Sick teenager sits A-level exams early in Derby hospital

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image copyrightUniversity Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS trust
image captionTejal Paliya had to combine her studies with recovery

A teenager sat her A-level exams one year early while recovering from a bacterial infection in hospital.

Tejal Paliya was admitted to Royal Derby Hospital on 31 March, where she spent 12 days in intensive care and a further 39 days in recovery.

During this time the 17-year-old took eight exams in a ward side room, with nurses acting as invigilators.

After making "a fantastic recovery" she has been discharged and said she was looking forward to returning to school.

Miss Paliya, who attends Littleover Community School, has hopes of going to the University of Cambridge to study chemical engineering.

She decided to take her A-level exams early after reading through the textbooks during the coronavirus lockdown.

"I sat and read all of them and looked through all of the past papers and thought that I could do the exams," she said.

Her family and school agreed but she had no idea she would be doing them from hospital.

image copyrightUniversity Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS trust
image captionThe 17-year-old decided to sit her exams a year early after reading textbooks and past exam papers during lockdown

Most exam boards are not issuing papers this year due to the disruption to education caused by the pandemic.

The exams sat by Miss Paliya - eight papers in maths, further maths, physics and chemistry papers - were compiled internally by her school to help teachers determine her grades.

"When I started to feel well enough on the ward, I spoke to the school and they agreed that I could take my exams while I was here," she said.

"As long as I didn't look at my surroundings, it was no different to taking an exam at school."

Miss Paliya - who received nine grade nines in her GCSEs last year - had to combine her studies with recovery.

For two weeks she was unable to move her hands and feet and has had to learn to walk again.

Her illness also caused her to lose some of the grip in her left hand.

image copyrightUniversity Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS trust
image captionMiss Paliya's illness meant she had to learn how to walk again

Staff gave her a guard of honour when was discharged last month after 51 days in hospital.

Miss Paliya said: "The one thing I'm most looking forward to is going back to school.

"Of course I have missed being at home, but I have made friends for life here, so I'm going to miss everyone."

A spokesperson for the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) said: "Where a candidate has a formally diagnosed medical or psychological condition, a temporary illness or temporary injury, they may be permitted to take their examinations at a venue away from the school or college.

"This could be at the candidate's home or at a hospital.

"The school or college must be satisfied that it is appropriate and reasonable for the candidate to take their examinations at an alternative venue.

"This arrangement only affects a small proportion of candidates in a normal year of timetabled examinations."

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