Marcus Rashford leads congratulations to Big Issue vendor, 58, who passed his GCSEs

·2-min read

Watch: Emotional moment as Big Issue vendor gets his GCSE results

Marcus Rashford has led the congratulations to a 58-year-old Big Issue vendor who passed his GCSEs this week.

The Manchester United and England footballer tweeted his good wishes to Clive Rowe, who found out on Thursday he had passed his GCSE English and maths.

Rowe, from Plymouth, opened up his GCSE results just like thousands of students across the UK, and achieved a 5 in English language and maths.

A 5 is considered a "strong pass" under the current GCSE grading system and is roughly between a B and C under the old system.

He took courses at City College Plymouth during the pandemic and now plans to go to university.

He said: "This is a massive leap for me. I feel like I’ve been to Eton or something."

Rashford tweeted on Thursday: "Love this. Congrats Clive."

Big Issue vendor Clive Rowe celebrates after opening his GCSE results. (The Big Issue)
Big Issue vendor Clive Rowe celebrates after opening his GCSE results. (The Big Issue)

Rowe said education has given him a "massive" confidence boost, as he moved closer to achieving his aim of studying creative arts at university.

He told The Big Issue after picking up his results: "It’s absolutely amazing for me, I’ve passed both with flying colours.

"I just can’t believe I’ve managed to do it. It is such a massive step up for me. Normally, my life gets better in little stages and little steps at a time, but this is a massive leap for me. 

"I never expected to do it.

"My inner confidence has had a massive boost thanks to being in education. It’s a future for me. Now, I want to do more in education."

Rowe grew up in the care system and foster homes as a child before he battled homelessness and addiction as an adult.

He started selling the magazine in London’s Covent Garden 14 years ago.

The vendor and his pet dog, Geezer, have become a big part of the local community in Plymouth, taking on acting classes, starring in productions and participating in the theatre’s Our Space programme. 

Big Issue vendor Clive Rowe passed GCSE English and maths at the age of 58. (The Big Issue/Amy Stanford)
Big Issue vendor Clive Rowe passed GCSE English and maths at the age of 58. (The Big Issue/Amy Stanford)

"When I was a kid I hated education," he said.

"I was in and out of care and fostering so my youth in the education system wasn’t very good.

"By the time I was 14 I was in detention centres, my start in life was not the easiest. So today has been a really exciting day."

Sean Doogan, maths lecturer at City College Plymouth, told The Big Issue: "Clive has been a fantastic student who worked diligently on improving his maths skills during the year.

"He has been an inspiration to others, and I am so happy to see him achieve the success his hard work deserves."

Watch: Top GCSE grades reach record high

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