Dream big says doctor who fought GCSE pain in Peterborough

Former Peterborough schoolgirl,   Sidrah Nawas (25), who was not allowed to take GCSE or A level exams at a City school because they didn't think she was bright enough - has qualified this week as a junior doctor now working at Lincoln County Hospital. She is pictured at her family home at Burmer Road, Millfield EMN-150808-230031009
Former Peterborough schoolgirl, Sidrah Nawas (25), who was not allowed to take GCSE or A level exams at a City school because they didn't think she was bright enough - has qualified this week as a junior doctor now working at Lincoln County Hospital. She is pictured at her family home at Burmer Road, Millfield EMN-150808-230031009
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Thousands of teenagers will today be put out of their misery and find out how they have done in their GCSEs or equivalent qualification.

But for those who have not done as well as they hoped they only have to look at Sidrah Nawaz for inspiration.

Sidrah Nawaz

Sidrah Nawaz

The 25-year-old from New England was not allowed to do GCSE or A level science at the former Deacon’s School in Peterborough and was told to forget about a career in medicine.

Now she has just begun her stint as a junior doctor at Lincoln County Hospital where she is currently training in general surgery and working shifts which can run from 8pm-8am and even longer.

Yet despite what for many would be considered long and unsociable hours, Sidrah is enjoying what she describes as her “dream” job.

And her message for those who are disappointed by today’s results is simple.

“I would say dream big and work hard. If you think you can do it then you can. So you must give it a go.

“You owe it to yourself. If you didn’t quite get the grades don’t let it get you down. Try again. Remember, if you think you can do it then you can.”

Sidrah knows better than most the value of perseverance.

She was forced to take a General National Vocational Qualification (GNVQ) in science rather than a GCSE, but was told that doing her A levels in sciences would not be a problem.

This, though, did not prove the case despite her achieving a Distinction in GNVQscience.

Instead, she was told to forget about a career in medicine and to choose different A levels.

But, determined not to give up her chance at pursuing her dream job, Sidrah decided “enough was enough” and left Deacon’s School.

She moved to Peterborough Regional College where she received three As and a B in her A levels before taking up a place at the Leicester Medical School where she graduated this summer.

She was full of praise for the help she received at the Regional College.

Sidrah said: “The lecturers there were simply brilliant. They were supportive and inspirational. I ended up with AAAB and offers from three of the top universities including UCL.

“I enjoyed studying at the Regional College. The lecturers were committed to their pupils and not to targets. They made learning a great experience.”

Sidrah’s medical training will also see her take in general medicine and Accident and Emergency before completing her second year at foundation level at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.

Another goal is to work with underprivileged communities, possibly in Africa, before returning to work in her chosen field which at the moment could be acute medicine or general medicine.

All that can wait though. For the meantime Sidrah can reflect on her wonderful achievement just to get this point.

“It’s absolutely fantastic,” she said. “Being a part of a medical team, interacting with different types of patients and being able to make a real difference – it’s my dream career.”

Sidrah’s dad Haq (62) remembers pleading with teachers to let Sidrah take on science at GCSE and A-Level, but said he was told only students guaranteed to get an A-C were allowed.

Now, he can look on with great pride at his daughter’s achievements.

He said: “She was so determined, focused and diligent. She would not take no for an answer.

“ When she graduated I was very, very proud. The extra pride came because she had in some ways to fight a lonely battle.

“I thought her achievement was truly extraordinary that she battled against so many odds.

“She’s a true warrior.”