Destinations and case studies

CLASS OF 2019/20: Where they're heading next

From aerospace engineering to classics, economics, fashion design, medicine and veterinary science, we caught up with a number of students at RGS as they picked up their results to find out more about where they're heading next

Layla Osman, 17, (pictured above) from Ripon will study aerospace engineering at the University of Manchester after being awarded an A* in maths and two As in chemistry and physics. Layla, who hopes to become an RAF pilot and eventually go into Space said she was ‘very happy’ with her results. “I have a passion for maths and physics and a love for Space. To become an astronaut is my dream job,” she said.

Jasper Wood, 18 (pictured bottom, third left) from outside Bedale, will be studying engineering at Durham University after being awarded a clean sweep of A*s in maths, chemistry and physics, alongside an A* in his extended project qualification (EPQ). RGS head boy, he was also captain of the swim team and involved in a number of drama productions, alongside his part-time job in a local pub: “ I had to work hard in order to balance my time effectively. But the challenge of being head boy was a fantastic experience and really helped me develop as a person. He added: The circumstances this year seem absolutely crazy to me still and it was slightly upsetting to leave so abruptly; despite this I hope we have all come out with grades that reflect the hard work I know we have all put in over the past two years. I’m really happy with my grades, even though it was a bit uncertain. I just want to get on with the rest of my life now,” said Jasper, who wants to work in the automotive industry.

Amy Crompton, 18, (pictured bottom, second right, and above) from Ripon, will be studying osteopathy at the European School of Osteopathy in Maidstone after being awarded two A*s in classics and chemistry and an A in biology: "I want to help people recover from injuries without the need of medication or surgery, particularly having seen first-hand the struggle of varying sports injuries," she says.

Lewis O'Donnell, 18, (pictured above) from North Stainley, will study physical natural sciences at the University of Durham after being awarded a clean sweep of A*s in maths, further maths, chemistry and physics and an A in his EPQ. A talented cricketer and rugby player, Lewis has juggled his studies with a demanding sports schedule in addition to his part-time job as a waiter, playing cricket up to four times a week, involving multiple days off school, throughout the year and rugby twice a week in winter.

Emmi Scaife, 18, (pictured top far left and above) from Ripon, will be studying classics at the University of Oxford after being awarded two As and a B grade, in maths, product design and classical civilisation. Emmi, who writes a classics newsletter outside school and also teaches young Chinese students English, said: “It has been a stressful five months waiting for these results, and I wish we could have taken the exams, however I realise it wasn’t possible and it was a unique challenge.” Although she may appeal one of her grades, she added: “I’m really happy with the majority of my results.”

Emily Koscik-Jones, 18, (pictured above) from Cundall, will be studying fashion design at Northumbria University after being awarded two A*s in English literature and business studies and As in fine art and product design. She said: “I am really happy with my results considering the uncertain situation we received them in.” Emily, who makes and sells her own jewellery range, added “I have really enjoyed managing orders and having something else creative to do alongside schoolwork.”

Susannah Morgan, 18, (pictured above) from outside Wetherby, will take a fine art foundation degree at Leeds Arts University before applying to study history of art at Oxford, Edinburgh, Newcastle or Warwick after being awarded A*s in art and English literature and an A in psychology. A talented musician, and a member of a number of choirs as well as a lead violinist in a number of orchestras, in addition to taking part in school musical productions, she says: “During sixth form, I had to juggle my time between my academic and musical studies.” She adds: “I am proud of the results I've achieved today because, although we were somewhat robbed of a chance to 'prove' our skills and hard work, it's a reflection of the hours of work I've put in over the past two years. I am really proud of my results and am confident that I will be able to get where I want to be in the future."

