From education to employment

Young linguist with ‘extraordinary natural talent’ secures Oxford place

A Modern Languages student from Brockenhurst College, who only started learning Spanish last year, has achieved three A* grades in his A Levels, securing his place to study Spanish and Linguistics at the University of Oxford.

Harry Beckett, who previously attended Noadswood School, earned the top grades in Spanish, Law and Economics.

He became fluent in conversational Spanish after his talent was spotted and nurtured by teachers Sally Platt and Ana Gaztanaga.

Harry said: “The linguistics aspect is really important for me, and the course at Oxford seems to go into great detail – it won’t be easy but it’s exactly what I’ve been seeking.”

“Taking Spanish at Brock was an excellent choice. The course focussed on a combination of Spanish and Latin American culture and literature, which greatly improved all my skills in the language.

“My favourite parts of the course were the speaking sessions, which really helped with my confidence to speak and put my Spanish into practice, plus the focus on the culture of Spanish speaking countries, which allowed me to be knowledgeable when speaking with native speakers.”

One of Harry’s strategies for learning success was reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Spanish from cover-to-cover – an approach he calls ‘brute-forcing’.

As well as Spanish, he can speak conversational Dutch and is now challenging himself further by learning Chinese.

Queens College

Spanish teacher, Sally Platt, said:

“Harry has an extraordinary natural talent for processing linguistics, and it has been a real pleasure to nurture his gift and witness his speedy development.

“I’m really thrilled with Harry’s results – he has worked so hard to achieve his A*s and all his efforts have paid off.

“It’s a phenomenal achievement, especially as he hadn’t taken Spanish at school. We’re all so proud of him and wish him the very best as he takes his place at Oxford.”

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