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Girl with mumps forced to sit GCSEs in quarantine celebrates results

North Bridge House pupils Florence Shaul and Brendan Comyn celebrate top grades. Picture: Polly Hancock. North Bridge House pupils Florence Shaul and Brendan Comyn celebrate top grades. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Friday, August 22, 2014
9:00 AM

A Hampstead Garden Suburb schoolgirl was forced to sit her GCSEs in quarantine after falling ill with a highly-contagious viral infection the night before her first exam.

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Florence Shaul, who lives with her family in Brookland Rise, was diagnosed with mumps just as her exams got underway at North Bridge House, in Rosslyn Hill, Hampstead, this summer.

Before her official diagnosis, the 16-year-old had to sit her first exams on her own in an isolated room amid fears she could infect other pupils sitting in the main exam hall.

When doctors diagnosed the mumps, Florence was given the go-ahead to sit the rest of her exams at home and discovered last Thursday that she achieved seven A*s, two As and a B.

She said: “I was swollen on one side of my face and then it went all the way down my neck. It felt very surreal, I was in a lot of pain but I had a lot of medication.”

Florence has now fully recovered from the infection, which causes painful swelling to the salivary glands, and is heading to the Jewish Free School (JFS) sixth form to study A-levels in maths, biology, geography and either economics or chemistry.

“I feel pretty surprised, really happy and really proud of myself,” she added. “I can’t believe I’ve done it!”

Another North Bridge House student Brendan Comyn, 16, is heading to Highgate School sixth form to study maths, history, biology and English A-levels after achieving eight A*s and one A in his GCSEs.

The teenager, of Weston Park, Crouch End, is a keen swimmer and trains seven times a week with Camden Swiss Cottage Swimming Club. He is hoping to compete nationally for the club soon.

“The training helps with studying,” he said. “It teaches you discipline, how to manage your time. I don’t have time to procrastinate and not do my work because I know I’ve got swimming in the evenings.”

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