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'You just want to survive' - Syrian refugees begin a new life at school that says we need to do more

A year ago they were two teenage boys from Damascus - often too scared of the bombings and gunfire to go to school or even take their exams.

But now Sulaiman Wihba and Elias Badin have begun a new life at a public school in Sussex, trying to put the horror of their childhoods behind them.

They are thought to be the first Syrian refugees to be offered such a scholarship, but their teachers say we have a duty to do more - comparing their plight to that of children caught up in the conflicts of World War Two.

Andy Dickenson has been to meet them and also speaks to Steve Marshall-Taylor of Brighton College.


Brighton College student achieves "best GCSE results in country"

A teenager from Hove has achieved one of the best set of GCSE results in the country.

Polly Milsom who is 16 and attends Brighton College, gained 13 A* grades, with an additional top grade A in advanced maths.

Polly said she was keen to continue training for her favourite sports of cricket, hockey and running at the same time as studying.

Polly Milsom achieved 13 A* grades at GCSE Credit: ITV Meridian

She added she was proud of her results and hoped to either enter the army or become a stockbroker after university.

She said: "I hope to go to university, probably Oxbridge and I have spent six weeks in the summer with the cadets in Canada so I am thinking of doing something with the army or working with banking, I really like maths so possibly a stockbroker, I am going to see how my A-Levels go and what I like doing."

She said that she planned to study maths, further maths, economics and chemistry at A-Level.

"Polly's scores were exceptionally high in each A*. For instance, in English she was 297 out of 300, in design and technology she got 299 out of 300, in biology she got 391 out of 400, and in French she got 293 out of 300. Then she got advanced maths A which is the highest you can get. This qualification is harder than a GCSE."

– Brighton College spokeswoman

Hollywood actor teaches tongue-tied teenagers

An actor, who has starred in Hollywood films alongside George Clooney and Brad Pitt, is teaching tongue-tied teenagers at Brighton College to be more confident.

Basher Savage is tutoring pupils at the college to mimic Winston Churchill and Malcolm X's speeches after head teacher Richard Cairns decided they needed a boost when speaking to audiences.

The teacher, who appeared in the films Gravity and World War Z - as well as playing Dmitry in Radio 4's Ambridge Extra, said: "I start the course off by asking the children what they want to do when they are adults.

"The confidence and ability to speak publicly and sound interesting are key to so many careers in the 21st century and it's crucial that children know that tortured tongue-tied appearances in front of an audience will not help their careers at all."

The presentation course for Year 9 pupils will also examine Colin Firth as King George VI in The King's Speech, and copy the physical mouth shapes of Mersey poet Roger McGough.