Emma Belward, 18, (pictured above) from Ripon, will study medicine and surgery at Newcastle University after being awarded A grades in biology, chemistry and maths. As head girl and a member of school choirs, as well as performing a leading role in this year’s school musical production, Emma, who also volunteered in a care home and attended Stagecoach drama classes, has had lots to juggle alongside her studies: “I have loved doing lots of different extra-curricular activities, it’s been so much fun. Studying medicine has been my goal for quite a long time now so it feels very surreal that I can officially say it’s happening. I am so pleased to have gotten in.”

George Morris, 18, (pictured centre, top and above) from Middleton Quernhow, will be studying medicine and surgery at the University of Sunderland after receiving three A grades in chemistry, biology and physics with an A* EPQ. A school prefect and school pool lifeguard, he volunteered at a care home as part of preparation for medical studies: "I'm so pleased to have been accepted to study medicine. It is such a difficult course to get on to and I'm grateful to RGS for all the guidance they gave me throughout the long application process. It's daunting to have five years of study ahead of me but I'm sure it will all be worth it."

Araminta Praud, 18, (pictured bottom far left and above) from Kirby Hill, will be studying chemical engineering at the University of Nottingham after being awarded three As in maths, chemistry and physics and an A* in her EPQ: “I am just so relieved to get the grades I needed to go on to university. It’s been a happier day than I expected,” she said. Araminta, who was involved in Young Enterprise and ran lower school science clubs as well as volunteering in lessons and helping out at her local primary school, said: “I would just say the uncertainty has been really unsettling and it’s disappointing we didn’t get the opportunity to take our exams. However, I’m grateful RGS has prepared us over the last seven years so that even in these incredibly uncertain circumstances, we are still confident to go ahead to the next stages of our lives.”

Joseph Foster, 18, (pictured bottom far right and above) of Kirby Hill, is looking forward studying economics and politics at the University of Edinburgh after being awarded A*in economics and As in maths and chemistry. Joseph, who is hoping for a career in private equity, says he will always have fond memories of RGS because of great friendships formed and the academic success he was encouraged to strive for.

Sophie Jones, 18, (pictured bottom, second right) from Harrogate, will now study modern languages at the University of Bristol after being awarded A in German, Bs in French and history and an A in her EPQ.

Eddie Henson, 18, (pictured bottom, third right) from Winksley, will study veterinary science at the University of Liverpool after being awarded As in biology and chemistry and an A* in art.

Ryan Allsopp, 18 (pictured top, second right) from Ripon, will begin an engineering apprenticeship with the Royal Navy after being awarded As in maths, chemistry and history.

Lachlan Moon, 18 (pictured above) from Sicklinghall,will study MORSE (maths, operational research, statistics and economics) at the University of Warwick after being awarded A* and three As in maths, chemistry, economics and further maths. "I am so relieved to have got into the university of my choice," he says. Read more here.

Patrick Stone, 18 (pictured above) from Oswaldkirk, has set his sights on completing an adventurous international trek before applying to study philosophy at university after being awarded a clean sweep of A*s in history, religious studies, chemistry and EPQ. Read more here.

Sebastián Lyons (pictured above) from Ripon, was awarded a clean sweep of A*s in chemistry, economics, maths and EPQ. He will be volunteering in Nepal and travelling in Asia before taking up a place to study economics and politics at the University of Bath. Read more here.

Team GB cyclist Abi Smith, 18 (pictured above) from outside Helmsley, is considering deferring her place to study biological sciences at Loughborough University to focus on her cycling full-time. She was awarded A* grades in geography and PE and an A in biology. Read more here.

Tabitha Milton, 18 (pictured above) from outside Thirsk, is looking forward to studying politics, philosophy and economics at Durham University after being awarded a clean sweep of A*s in maths, chemistry, economics, English literature and her EPQ. ‘I want to thank my amazing teachers,’ she says. Read more here.

Grace Withyman, 18 (pictured above) from Ripon, will travel in Australia, Asia and the States during her gap year before taking up a place to study psychology at the University of Bristol after being awarded A*s in art and her extended project with As in English literature and psychology. Read more here.

