An academic high-flyer faced having to spend the next two years redoing her GCSE curriculum until a Swindon school stepped in.

Carmen Lee, 16, who lives in Grange Park with her mum Jenny and dad David is in the middle of sitting 11 GCSEs – and says she can only do that because of the help and support of the Oakfield Project.

At the start of the year she feared she wouldn’t be able to take her exams – her parents had withdrawn her from her private school in Gloucestershire and the Lees were struggling to find any school nearby where she could sit her exams.

Carmen said: “We asked schools and they said they couldn’t accept someone that late in Year 11, and also because I was sitting exams with the exam boards private schools use – the international GCSEs.

“We were desperate – I thought I’d have to wait, then start again, which would mean I wouldn’t start A-levels until I was 18. We asked our MP Robert Buckland, he suggested we spoke to Peter Nathan at the council and he said the Oakfield Project might be able to help.”

The borough council-run alternative school was able. Carmen was educated at home but went into the project one day a week for extra tuition in English, and has been sitting her exams there.

Carmen said: “The staff have been really supportive. They’ve really helped me and I’m so grateful. It was a really difficult time and they’ve been brilliant and the pupils here have been lovely.”

Carmen said she was particularly grateful to head teacher Kim Tupper, exams officer Michelle Webb and curriculum lead for English Bev Kauppinen.

After her exams this summer, Carmen hopes to sit four A-levels, in biology, chemistry psychology and maths, and would like to go on to study biomedical science.

She said: “I’d definitely like to have a career in the science and medicine fields.”

Mr Tupper said the point of the project was to make alternative provision, adding: “We have accommodated other pupils before to sit their exams. Carmen is an amazing young girl and it’s been a pleasure to have her here.”

Ms Kauppinen added: “If we can do anything to help a student achieve their best, then we will do it and Carmen has been an absolute delight.”

Head of education at Swindon Borough Council, Peter Nathan, said: “The Oakfield Project prides itself on the support it gives to young people. It’s really good to hear about the positive experience that Carmen has had there

“I wish her and all other Swindon students every success in their exams this summer.”