Edinburgh College French student is not only très bien but the best in the country

Edinburgh College French student is not only très bien but the best in the country

An Edinburgh College student didn’t need any bonne chance to achieve Scotland’s top Advanced Higher French final exam result, as linguistic excellence clearly runs in her family.

Vicki Harrison scored 192 out of 200 in the exam, the highest mark in the country. The Franco-Scottish Society has presented her with the Lansdowne Prize, awarded annually to the candidate who achieves the best mark in Advanced Higher French.

What’s even more impressive is that Vicki’s mum Kathy also studied the same course and was just behind her, also achieving an A. The pair were among 774 candidates across Scotland who sat the exam.

Vicki and Kathy both studied the Advanced Higher French through open learning. Vicki achieved her success on top of her full-time job as a risk manager for a bank and her other role as a mum of three (aged eight, 11 and 13). She decided to study French through a desire to continue learning and expand upon the other languages she has under her belt – Italian and German (and she is now studying Spanish).

Kathy, who is an investment manager for a business angel group, also signed up to the course to challenge herself, having not studied French since she was at school.

Vicki said of her win: “I couldn’t believe it – I thought there must have been a mistake but it was a very nice surprise.

“I like to keep learning and with three children and a job I had to find something that was flexible. Open learning was the best way to do it and it worked out well. With work and children, I had to fit in essay writing between 11pm-1am but I was motivated and it’s just a case of planning well.”

A proud Kathy added: “We supported each other through it and we’re both very pleased with the results.”

Vicki follows in the footsteps of previous Edinburgh College Advanced Higher student Sarah McArthur, who won the Lansdowne Prize two years ago.

Lecture Caroline Cordier, who taught Vicki, Kathy and Sarah, said: “I am very proud of Vicki’s fantastic achievement and it’s remarkable that she and her mum Kathy challenged themselves to take on such a difficult exam. Their results show that online learning can be a very successful mode of study. Its flexibility offers mature students and also school pupils the possibility to keep studying languages. Edinburgh College is the only college in Scotland to offer Nat 5, Higher and Advanced Higher qualifications in modern languages – French, German, Italian and Spanish.”

The Franco-Scottish Society President the Rt. Hon. Lord Brodie said: “The society is delighted to recognise Vicki’s quite-brilliant performance. It also congratulates Caroline Cordier and her colleagues at Edinburgh College for everything that they have done to make possible the best result in Scotland for the second time in three years.”