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Saturday, August 18, 2012

'Inspirational' Somali teen who came to Manchester knowing no English is off to Oxford

Jeylani Jeylani
Jeylani Jeylani

A Somali teenager who came to Manchester speaking no English is heading to Oxford University.

Jeylani Jeylani, from Moss Side, has scooped top grades in his A-level results.

And teachers at William Hulme’s Grammar School described him as an 'inspiration' to other pupils.

Jeylani was just eight years old when his family arrived Manchester from their conflict-ravaged homeland in the 1990s.

After picking up English he went on to achieve impressive GCSE results at the Manchester Academy in Moss Side, before switching to William Hulme’s Sixth Form in Whalley Range.

Staff said hardworking Jeylani has lifted spirits in the school – taking part in a mentoring scheme and organising a Question Time-style debate with high-profile speakers.

The Deputy Head Boy, who scored A grades in three subjects, said he hadn’t set his sights on Oxford until being pushed forward by teachers.

He said: “Going to the interview in Oxford was terrifying.

“I wasn’t sure how I would do. Fortunately, I had taken part in a summer school at the university for state-school pupils who were thinking about going to Oxford.

“One of my teachers also gave me a lot of encouragement. They convinced me to do extra work and read books which weren’t part of my course.”

Jeylani, the oldest of six brothers and sisters, will now go to Queen’s College in Oxford to study politics, philosophy and economics. He hopes to become a political journalist.

Peter Mulholland, William Hulme’s headteacher, said: "I am absolutely thrilled for Jeylani.
“He has worked incredibly hard and thoroughly deserves his place at Oxford.”

The former fee-paying grammar school is now free and selects pupils from all abilities.

Around 43 per cent of A-levels at the school scored B grades or better this year.

Source: Manchester Evening News

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