Above: l-r Araminta Praud, Sophie Jones, Jasper Wood, Tabitha Milton, Eddie Henson, Amy Crompton and Joe Foster
Top: l-r Emmi Scaife, Lisa Thorpe, George Morris, Ashleigh Spencer, Ryan Allsopp and Sophie Jones
*Following the publication of this article, the government's change of policy resulted in amended A-level results for RGS students

OFFERS ROUND-UP: Class of 2019/2020

Their final school year may have been abruptly cut short but Covid-19 hasn't deterred these school leavers from pursuing their dreams

THE coronavirus pandemic has not stopped adventurous Ripon Grammar School student leavers aspiring to bright futures.

This year’s ambitious upper sixth form students, whose school life came to an abrupt end in March, have secured coveted offers and internships from a range of prestigious universities, art colleges, employers and voluntary organisations.

Head of sixth form Terry Fell said more students than ever – 167 – have applied to university this year, alongside a significant number planning to take a year out, gaining industry insight and life experience.

Around 70 per cent of students plan to take up places at elite Russell Group universities – despite most universities planning their first terms online - with RGS students receiving seven Oxbridge offers alongside nine offers to study medicine and one for veterinary medicine.

“These are amongst the most challenging applications students can put themselves through, and the most demanding of universities, and their success reflects a very bright year group indeed,” said Mr Fell, adding: “But our students and staff are very clear that there is so much more depth and success to be celebrated in this year group than just these simple headline figures.”

The unique year group is setting off on a wide range of varied and inspirational paths, with some pursuing their art and others gaining highly competitive internships and undergraduate placements in industry. A number are looking forward to setting off on adventurous expeditions and volunteering projects, with two students choosing to study abroad, in New Zealand and the US.

Jack Ibbotson, 17, from Burton Leonard, who studied economics, history and geography at A-level, will be starting a deck officer cadetship, sponsored by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines at Glasgow College, where he will take a degree in nautical sciences and marine operations: "This is something I have always wanted to do, and it is a fantastic opportunity to travel the world for a living,” he said.

Layla Osman, 17, from Ripon, who took maths, physics and chemistry, is planning to study aerospace engineering at the University of Manchester and hopes to become an RAF pilot and eventually go into Space: "I have wanted to do this for a few years now due to my passion for maths and physics and love for Space. The thought of being able to be even a small part of exploring it excites me tremendously. To become an astronaut is my dream job,” she said.

Emma Belward, 18, from Ripon, will study medicine at Newcastle University after taking biology, chemistry and maths at A-level: "I am looking forward to going to university soon, however I know things may be very different when I go. Most universities are doing their first term online so it will be a strange start for most people. I am currently just trying to use this time productively and prepare for my next stage in life."

“These are just a fraction of the inspirational plans and aspirations of this remarkable year group,” said Mr Fell, who said that the situation students found themselves in, with uncertainty over how grades would pan out and their university experience looking likely to be restricted for the first few months was initially quite bewildering.

“However, we can be sure that the dust will eventually settle, and the class of 2020 will step out into their bright futures, wherever they may take them,” he said.

“Whether their paths take them directly into their careers, into study at the very highest level, or whether they have chosen to take the time to reflect and make the right choices for them, our students embark upon those journeys very well-equipped for the challenges that await them.”


Imogen Hayden, 18, from Wensleydale, who studied history, religious studies and English literature, will begin a degree in history of art and curating at the University of York: "I love art history and have always enjoyed visiting historical properties so want to pursue a job in curating. Eventually I hope to become a curator in a historic house such as a National Trust property.”

Jasper Wood, 18 from outside Bedale, who studied maths, chemistry and physics as well as taking an AS level in design technology, plans to take engineering at Durham University: "I was inspired by my love of cars and would like to work in the automotive sector in the future."

Amy Crompton, 18, from Ripon, plans to study osteopathy at the European School of Osteopathy in Maidstone, having taken biology, chemistry and classics at A-level:" I want to help people recover from injuries without the need of medication or surgery, particularly having seen first-hand the struggle of varying sports injuries."

