Around the world: Harriet's Pearson Edexcel story

Around the world: Harriet’s Pearson Edexcel story

Harriet, a student at Tanglin Trust School, Singapore is an Outstanding Pearson Learner Award winner, having received the highest mark in Asia for GCSE Art award for her Pearson Edexcel GCSE 2021/2022 results. Let’s hear Harriet’s story. Harriet, a neurodivergent learner, overcame significant academic challenges and...

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Harriet Strand, Tanglin Trust School

Harriet, a student at Tanglin Trust School, Singapore is an Outstanding Pearson Learner Award winner, having received the highest mark in Asia for GCSE Art award for her Pearson Edexcel GCSE 2021/2022 results. Let’s hear Harriet’s story.

Harriet, a neurodivergent learner, overcame significant academic challenges and emerged triumphant in her Pearson Edexcel GCSE 2021/2022 examinations. Her hard work and perseverance were rewarded when she was awarded the Highest in Asia for GCSE Fine Art and Outstanding Pearson Learner Award in 2022.

Harriet is currently studying for her Pearson Edexcel A Levels and plans to major in Mechanical Engineering in the UK.

“Everyone has their own strengths, talents and most importantly their passions. Everyone has something that makes them special—be it a musician, sportsperson, artist, scientist or aspiring engineer.”

Overcoming learning challenges

Diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia while she was in Year 4 (age 9), Harriet found herself lagging behind her peers in fundamental skills such as reading, writing and mathematics. Beginning in the lower sets for most subjects, Harriet quickly realised that studying at school presented unique challenges for her due to her neurodiversity.

“I remember doing this piece of English writing. I thought I had created such an interesting scene of this amazing desert with all these incredible details. But this amazing, interesting creative image that I could see so clearly in my head had in fact not been translated onto paper. My teacher could not understand what I had written,” said Harriet, explaining that her dyslexia meant she wasn’t able to convert ideas into words, “so, my educational journey has a lengthy and challenging one, marked by a determined effort to overcome obstacles and a continuous pursuit of improvement.”

Navigating through this difficult terrain, Harriet was fortunate that her struggles were recognised by her school, Tanglin Trust School in Singapore, and consequently, she was offered assistance in a supportive learning environment.

Collaborative effort and support

The support of the teachers and broader community at Tanglin Trust School played a pivotal role in propelling Harriet forward in her academic studies.

“The teachers at Tanglin not only acknowledged my strengths but also dedicated considerable time and effort to help me overcome the challenges posed by dyslexia and dysgraphia,” she said.

Harriet received invaluable one-on-one guidance and assistance from learning support teachers. She was placed in smaller classes that allowed for a more focused approach, with teachers making adjustments tailored to her learning requirements and creating an inclusive and supportive learning environment.

Harriet continued, “The gradual improvements in my learning became a powerful source of motivation. I began developing and implementing techniques to enhance my study habits, with the encouragement and guidance of my teachers. Their dedication and commitment shone through as they spent countless hours working with me to bridge the gaps in my understanding.”

The collaborative efforts between Harriet, her teachers and the supportive learning environment transformed her educational journey from a daunting struggle to a progressive path of growth. Harriet felt acknowledged and empowered to navigate academic challenges while feeling a sense of belonging within the school community.

Through perseverance, the implementation of effective study strategies, and the support of dedicated teachers, Harriet witnessed tangible improvements and transcended her learning challenges. “This journey has not only instilled in me a sense of resilience but has also shaped my understanding of the value of perseverance in the face of challenges.”

Making adaptations to achieve the best outcome

Besides seeking support within the school environment, Harriet equipped herself to navigate the challenges of examinations. She painstakingly developed a comprehensive toolkit of knowledge and skills, including strategies for taking notes in class and effective revision techniques.

“Written examinations, particularly when it came to subjects like English, remained a significant hurdle for me as it was not inherently well-suited to my learning style. My goal was to adapt the education system to better suit my needs, enabling me to achieve the best possible outcomes,” said Harriet.

To overcome these challenges, Harriet sought support within the school and Pearson Edexcel system. For example, Harriet discovered the option of using a scribe for her English Language GCSE examination. With practice, she honed the skill of articulating her thoughts and eventually, could verbalise her entire English essay orally.

“The process of using a scribe allowed me to transcend the limitations posed by written exams, providing an alternative avenue for me to express my understanding and proficiency in English,” added Harriet.

Harriet’s advice for her peers

To her peers who are facing learning difficulties, Harriet advised, “Difficulty doesn’t mean defeat; it means there’s something worthwhile to achieve.

“Embrace the struggle – it often precedes your greatest achievements.”

Every challenge is an opportunity for growth and learning. Instead of seeing obstacles as roadblocks, consider them as steps toward success. Stay positive, seek support when needed, and remember that overcoming challenges builds resilience and leads to accomplishments.”

Well done Harriet – we are delighted to recognise you as a Pearson Outstanding Learner!

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