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Top marks for aspiring cancer specialist Taz

Inspired by her late grandmother, Tazkia wants to pursue a career in Oncology

A Coleg y Cymoedd learner who was inspired by her grandmother to give her A-levels another go and pursue her dreams of becoming a doctor, is celebrating top marks after getting the grades she needs to secure her place at university.

Tazkia Choudhury, 20, from Pontypridd, is set to study medicine at Sheffield university after coming back to college to give A-levels a second try and securing impressive A* AA grades in Biology, Chemistry and History.

Three years ago, Tazkia left her school sixth form after receiving D grades in her AS exams and made the decision to focus on caring for her grandmother, who was suffering from terminal cancer.

However, after witnessing her grandmother’s courage Tazkia became determined to improve her grades and go to university. She opted for a fresh start at Coleg y Cymoedd and, despite balancing care duties with her studies, got straight As, even achieving 100% in one of her exams.

Tazkia’s results inspired her to change her career ambitions and apply to study medicine. Motivated by her late grandmother’s battle with cancer, Tazkia now hopes to work in oncology to help other patients suffering with the disease.

She said: “When I first studied my AS levels, I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped. I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was 10, but at that moment I thought the idea of doing medicine at university was completely out of my reach.

“Time moved on, but the dream didn’t go away. I decided I had to make the most of the opportunities available to me and go to uni, so signed up to college to try again. I was nervous about doing the same subjects, but my tutors encouraged me and reassured me that I would get support throughout. I was aiming to get Cs so couldn’t believe when I got As. It gave me the confidence to think, ‘actually, you know what? I can apply for medicine’.”

Tazkia’s impressive grades come as Coleg y Cymoedd has reported its third successive record-breaking year of A-level and vocational results.

The college’s Nantgarw-based A-level Centre, which switched to remote learning in March following the Covid-19 outbreak, has achieved a 99.7 per cent overall pass rate, with the number of learners attaining A*-C grades up to 80.9 % per cent at A2 and the majority of A2 subject areas securing a 100 per cent pass rate, including the sciences, humanities, further maths and English.

The results continue a trend of improvement for the college, which has had to adapt its teaching and pastoral care practices to support leaners as they work from home via online lectures, virtual catch ups and continual check ins.

Karen Phillips, Principal of Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “This has been a very different year for our learners as they have navigated studies through a global pandemic and national lockdown. We have been amazed by the hard work, dedication, and resilience that they have shown as we have all adapted to working from home.

“While we cannot celebrate with learners in person this year and are missing our usual campus festivities, on behalf of the college I congratulate all who have received their results today.  We wish them the very best for the future, whether they’re planning on heading to university, apprenticeships, further education, training, or employment – we’ll be keeping in touch with them all and watching their fantastic progress closely.”