Phoebe Hall, 18, from Ripon, who studied chemistry, English literature, history and maths, plans to defer her offer to study history at Trinity College, Cambridge, after taking a gap year to ensure a more 'normal' student experience in 2021: "A childhood being forced to look around castles, and more importantly some truly fantastic teachers, were what almost inevitably made me to apply to read history as an undergraduate." 

Class of 2018/2019:

Bright future ahead: some of the sixth form students heading for prestigious universities 

A RECORD number of Ripon Grammar School students are celebrating offers of places on highly-competitive courses at the most prestigious universities in the country this year.

A record-breaking 11 students are heading to Oxford and Cambridge universities, with 16 also securing places on highly competitive medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine courses while more students than ever before - ten - have won places to study law. More than 67 per cent of the school’s sixth form received offers from the elite Russell Group of universities.

High-flying students throughout the 137-strong sixth form have secured places on a wide range of courses, from airline pilot studies, astronomy & physics to ecology & conservation, fashion, history, law, nuclear engineering, nursing and psychology & criminology.

Case Studies:

We want all of our students to be happy and fulfilled during their time here, allowing them to perform to the very best of their academic and personal abilities. We are extremely proud of all our students' achievements whilst at Ripon Grammar School and always enjoy keeping touch with former students through our alumni, Old Rips. We produce an alumni magazine which is a great read and demonstrates the diverse range of career paths our students follow after leaving Ripon Grammar School. You can find out about the amazing things many of our students have gone on to do in our Clocktower alumni magazines here or click on the magazine, below:

Here are just a few examples:

Jack Laugher, world champion diver and  Olympic gold medalist, left RGS in 2013

Throughout his school days, Jack fitted in a full training schedule of 25 hours a week, in addition to studying for GCSEs and A-levels. PE teacher Siobhan Gilfillan, who Jack describes as his mentor at school, says the Olympic gold medalist demonstrated the steely determination of a top athlete during seven years at RGS: “Without arrogance, he was able to bring tremendous insight into our sports psychology lessons. We all learnt a great deal about the psychology behind elite performers. He was always able to take both success and the odd setback in his stride and learn from it to come back stronger.”

Jack returned to his old school recently to inspire the next generation of athletes – giving them a spontaneous showcase of his diving skills in the school pool - and said he appreciated the chance to meet up with the great teachers and students who provided such a huge source of support throughout his diving career. “My school experience was a lot of fun, I enjoyed the friendships I formed and what they’ve evolved into now.” He advised students: “No matter how hard it is trying to balance school and sport, you can find a way to do it to pursue your dreams in both.” (Jack is pictured, above left, with his team mate Chris Mears)

Billie Marten, acclaimed singer/songwriter, left RGS in 2017

Billie, described by The Sunday Times as a ‘huge song writing talent’ and a ‘brilliant singer-songwriter’ with ‘a remarkable voice’ has released her second album at the age of 19. She released her first while she was still at school, with pop star Ed Sheeran announcing to his 19 million followers on Twitter that her voice was ‘stunning’.

Following a tour of the US, where she supported multi-platinum-selling stadium rock band Snow Patrol in May, she sets off on a headline tour of the UK in June 2019.

Although she’d written her own body of musical work by the age of 15, Billie only took music to GCSE level at school and was more keen on her art studies at school. (She’s currently enjoying working with image and film to produce promotional artwork and music videos.)

Not one to shout about her success, she didn’t like bringing her music into school, she explained: “I tended to stay quiet about anything music-related so my friends found out from Twitter or something. They were all hugely nice and proud of me and school was incredibly supportive,” she said.

She’s still great friends with many of her old school mates and gets together with those from her year when she’s back in Yorkshire.

