Grenfell Tower schoolgirl achieves A grade in GCSE exam she sat hours after fire destroyed her home

Inês Alves sat 9am paper in same clothes she was wearing when she escaped deadly blaze

Lucy Pasha-Robinson
Thursday 24 August 2017 19:11
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Grenfell survivor who took exam hours after fire achieves A grade

A teenager who was among the survivors of the Grenfell Tower disaster has achieved an A grade in GCSE science, despite taking her chemistry exam just a few short hours after escaping the burning building.

Inês Alves made headlines in the wake of the tragedy, that claimed at least 80 lives, after heading straight to school to sit her 9am exam in the clothes she escaped in during the night.

The 16-year-old fled the building in whatever she could pull over her pyjamas – and her revision notes – as her family lost all their possessions when the fire gutted their 13th floor flat on 14 June.

Inês gained the highest possible grade, a 9, in her maths GCSE – equivalent to an A* under the old system, an A in her overall double science GCSE and an A* in her Spanish GCSE.

“It’s good. I’m quite happy with my grades,” she said moments after opening her results at the Sacred Heart High School in Hammersmith, west London.

“I wish I did more, but then again, I don’t know, it hasn’t sunk in yet. For the exams I missed, I didn’t do too well in them overall.”

Headteacher Marian Doyle called her results “fantastic”.

Inês missed two history exams, one RE exam and one physics exam in the days after the fire, which affected her overall grades.

She plans to study chemistry, maths, economics and sociology when she begins her A-levels later this year, and has been offered counselling at her school and prospective sixth forms.

The scale of the Grenfell disaster was “slowly” starting to sink in, she said, adding that support from her school and friends had been “really good”.

Asked what she mostly remembered from the night of the fire, she said: “The whole thing. The screaming, people screaming, begging for help.”

Her family are currently living in a hotel, more than two months on from the blaze.

They have received offers of temporary accommodation but want to wait until they are offered a place with the opportunity to turn it into their permanent home.

Inês said staying in a hotel was “not ideal but it’s not terrible”.

She was accompanied by her brother, Tiago, 20, who said he was “very proud” of his “overachiever” sister.

He said: “I am really proud of her – I have no words for it. It seems very surreal even though I knew she was going to get it.

“Maths has been one of our strongest subjects family-wise.”

Headteacher Ms Doyle said: “Given that she had a number of exams still to do and in the face of that adversity and that shock, and I suppose the reflection of ‘what if’... she gathered this strength, that inner spirit.

“The girls have dreams and aspirations and they are supported in having the highest dreams and aspirations, and that determination to keep going, that inner strength, that inner core to keep going ... everything that she’d worked for, she wasn’t going to let go just as a result of this.

“It must have been so hard for her to actually come in and do that and try to blot out the scenes of what she had seen.”

Additional reporting by PA

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