and Nick Leon celebrate their results at Thomas Gainsborough School. ANL-160818-115125001

A student who had to retake her GCSEs now has double reason to celebrate – after achieving three distinction grades in her BTEC exams and getting engaged.

Shannon Smith said her fear of exams had hindered her educational progress in the past – forcing her to retake her English GCSE five times before passing it on the sixth occasion.

But through hard work and with the guidance of staff at Thomas Gainsborough School, the 19-year-old student from Bures Road in Great Cornard has turned her life around and is now looking forward to a new job working as an apprentice science technician at Stour Valley Community School in Clare.

To top off the perfect summer, shortly after the exams finished Shannon got engaged to fellow student Nick Leon.

Shannon, who earned distinction* in business, IT and applied sciences, said: “I am really pleased with the results. I worked really hard and it is nice to prove people wrong who said I shouldn’t be in the sixth form.

“I have always struggled with exams. I had the knowledge but I couldn’t get it down on paper in those conditions.

“But with the support of the school in allowing me to retake Year 11, I was then able to take BTECs which is largely coursework. Alongside that, it was stressful to keep having to retake my GCSE English but this makes it all worth it.”

Fiancé Nick, 18, from Sudbury, was equally delighted with his results after getting a distinction in ICT and a pass in business studies.

He has also gained an apprenticeship, his at the IT department at The Stanway School near Colchester.

Asked about the achievements of his fiancée, he said: “Shannon has come a long way and to get distinctions is absolutely fantastic. Getting engaged was a perfect way to finish the exams.”

Shannon’s mum, Susan, added: “I am so proud of her. She has had her highs and lows but she has proven you can overcome anything with determination.”

Wayne Lloyd, headteacher at Thomas Gainsborough School, paid tribute to the student, saying: “Shannon’s journey has been remarkable and we are all so proud of everything she has achieved.

“This is all down to her hard work, perseverance and tenacity within a supportive environment.”