Oakham parents tell of pride at autistic son’s A-level achievements

Jack Gray pictured 'with his parents Lisa and Mark
Jack Gray pictured 'with his parents Lisa and Mark

AN OAKHAM teenager with autism has overcome his difficulties and achieved top grades at A-level.

Now Jack Gray, 18, of West Road, is looking forward to going to university after getting an A* in physics, As in geology and maths and a B in chemistry at Rutland County College.

Autism is a condition that makes it difficult for people with it to communicate with and relate to other people.

Jack’s parents Lisa, who works as a playleader at The Ark Nursery in Oakham, and Mark, who works in site maintenance at the college, were there with him when he opened his results.

Lisa said: “We are so very proud of him. It’s like we’ve come to the end of a very long tunnel but all the hard work has been worth it.”

Jack said: “I was predicted these results so I feel very proud.”

Jack’s autism means that he struggles in social situations, especially when confronted with his peers, but he determined to go on to study geology at the University of Leicester.

He added: “I’m really looking forward to going to university because I love the subject I am studying.”

Jack started his education at The Parks School in Oakham and then went on to Oakham CE Primary School and Catmose College.

Linda said: “We wanted him to stay at schools in Oakham to give him a bit of independence.

“He was able to walk to school on his own and not have to fuss about getting a taxi to a special school in Leicester or Peterborough.”

Jack says that over time his ability to deal with social situations has improved and that studying at Rutland County College has boosted his confidence.

Linda said: “He made friends here because when you’re at college you start to talk to different people about subjects that you have in common.”

Mark and Linda have both supported Jack throughout his education.

Mark said: “Linda has worked very hard with him and encouraged him in everything.

“She has basically been a mentor to Jack over the years and has done such a great job.”

Jack said: “I am really grateful to my parents.

“I would never have done as well as I have done without

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them.”

The family said they were going to call Jack’s sister Pip, 20, who is studying graphic communications at Cardiff University and then celebrate by having a pub lunch.

Linda said: “Jack is going to commute to Leicester from Oakham because he’s not quite ready to live in halls yet.

“He has always been very studious and reads reference books instead of novels. He will do very well.

“We are very proud of him.”

Another Rutland County College student who was celebrating yesterday was Francesca Rycroft, 21, of Tolethorpe Close, Oakham.

She got five A-levels at A* and A grade and has a place at Cambridge University to study law.

Principal Victoria Crosher said: “We are proud of all the students and wish them well as they embark on their future careers.”