One A-level student who missed out on a top veterinary school place after being handed three D grades furiously accused Schools Minister Nick Gibb on national radio of ‘ruining my life’.
Nina Bunting-Mitcham said she was predicted to achieve ABB and scored As and Bs in her mock exams, but her DDD results meant she failed to meet her offer from the Royal Veterinary College.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions, Mr Gibb promised a ‘robust’ and ‘swift’ appeal system which should see challenged grades addressed by September 7, telling her: ‘It won’t ruin your life, it will be sorted I can assure you.’
Mr Gibb added pupils can also sit exams in the autumn and ‘many universities are holding places open to start in January’.
He said it was ‘rare’ for students to be downgraded three grades from their predicted ones, adding: ‘This should not have happened to you. We don’t want you to have to go through this. There will be these mistakes.’
Ms Bunting-Mitcham, 22, from Peterborough, told The Mail on Sunday she had been planning a career in music when she took a sudden decision to follow her childhood dream of being a vet.
She left the private school where she had begun A-levels in music, drama and philosophy, and using a private tutor, re-sat her GCSEs in the sciences, gaining A and A* grades. Then she enrolled at Stamford College in Peterborough to study A-Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Psychology.
‘All the way through, I’ve scored between A* and B in my tests and mocks,’ she said. ‘I was predicted ABB and got an offer from the best vet school in the world. Then I received results telling me I had three Ds. After all that hard work, it was just as if the world had collapsed around me and my life was ruined. It’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.
‘I cannot make any sense of the decision. I’ve never been a D-grade student. I rang the university, which said if you don’t get the appeal in time we’ll keep your place for 2021. I’m determined that whatever it takes, I will become a vet.’
Stamford College said ‘Nina is a very bright student’, who ‘would be a credit to any university’, adding she was an example of ‘where the system has failed’.