PUPILS in Northumberland are believed to have scored the county’s best exam results yet.
Celebrations were under way yesterday at King Edward VI School in Morpeth, where a long tradition of academic excellence continued with a string of top class results.
Nine students achieved the grades they needed to clinch places at Oxford or Cambridge Universities – the most for some years – and three managed subject marks which put them in the top five in the country.
King Edward VI deputy head boy Tom Green, 18, is off to study history at Jesus College, Oxford, after achieving A grades in history, English literature and Latin.
Tom, who lives in Kirkhill, Morpeth, said: “I have always aimed to go to university and set my sights on Oxford over the last year because it is one of the best places in the country to study history. I play rugby for the school and for Morpeth RFC and I hope to continue playing at Oxford, although I am not good enough to get a blue.”
At Alnwick Duchess’s High School, head girl Juliet Edmondson, 18, lived up to her title by leading a group of eight students who achieved three A grades. Juliet, who lives with her parents Angela and Graham in Ellingham, near Alnwick, gained the top grades in maths, biology and English literature.
She now hopes to spend a gap year doing voluntary work in India and working at a ski resort in Canada before going to Bristol University to study law. Juliet said: “Being head girl for the past year didn’t really put any extra pressure on me to do well in my A-levels and I am delighted with the results.”
At Prudhoe High School, headteacher Iain Shaw was pleased with his students’ performance. He said: “We are delighted with the achievements of our students. We have got two going to Oxford and Cambridge and we have students going off to all four corners of the empire to do different courses.
“It is delightful that we can provide the world with such successful young people. Our results are about the same as last year and overall we are happy with how the students have done.”
At Queen Elizabeth High School in Hexham, headteacher Tony Webster said: “To say that we are delighted with these results is an understatement. They are exceptional, a tremendous tribute to students and staff.
“They also exemplify the positive relationships we have with parents and our community. At a time when we hear so much nationally about an alleged decline in science and mathematics, QEHS students have achieved 36 A grades in science and 25 A grades in mathematics, confirming the school’s all-round strengths.”
Kieran McGrane, headteacher at Bedlingtonshire Community High School, said: “At our school particularly we’ve had real success stories, and we’re absolutely delighted.
“For example, the daughter of two teachers here at Bedlingtonshire Community High has just aced her exams with four A grades. This example demonstrates the faith parents have in our school, and how dedicated and hardworking our students are.”
Sisters have triple triumph
A FAMILY at Whitley Bay are celebrating a triple-triple success. Triplets Rachel, Clare and Elizabeth Stroud, of Brighton Grove, all achieved three As.
The sisters did not attend the same school, with Rachel and Elizabeth at Newcastle Central High School in Jesmond and Clare a pupil at the Royal Grammar School across the road. Clare achieved her As in English literature, Spanish and history. She will head to London’s University College.
She said: “We were all hoping for the same results and it’s been a really nervous time for us. We all worked really hard. I’m pleased, but it feels strange. I’m nervous about starting university.” Rachel, who took French, music and English literature, will go to Selwyn College, Cambridge, to study music. She said: “I’ve been a bit nervous for the last few weeks, but it’s a big relief now.” Rachel, who plays in the Royal National Youth Orchestra, hopes to be a professional musician.
Elizabeth took English literature, maths and history and was the school’s first pupil to complete an advanced extension award for history. She will study history at New Hall College, Cambridge.
She said: “I wasn’t really expecting to get straight As, but it’s great. I’m a bit scared and a bit excited to be leaving home and going to Cambridge.”
Their father Robert, a reader at Newcastle University, said: “We are totally exhausted, but very proud. It’s been a bit tense in the house for the last few weeks, but it was all worth it.”
Rugby star scores in two fields
ENGLAND rugby union star Calum Clark proved he was brain as well as brawn yesterday as he achieved a hat-trick of A grades and played for his country.
The 18-year-old Barnard Castle student received his grades as he took the field in Australia to play for England U18s.
The back-row player, who plays at either flanker or No 8, led the County Durham school out at Twickenham for the final of last season’s Daily Mail Cup.
He will study management at Leeds, where he plays rugby for Premiership side Leeds Carnegie. He said: “Barnard Castle has a great reputation for rugby, but it also boasts impressive achievements academically.
“I am thrilled to get top grades, and like England first-team player and ex-Barney student Mathew Tait have shown it is possible to achieve in the classroom as well as on the field.”
Barnard Castle School celebrated an excellent academic year, bucking the national trend which has seen a decline in maths and science. Nearly a third of all the A-levels taken at the school were in maths, biology, chemistry and physics and 78% of all grades in those subjects were at A and B. Three students are heading to Oxford.
Head David Ewart said: “This is a triumph for common sense schooling which emphasises the subjects which power the technological future of this country.
“At a time when science numbers are plummeting elsewhere, our A-level numbers continue to grow. These results are testimony to a highly professional staff and hugely talented young people.”
Brave Dominic earns his bright future
ONE Newcastle student is celebrating more than most after scooping two As and a B in his A-levels, despite losing both legs and all his fingers to meningitis.
Dominic Snaith, who fell ill on a school trip to France two years ago, is now to study history with politics at Newcastle University.
Dominic’s proud headteacher at Gosforth High School, Hugh Robinson, said: “Dominic achieved As in English literature and history as well as a B in fine art.
“It’s an impressive achievement, not just given the fact that he obviously had to have a considerable amount of time off school while he recovered, let alone the impact his illness must have had.
“He also gained a C in his physics AS-level last year, which he chose not to continue to full A2 level, so he has just shown incredible determination.
“He has even learned to play the guitar again. He’s done remarkably well and is a really lovely young man. We wish him well in the future and have no doubt he will continue to succeed in his studies and beyond.”
Dominic, of Great North Road, Gosforth, Newcastle, has mastered his false legs, which were fitted just three months after he underwent the gruelling surgery that altered his life so dramatically, and he can now walk and swim.
He even completed last year’s Great North Run and used his experience to help others in the same situation by spearheading a campaign for Meningitis Awareness Week last September.