A talented Milton Keynes gymnast has become a Twitter hero after getting low grades in her GCSEs.
Ellie Chick videoed a message to Education Secretary Damian Hinds begging him not to forget the 33 per cent of pupils like her who technically do not pass their academic exams.
“We all have a variety of talents and just need an opportunity to use them,” she said.
“I am kind, polite, funny, caring and adventurous. Learning never came easy to me. I achieved nine grades from 1 to 3, but the government does not see these grades as a pass .”
Because of this, Ellie’s options in post-16 education are limited. “It’s hard for me to find suitable courses,” she said.
Her video, published on her mum’s Twitter page, went viral and prompted an interview by the Times Educational supplement (TES).
Ellie said: “I made this video to inspire others and to show the government that they should respect people’s needs and do more creative stuff than academic.
“There are lots of people like me who when people ask what we got we’re embarrassed or don’t tell people. I don’t think this is fair. I want everyone to be proud of their achievements”
Ellie, 17, has been a gymnast for 11 years and has won numerous medals for regional and national competitions. She is now coaching at the MK club and hopes to go on to take a sports leadership apprenticeship
Her mum Sarah Chick said her daughter had received job offers since her video was published.
“We never expected such a reaction. People have been lovely,” she said.
But the person the plea was aimed at - Damian Hinds - has yet to reply.
Sarah told the TES that her daughter’s journey through GCSE results had been soul-destroying - particularly when she got a bottom grade in PE.
“We’d worked through every written paper together and it just seemed wrong that despite the fact she was such an excellent gymnast the exam didn’t even reflect this.”
Sarah added: “The education system is a fantastic place for many bright students who sail through... But if you do not fit the academic mould, it doesn’t matter how many times your teachers tell you that you’re talented, every exam result just reinforces the feelings of failure.”