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Teen refused a grade for missed exam after her dad died accepted by Queen's

Published 14/08/2015

Rachel Dean
Rachel Dean

A schoolgirl refused compassion by an examination board after her father died suddenly has been granted her dream of studying at Queen's University.

Belfast Girls Model student Rachel Dean had been on course for an A in her sociology A-level, but she was devastated when an examinations board refused to grade her for a paper she was unable to sit.

The 18-year-old's father Graham collapsed and died before her eyes the night before her sociology exam on June 15.

Despite the fact that the Ballygomartin girl last year achieved a grade A in the first exam in her sociology course, the authorities rejected her plea for an assessment to entitle her to a grade, which she requires to take up a place offered to her by Queen's.

Yesterday, she received an A in English literature and a C in history, but Queen's showed that it had a heart by accepting her on the basis of the A grade in her sociology AS exam.

Unlike the strict Joint Qualifications Council exam board, the university was prepared to take into account Rachel's excellent coursework for her sociology course and her A grade in the 2014 paper.

She will now be able to fulfil her - and her father's - dream of studying English literature at Queen's.

"It's such a relief," Rachel said."My mum and I went up to the school early to get my results off the principal, and then we phoned Queen's to tell them.

"When they said that they would accept me, I burst into tears. So did Mum."

Rachel revealed that it was the memory of her father that kept her fighting for her dream.

"He is the reason I was doing this," she said. "He would have fought, he wouldn't have backed down. Dad would have been cheering now.

"He always wanted me to go to university. He would have been fuming about all this.

"I'm really looking forward to starting Queen's. I'd like to become a journalist or teacher one day and make him proud."

A spokeswoman for Queen's added: "We are all delighted that Rachel is coming to Queen's to fulfil her dream, and we look forward to welcoming her in September.

"The university wishes her every success for the future, and we are sure she will have a wonderful time at Queen's."

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