‘Extenuating circumstances’ could not have been more fairly granted, but a teenage girl who survived the Grenfell Tower fire bravely decided to sit a GCSE exam in her pyjamas the next morning.
Ines Alves, 16, escaped her 13th floor flat in the 27-storey North Kensington tower block and stayed at a friend’s house overnight, before turning up at Sacred Heart School in Hammersmith.
Seventeen people have been confirmed to have died in the inferno, but that number is expected to rise into the hundreds as the investigation continues. Seventy-eight people have been receiving treatment in hospital, some of whom have “critical” injuries.
Ines and her brother Tiago, 20, were woken up by her father Miguel, a chauffeur who emigrated from Portugal, shortly after 1am.
“I put on my jeans and a top and just grabbed my phone and chemistry notes,” she told The Telegraph. “I was trying to revise while we waited downstairs as we thought it was small fire at first but it was impossible.
“It was my Chemistry GCSE and that’s what I want to do in my A-levels next year so I thought maybe it was necessary to do it. It was still really shocking and it hadn’t hit me yet.
“It still hasn’t completely hit me that we’ve lost our house. But I still managed to think through in my exam and do it. Considering I hadn’t looked over my notes I think it went fairly well.”
Ines’ teachers knew before her arrival at the school that she had been affected by the fire, having looked up students’ addresses on their database. They gave her food, clothing and paid her travel expenses, before giving her special dispensation for her other exams.
Ines Alves is my new hero pic.twitter.com/F2Y3GNHCkm
— Bethan L. Evans (@BethEvsTV) June 14, 2017
Girls from my 13yo's school who lived in #GrenfellTower lost everything and still turned up for GCSEs next day in night clothes
— Polly Neate (@pollyn1) June 15, 2017
One Twitter user replied to Polly Neate, CEO of Women’s Aid, saying that her granddaughter had taken an exam next to a fire survivor who still had ash in her hair.
Rory Walsh, 18, also chose to take an A-level exam on Wednesday, despite having worked through the night helping Grenfell Tower residents. He returned to help with the community effort after finishing his paper.
Crowdfunding pages set up in the wake of the shocking news have so far raised over a million pounds to help residents who have lost loved ones and their homes. Find out how you can join the fundraising effort here.