Naomi Neal, surgeon at Oxford’s Churchill Hospital and lecturer in surgery at Oxford University, left RGS in 2009

Naomi earned international recognition for her ground-breaking research into the treatment of prostate cancer. She helped uncover a new gene network which could unlock the door to more effective treatments, bringing hope that more of the 41,000 men diagnosed in the UK every year could survive the disease. She has also carried out research into bladder cancer.

She always knew she wanted to be a doctor and did work experience at her local hospital and GP practices while she was at Ripon Grammar School: “I knew I wanted to work with people, not just do pure science,” she explains.

RGS gave her a lot of support when applying for university and she was particularly inspired by the voluntary work she did while at school, visiting elderly people living alone.

Naomi has gone back to her old school to help inspire students in the careers department. The daughter of a self-employed carpenter, she is grateful for the benefits of selective education: “It’s about offering an excellent education and boosting opportunities for those who are able from whatever social background,” she says.

Bruce Oldfield, fashion designer, left RGS in 1969

Acclaimed designer Bruce Oldfield first launched his eponymous label in 1975 and went on to dress everyone from Diana, Princess of Wales to actresses Charlotte Rampling and Joan Collins and singers Rihanna and Taylor Swift.

Brought up in a Barnardo’s children’s home, he attended RGS after passing the 11plus and thrived at school: “It was respite from Barnardo’s,” he says, explaining that he loved the school uniform, which made him stand out from the other Barnardo’s boys. He says the most important thing he learnt from RGS was: “A lot of common sense, good manners and a decent set of values. These are the things that have served me well. Grammar schools set high standards for their children and encourage enterprise and an ethos of hard work to achieve optimum personal results.”

He was particularly inspired by his former teacher Constance Gilbey, whom he looked on as a kindly guardian who helped him pursue his flair for fashion design: “She took me under her wing and came to my rescue. I had no idea of what I wanted to do with my life,” he says. Bruce recently returned north to attend Miss Gilbey’s funeral.

Nick Chester, left Ripon Grammar School in 1987
I graduated from Cambridge in 1991 and joined Simtek Research to work on vehicle simulation projects. When Simtek launched its own F1 team in 1994 I was fortunate to travel with the team, working for Simtek Grand Prix analysing data at the track in addition to vehicle simulation. I joined Arrows in 1995 to move into suspension design and in 1997 I took on the position of performance engineer for Damon Hill and Pedro Diniz before becoming race engineer for Mika Salo and Pedro de la Rosa in 1998 and 1999 respectively.
The start of the 2000 season heralded the beginning of my Enstone career, joining Benetton as test engineer to Alexander Wurz, Giancarlo Fisichella and Mark Webber.
The following year I graduated to the role of performance engineer for Fisichella before adopting the same position alongside Jarno Trulli between 2002 – 2004; helping the Italian to his first and only Grand Prix win at the 2004 Monaco Grand Prix.
In 2005 I took on a new posting as head of vehicle performance group; encompassing suspension, brakes and simulation.

It was a great period at Enstone as the team secured both the Constructors’ and Drivers’ World Championships in the 2005 & 2006 seasons under the Renault F1 banner. By 2010 I became head of performance systems, overseeing the team’s vehicle performance group, control systems and dyno operations. In 2011 I took on the new role of engineering director before becoming technical director of the Lotus F1 team at Enstone in May 2013.

Dr Paul Hullah, left Ripon Grammar School in 1981
Insatiable cravings for books and betterment instilled and installed deep in my vernal nomadic heart by unsurpassable RGS mentor- teachers, I entered Edinburgh University in 1981 to achieve an MA (first class with honours) in English language and literature and, subsequently, a PhD (‘The Poetry of Christina Rossetti’), partly funding/interrupting my studies with work as a musician and journalist. Active, notorious, and impecunious awhile on the UK underground music and arts scene (labelled a ‘silver-tongued devil’ by Sounds, and my band, Teenage Dog Orgy, hailed as ‘legendary’ by the NME), I fled to Japan in 1992 and have taught English literature at universities there for the last 22 years. I am currently tenured Associate Professor of British Poetry and Culture at Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo, and

