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Bright girl shuns a-levels

SAMANTHA Bonner is typical of the bright students who opt for vocational qualifications.

The 18-year-old, who achieved 10 high-grade GCSEs, dropped out of sixth-form in 2000 while studying for three science A-levels. She is now completing an advanced GNVQ in chemistry, biology and physics at Sheffield College and has just applied to medical school.

"I didn't get on with A-levels," said Samantha, who previously attended Crystal Peaks Sixth Form College. "I wasn't hitting As and Bs and I realised if I didn't do something I would not get into medical school.

"There was too much theory and it was all about exams," she said. "My personal tutor suggested changing to an advanced GNVQ. I'm also taking an AS-level in psychology.

"I find college much more interesting. There's a lot more practical work and I prefer being graded on a combination of coursework as well as exams. It takes some of the pressure off.

"I'm not sure if I would have wanted to come here at 14. Part of the reason why I enjoy college now is because I am older.

"I wish I had started Sheffield College at 16 because things are working out really well for me now."

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