RGS students excel in national maths challenge

RIPON Grammar School students have excelled in a national maths challenge which attracts hundreds of thousands of entries every year.

William Keens, 15, emerged as one of the 600 top-performing students in the country to qualify for the UK Mathematics Trust’s elite Hamilton Olympiad for the second year running.

The teenager, from York, is still awaiting the results of his demanding two-hour Olympiad challenge consisting of six problems requiring full written solutions.

Planning to study maths, further maths, chemistry and physics at A-level, he said: "I like the UKMT challenges because they encourage lots of out-of-the-box thinking. I was very pleased to find I was among the top 600 students in the country for a second year.

Juggling his studies with playing saxophone and piano in school orchestras in addition to being a keen member of the running and drama clubs, his ambition is to study maths at university: "I love maths because of its infinite potential for new problems to amaze and inspire," he said.

Of the Year 9, 10 and 11 RGS students who entered the first stage of the intermediate UKMT competition, involving 25 multiple choice questions on problem solving and reasoning, 24 high-scoring RGS students were awarded coveted gold certificates.

Of these, 17 were among the 8,000 top-performing students nationally to make it through to the follow-on round.

A magnificent seven of these RGS students were among the top 25 per cent of students in the country to achieve top marks in this round, for which they were awarded certificates of merit.

They are Charlotte Oakley, 14, Thomas Hallam, 14, William Bellaries, 15 and Thomas Simpson, 13, all from outside Ripon, and Naiomi Robinson, 14, from Boroughbridge, Herbie Ash, 16, from Bedale and Isaac Li, 15, from Leeds.

RGS Maths teacher Miss Rachel Bentley said: “I was very impressed with our students’ performance. William, in particular, did exceptionally well in the first round, scoring 128 out of 135, which is amazing. Making it through to the Hamilton round is a massive achievement!”

The UK Mathematics Trust, founded in 1996, runs the UK’s most popular school maths challenges, attracting more than 700,000 entries each year.

*William Keens, centre, top, pictured with some of RGS's top-scoring maths students