A POLISH student who arrived in the country as a 10-year-old and unable to speak the language sealed strong passes in GCSE English.

Nikola Michalak, 16, from Nightingale Academy, Edmonton, clinched a grade 6 in language and literature, maths, 2 A*s, a B and 3 Cs.

She spent a year out of education when her family arrived in the country but joined in year 7 and helped her classmates in maths lessons.

She said: “I was always the best in my class in Poland for maths and so when I started at Nightingale I was able to help my classmates. Even though I didn’t speak English, it was about numbers and so I could show them.”

Nikola hailed her teachers, paying tribute to them for helping her learn the language.

She said: “This school and its teachers are something special. They are so encouraging and have taught me English.”

Nikola, who hopes to study architecture at university, will stay on at Nightingale to study English literature and art.

Kinga Morus, 16, of Cheshunt, is another student of Polish descent who sealed strong passes in English, despite not speaking the language until she was 6.

She got a grade 6 in language and literature, as well as 1 A*, 3 As, 2 Bs, 1 C and a grade 7 in maths.

The aspiring vet will now study biology, chemistry and geography.

Elsewhere, students at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) celebrated an ‘outstanding’ set of results.

More than 75 per cent of students aged 19 or over netted A* to C grades in maths. Fifteen per cent gained A*s or As. Nearly 40 per cent of students attained A* to C grades in English.

Students lined up to praise their teachers for helping them.

Timothy Owusu, 25, gained an A in maths and is returning to CONEL to do a Postgraduate Certificate in Education.

He said: “The first part of the exam was tough, but I found the rest quite straightforward. I wanted an A* but I’ve got to be pleased with this.

“The teachers here were fantastic. They had so much time for us both one-to-one and in the classroom.”

Shewit Tecleberhan, 22, got an A* in maths to go with her nursing degree clinched in Eritrea.

She said: “I wanted more than anything to make my teacher proud. I really admired him. He had a lot of experience and motivated the class really well.”

Shewit will now go to Kingston University London to do a masters in pharmacy.