30 Hull pupils pass GCSE English aged just 12!
A CLASS of 12-year-olds have passed their English GCSEs – three years early.
Thirty pupils fromWinifred Holtby School, in Bransholme, took the exam after being in secondary school for just one year.
The youngsters studied GCSE subjects meant for 15 and 16-year-olds, including Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, and Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet.
They completed coursework at the end of Year 7 before sitting the GCSE exam in November.
The group achieved two A grades, nine Bs, 15 Cs and four Ds and their efforts have been hailed as "fantastic".
They will now study GCSE English Literature for a year.
The youngsters will move on to the more challenging A-level English in Year 10, the time most children their age are starting their GCSEs.
Jake Jobling, who got a grade B, said: "I'm really proud of myself that I was able to do challenging work Year 10 and 11 students do."
Michelle Kermeen, the class's English teacher and an assistant head teacher at the school, said: "I quickly recognised this class was unique.
"They were producing work that could have been awarded a GCSE grade.
"I asked them if they wanted me to mark their end-of-year exams in Year 7 against the GCSE standard.
"They were all enthusiastic and wanted to do it.
"I also asked their parents if they would be happy with them taking the GCSE.
"By the end of Year 7 they had completed three pieces of GCSE coursework."
During October half-term, the class spent time in extra lessons with Year 11 pupils from the school, who were also sitting their GCSE English.
"What is special about this group is their work ethic. They all have that ambition and desire," said Mrs Kermeen.
Head teacher Steve Liddle said: "It clearly shows that education and examination success is about stage, not age.
"Clearly, if students have the potential they should not be straitjacketed into numerous examinations all taking place at the end of Year 11.
"High-flyers should be given the chance to excel when they are ready and that is what we have done with this cohort of exceptionally gifted students."
Mr Liddle told the Mail the support of the parents was a huge factor.
"These outcomes are just the tip of the iceberg and go to prove all students in Hull have the ability to achieve, just like any other child in the country," said Mr Liddle.
"Everyone involved in their education should be proud of what they have achieved.
"I am so proud of every single one of them."
Sonny Mussared, 12, got a B. His mum, Suzanne, said: "I think it is absolutely fantastic.
"The fact they had the opportunity to take these exams early is telling them they are capable of doing it.
"It has made Sonny look at his other subjects differently and what he is capable of achieving.
"He is already talking about his CV and what he can put on it and really thinking ahead. This has given him the confidence to do that."
Sonny said: "I think being allowed to do this builds morale and it is good for the future."
In last year's results, 41 per cent of pupils at Winifred Holtby got the Government benchmark of five A*-C GCSEs, including English and maths
Adrian Joice, Hull branch secretary for the teaching union NASUWT, said: "It is great there are children motivated to succeed at an early age.
"This will also encourage other students.
"Often, people take exams a year early, and you hear of the individual extraordinary case, but I have not come across this many."
Helene O'Mullane, portfolio holder for children's services at Hull City Council, said: "It is great the staff, parents and children have recognised the talent and it has been nurtured.
"We spend a lot of time bringing children up to the right level, but we also need to remember gifted children.
"This is inspirational to other children across the city.
"Winifred Holtby School has really taken off."