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Millfield helps groundsman achieve A* English A level 26 years after leaving school
17th January 2019

Millfield Deputy Head Groundsman Colin Ashman from Street, who has worked for the school for over 25 years, has achieved an A* grade in his A level English Literature course with the help of teachers, learning support staff and pupils from the school.  

Colin, who prepared for his exams by listening to audiobooks while he mowed the cricket green lawn, achieved near perfect marks in three of the four papers, including a perfect score in the drama exam.  

Encouraged by Millfield English teachers Caroline Byrne and Lindsay Hale, as well as Head of English, James Baddock, Head of Library David Trevis, Diane Tonkins from Learning Support and his friend Mario, Colin pursued his passion for literature through independent study and feedback from the teachers.  

People from across the Millfield community helped prepare Colin for his exams, including pupils passing on their old books and members of the English Department inviting him to attend theatre performances and poetry readings with the pupils. 

Due to personal circumstances, Colin had to re-sit the entire A level course (including his previous AS exam) in November 2018. But with the support from the school, he excelled in his re-sit to achieve his A* grade. 

Having juggled his studies with caring for his four children, all under 9, and a full-time job, Colin credits the help from his family, as well as the Millfield community, as the reason for his success.  

Colin is now working towards an Extended Project Qualification on poets William Blake and Spike Milligan, which he will present to pupils and staff later this year. 

Colin says, “If I could travel back in time,  I would say to my 15 year old self: don't give up on what you truly want to do. Don't give in to pressure, but use it to give you strength when you feel like giving up: give everything, and people will join you in your journey, and share in your success.” 

Headmaster Gavin Horgan says, “Colin’s story is one of diligence and drive, and I’m delighted that the whole Millfield community can share in his success. His story of resilience and hard work to complete a goal 25 years in the making is what we hope to instil in all of our pupils here at Millfield. I hope Colin’s story will inspire other members of the Millfield community to pursue their dreams in the future.” 

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