Head girl and boy lead from the front

THE head boy and head girl at Ripon Grammar School led from the front in this year’s A-level results, gaining seven top grades between them.

Thomas Mewes achieved A*s in chemistry and maths and an A in biology and will now take up his place to read medicine at the University of Oxford.

His co-student leader Sola Sowole gained two A*s in economics and her extended project qualification, alongside As in maths and religious education to secure her place reading philosophy and economics at the London School of Economics.

Both have had a busy year, juggling their responsibilities as student leaders alongside volunteering to help younger students in lessons and peer reading. Tom also played rugby for the school’s first team while Sola is a keen athlete and former North Yorkshire sprint champion.

“We took a lot on, but I really enjoyed the year. And it was good in the end, because it has all worked out for us,” said Sola, who lives in Thirsk.

“At times, we’ve been really busy. Perhaps that meant I didn’t work as hard as I should have, but I had a great time in sixth form, it was a blast,” said Thomas, from Ripon, whose volunteering with elderly patients at his local hospital inspired him to study medicine. 

He added: “These grades are for our teachers. Without them we would have got nowhere. We’re very grateful to them all.”

Other standout performances include Gus Smith, Alex Edwards, Marcus Tomlinson, Georgie Turner, James Wiseman, Joe Horner, Poppy Jagger, Evie Withington, Marina Mitra, Natasha Lovel, Millie Simenacz, Kathryn Barrett and Robbie Haynes, who all achieved a clean sweep of A*s, with more than 76 per cent of students gaining A*-B grades.

Overall the school, which consistently gains the best A-level results in North Yorkshire, saw its 137 students receive a total of 109 A*s, with nearly half of all grades awarded A* and As. Twenty per cent of all grades were A*s.

Eleven of the top-performing students secured places at Oxford and Cambridge universities with 12 pupils also heading to study medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine, traditionally the most highly competitive courses.

Other students have been accepted on a wide range of degree courses at prestigious universities, studying everything from from art and ecology to pilot studies, physics, fashion management, music, nuclear engineering and nursing, while some will be taking up apprenticeships, working in conservation and volunteering in China, Nepal Thailand and Africa during their gap year.

Students scored highly in all subjects, including 72 per cent of all candidates achieving A*s and As in art and all three students studying German gaining As. In the extended project qualification (EPQ), 72 per cent of students gained A*s and As.