A FLINTSHIRE high school student has received the highest accolade from an online education body, after refusing to allow difficult circumstances to stand in the way of achieving his goals.

Rhys Garner, 16, attends Flint High School and has just won the iAchieve Inspirational Student Award after completing a two-year vocational course in Equality and Diversity, equivalent to two Grade B GCSEs, alongside his other GCSE subjects.

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Angela Chatfield, course tutor and learning manager at the school, nominated Rhys for the award for his resilience, strength of character and dedication to his studies despite having to overcome an unsettled home life.

This is the second time iAchieve has run the national award and the second time a Flint High School student has been awarded it.

Mrs Chatfield said: "I am so thrilled for Rhys, he truly deserves to win the iAchieve Inspirational Student Award as he is such an inspirational young person who, in spite of all the personal struggles and challenges that he has already faced in his young life, and the fact that he joined the school once year 10 had started, has remained positive, kind, thoughtful and empathetic towards others.

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"His attendance, behaviour and attitude to learning is exemplary and he always has a smile on his face. Rhys is quite simply an outstanding student with a quiet, confident outlook on life and a determination to succeed in his qualifications.

"My colleagues and I at Flint High agree Rhys is an exceptional young person who has refused to allow his personal circumstances impact negatively on his education, day-to-day life, or future career aspirations. Rhys is without a doubt a shining star and an example to us all; he is also an excellent mentor for younger students in the school."

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In studying for the Equality and Diversity qualification, Rhys has learned about the different types of discrimination and inequality that can exist within schools, communities, and the workplace across the UK, many of the same prejudices that he himself has experienced. He has used this knowledge to develop greater awareness of equal opportunities and acceptance of diversity.

Mrs Chatfield added: "iAchieve has underpinned Rhys's learning journey after some challenging and tough times. His personal, social, and emotional development has grown along the way, and we all wish him every happiness and success for the future, no one deserves it more."

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A presentation ceremony was held at the school and Rhys was presented by the headteacher, Clare Millington, with his certificate and prize - an Apple iPad, provided by Jonathan Ovenden from iAchieve.

Mr Ovenden said: "It has been really exciting for us to hear from all the schools involved in the awards this year, and there have been some amazing nominations.

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"Once again, we were blown away by Flint High's nomination for Rhys; his determination, perseverance, and resilience despite everything else going on has been truly inspiring. He is a wonderful example to everyone that you can still be successful and go on to achieve great things despite adversity if you have determination and self-belief. We wish Rhys all the best with his future endeavours.

"We have also been really impressed by Angela Chatfield and the whole of Flint High School in their dedication to their students' success."

• iAchieve is a web-based vocational learning platform that has enabled students to continue their studies at home. It supports schools to successfully implement and deliver high quality vocational programmes that lead to nationally recognised qualifications for learners.