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Friends who saw off exam stress at Christian monastery celebrate top grades

John Brown and Benjamin Sheridan, from Bristol, spent a week with the Taize Community in Burgundy, France.

Benjamin Sheridan and John Brown (Ben Birchall/PA)
Benjamin Sheridan and John Brown (Ben Birchall/PA)

By Rod Minchin, PA

Two friends who spent a week at a Christian monastery in France have won places at university after achieving a string of top A-level grades.

John Brown, 18, and Benjamin Sheridan, 19, spent a week with the Taize Community, an ecumenical Christian monastic fraternity in Burgundy.

The teenagers are students at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School in Bristol, and each received A* A-levels in maths, further maths and physics.

John, from Henbury, is heading to Imperial College London to study mechanical engineering after arriving in Bristol with his family from Shanghai, where he had taken his GCSEs.

“It has been brilliant here and all the teachers have been really supportive, especially my maths teacher Mr Netto,” John said.

“It’s nice to have the place at Imperial. I haven’t told my parents yet my results but I am sure they will be over the moon.”

Students celebrate at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School (Ben Birchall/PA)

Benjamin, from Willsbridge, is off to Sheffield University to read electronic and electrical engineering.

He was home schooled and joined St Mary Redcliffe and Temple after taking his GCSEs.

Explaining why he switched, Benjamin said: “I think I was ready for the next stage. The home school community here in Bristol is terrific.

“I feel so grateful to my parents and the fantastic teachers. I could not have done it without the support of my family and God.

“Being at the Taize Community gave me a brilliant time to reflect and relax after the exam stress.”

Other students at the school who achieved a string of top grades were Molly Rasbash, 18, from Bishopston, who achieved A*s in English literature and psychology and As in drama and maths.

Molly Rasbash gets a kiss from her mother (Ben Birchall/PA)

She was joined by her mother Jacky Willett to open her results and now plans a gap year.

William Rodliffe, 18, from Knowle, was accompanied by his sister Tamsyn, 15, as he opened his results to learn he had got A*s in economics and maths and As in history and further maths.

He is heading to the University of Manchester to study maths.

William Rodliffe gets a hug from sister Tamsyn (Ben Birchall/PA)

Also celebrating with her mother was 18-year-old Hannah Millward, from Bedminster Down, who achieved an A* in English literature and As in history and politics and an A* in an extended project qualification.

She is also going to the University of Manchester to study for an English literature degree.

Hannah Millward opens her results (Ben Birchall/PA)

Head teacher Elisabeth Gilpin said: “We are delighted with the results the students have received. This is the first year through for all the exams being ‘linear’ with all the work from the whole two years being tested at once.

“This means that it relies on students working hard throughout the course and learning all the material they have covered for the final exams.

“We are proud that the great A-level grades are opening the doors to top universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial and Bristol and also that students are securing good apprenticeships.

“For the staff at the school seeing the happy faces on results day is an inspiration and a reward as we celebrate with our lovely students the positive results of two years of hard work that opens doors to exciting next steps.”



From Belfast Telegraph