School pupil passes with butterflying colours

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THE hard work paid off on Tuesday when pupils across the southside received their exam results by post, text or e-mail.

But, on what was a day of historic success nationwide, few could have claimed to have worked harder than Mearns Castle’s Andrew Mullen, who achieved six As and two Bs at intermediate 2 despite training for almost 30 hours a week to reach his Paralympic dream.

The 15-year-old swimmer is a medal hopeful for team GB at the games, which begin on August 29.

After waking up at 5.30am for a two hour session at Elderslie pool, Andrew returned home to receive the good news from the postman.

The dedicated athlete — who will compete in 50m butterfly, 50m freestyle and 50m backstroke at the Paralympics — told The Extra: “I am very pleased as I have done much better than I expected. My predicted grades were lower than what I got.

“I was hoping to get some As but to get six is brilliant. Now I can concentrate on getting ready for the Paralympics”.

The world number two in backstroke continued: “I am so grateful to Mearns Castle who have given me time to train and prepare for the Paralympics. They’ve been great.

“Its been difficult to balance my time between studies and swimming but I think I have managed that pretty well”.

Dad Henry was delighted with his son’s results.

The retired fireman said: “I used to worry about him but the way he has grown up makes me so proud.

“He is incredibly independent and the hard work he puts in is astounding — he’s an inspiration to everyone”.

Meanwhile, Mearns Castle head teacher Dean Smith described Andrew as a “tremendous young man”.

He added: “We are all delighted with his sporting and academic success. Combining his studies with the rigorous training he needs to put in to represent the country at one of this year’s huge sporting occasions is an inspiration to us all.

“We are very proud of Andrew and all of our pupils who achieve so much”.

Andrew’s first race is the freestyle, held on August 30 at the Olympic pool at Stratford. He then swims again on September 6 and 7.

After winning two medals on his international debut as a 15-year old at last year’s European Championships, Andrew was named Scottish disability sport athlete of the year.

MORE Glasgow teenagers than ever before have gained awards at standard grade, higher and advanced higher.

For the first time, 94 per cent of Glasgow’s S4 pupils have passed five or more at grade 3 or better.

Newlands and Audlburn councillor Stephen Curran said: “We made a commitment last year to raise the attainment and aspirations of our young people and today’s results prove we are achieving this.

“Pupils and teachers should be very proud of themselves”.

Bellahouston Academy brothers Dale and Adam Watt were spurned on by sibling rivalry as they studied for their respective exams.

The hard work paid dividends, with sixth year pupil Dale — set to study immunology at Glasgow University — achieving three advanced highers, two of which were at A grade.

Fifth year Adam replicated his brother’s higher success from last year — by earning 4 As and one B.

Mum Helen told The Extra: “It’s easy being their mum because I never have to tell them to get on with their work”.

And reassuring those who didn’t get the grades they were expecting, councillor Curran added: “I would urge these young people to contact their school where teachers are on hand to offer support and discuss alternative options.”

Meanwhile, it was good news for East Renfrewshire, with more pupils than ever achieving intermediate 2 grade A passes and almost one third of pupils earning five or more highers.

At advanced higher, East Renfrewshire had its best ever performance with 34% of sixth years achieving one or more.

Just one of the success stories was St Ninian’s pupil Sian Kelly, who achieved an amazing six A grades at higher level. Sian even completed a French higher in her spare time outside of class hours.

The 17-year-old told The Extra: “I have no idea what I want to do so I wanted to get as many highers as possible and keep my options open”.

Next year, Sian will not be taking it easy, as she plans to study for three advanced highers and one higher.

“I was exhausted after last year. I worked very hard”, she said, “but I’ve had plenty of time to relax over summer. I am ready to get back to the books”.

Commenting on a successful year all round, East Renfrewshire council’s education convener, Elaine Green, said: “We are all very proud of the achievements of our pupils”.