A 17-year-old girl from Shetland has been offered a place at Oxford University to study Chinese.
Flossie Taylor from Walls, who has been at school on the mainland since she was 12, gained top results in Advanced Higher in Latin, RMPS (religious, moral and philosophical studies) and English. She will now go to St Hilda’s College, Oxford, after the summer.
Flossie said: “It still hasn’t sunk in yet but I am very excited about to be going to Oxford. It has been my dream.” Proud mother Frances, who runs the Thordale Shetland Stud, said simply: “I’m thrilled.”
Flossie started her schooling at Sandness Primary School, which suited her well, being a gifted and extremely intelligent child. Mrs Taylor said the small school “totally met all her educational needs. The teachers had time and treated her individually.” But the transition to the local secondary school was more difficult for her.
Flossie’s elder sister was already at boarding school, Kilgraston, in Perthshire, a school which the family had discovered when in Perth taking part with their Shetland ponies in the various shows south.
Flossie followed her sister to the independent girls’ boarding school, having won a scholarship to go there. Although the school is Roman Catholic, it welcomes people of all faiths.
At school Flossie studied French, Latin and German, together with ancient Greek “as an extra subject for fun” with an after-school club. Her talent for languages was demonstrated during a holiday in Egypt, when she learned some Arabic from a hotel receptionist who happened to be a primary school teacher. She was fairly proficient by the end of the holiday and could talk to the locals, which astounded and delighted them. Mrs Taylor said: “It was very funny and everyone warmed to her because she had made the effort.”
* More in Friday’s Shetland Times.