Mother of cancer teen 'forced to take GCSEs' in hospital hits out at exam board decision

25 May 2022, 10:54

By Seán Hickey

The mother of a cancer-stricken 16-year-old hits out at the system which is 'forcing' her daughter to take her GCSEs from her hospital bed.

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Emma Sanderson is the mother of Grace, a student at Northallerton High School who was tragically diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia on March 11, 2022. Ms Sanderson told Nick Ferrari that her daughter is set to undergo her third round of chemotherapy next week, having had a lumbar puncture this week to test for cancer cells in her spinal cord.

Read more: Teen with cancer 'forced to do GCSE exams' despite spending months in hospital

Ms Sanderson went on to explain that her daughter was planning to take 8 GCSEs before her diagnosis, but is now of course unable to do so.

The GCSE exam board has said Grace will receive no grades if she is not well enough to complete the exams this summer.

She called on the exam board to "give [Grace] a grade more than likely based on how she does on the day", telling LBC listeners that her daughter has already taken her mock exams and excelled.

Grace is intending to take three GCSEs, while deferring her Maths and English exams to November during the resits, Ms Sanderson explained to Nick.

She hit out at the exam board decision, with Nick pointing to the obvious difficulty of taking crucial exams in between gruelling chemotherapy sessions.

"You shouldn't be trying to push yourself to sit an exam" Ms Sanderson insisted.

Ms Sanderson's constituency MP is Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who has written to the Schools Minister Robin Walker to find a solution for Grace.

"He writes a nice letter, but he doesn't achieve an awful lot for you, does he?" Nick said of Mr Walker.

Read more: Minister calls for collaboration to tackle 'absolutely horrific' spiking of students

Ms Sanderson remained hopeful, noting that whilst the Minister hasn't been much help so far, her petition to demand action for Grace and other students in her position "seems to be gathering quite a lot of pace."

She went on to state that her school "have been very supportive" of Grace during the crisis, and they are "happy to keep her in" for the A-Level cycle.

Ms Sanderson told Nick that her daughter is eager to "carry on as normal" and get through her battle with leukaemia as soon as possible. She finished her conversation with Nick by dismissing the idea that Grace repeats Year 11, as she would no longer have her friends in her class.

You can sign Grace's petition here.

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