co-founder of Liberlit, an organization for ‘discussion and defence of the role of literary texts in the English curriculum’ worldwide. I have published, presented, and performed internationally in literary studies, EFL, and multimedia poetics, and have published 14 textbooks for English learners in Japan, most featuring ‘literary’ texts at their core: recent textbooks include Britain Today: Old Certainties, New Contradictions (Cengage, 2011) and Rock UK: A Sociocultural History of British Popular Music (Cengage, 2013).
My first award-winning collection of poetry, And Here’s What You Could Have Won, was published in Britain in 1997 by Dionysia Press;
my sixth collection Scenes (a book-and-vinyl album collaboration with Edinburgh musician/ artist Martin Metcalfe) was published in August
2014 by Word Power. In 2013 I received the Asia Pacific Brand Laureate International Personality Award, an honour endorsed by the 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia as well as the country’s 13th King. The award citation stated that I was selected for ‘paramount contribution to the cultivation of literature [that has] exceptionally restored the appreciation of poetry... [and] contribution to the literary education of students in Asia.’ I am currently working on a critical study of the poetry of Christina Rossetti to be published in Britain in 2015. I am blessed and very content. So many good things in my life, and in me, I owe to RGS. 

Professor Caroline Wilkinson, left Ripon Grammar School in 1984
Professor Caroline Wilkinson went on to become an internationally renowned expert in craniofacial identification. Currently Director of Liverpool School of Art and Design, she used to enjoy playing for the school hockey team.

When the reconstructed face of Richard III was first unveiled, after being painstakingly built by adding precisely calculated layers of muscle and skin to a scan of his skull, gasps could be heard from the carefully selected audience. Few expected to see such an eerily lifelike image gaze back at them. Forensic anthropologist Professor Caroline Wilkinson, who headed the fourstrong team of scientists and artists who worked on the 15th century king, was probably the least surprised of anyone.
The mother-of-one, who left Ripon Grammar School back in 1984, has been meticulously recreating remarkably accurate faces of the dead for more than 20 years and has reconstructed the faces of everyone from Johan Sebastian Bach to Mary, Queen of Scots and Saint Nicolas.
The faces she has recreated from the human remains of bog bodies and Ancient Egyptians have been exhibited in museums around the world as well as featuring on television programmes such as BBC2’s Meet the Ancestors and Channel 4’s Secrets of the Dead.
The daughter of two primary school teachers from Masham, Prof Wilkinson never dreamt that her passion for both art and science at school would eventually lead to such a rewarding career.
Now 48, she was a student at Ripon Grammar School at a time before science and computing, combined with art, began to offer a whole range of such exciting new career opportunities. “In the Seventies and early Eighties, we weren’t encouraged to combine art and sciences. Art was considered to be for people who weren’t academic and there weren’t thought to be any great career opportunities. Of course all that has changed.”
She is grateful to the two art teachers, Mr LV and Mr SA Smith, who let her attend art classes even though the timetable didn’t allow her to take the subject at A level. “Both of them taught me to draw and observe things, they inspired me. My biology teacher, Dr Smyth, was the first person to spark my interest in the human body. Between them all they held my interest in art and science.”
She studied biology, chemistry and maths but always kept up her interest in drawing and painting, taking A level art after her Manchester University anatomy and physiology degree. She went on to study scientific illustration at Blackpool Art College. After taking her PhD in the relatively new subject of facial anthropology, or the science of human faces, she moved to the University of Dundee, where, as professor of craniofacial identification, she headed up the human identification side of the Centre for Anatomy & Human Identification.
Now about to take up a new post in Liverpool, as director of the city’s School of Art and Design, she will also have a Faces Lab in the  Science Park there. “My work has always crossed over between art and science,” she says. Her workshop may be covered in model  heads,  traditionally created by layering clay on top of a plaster-cast skull, but there is also a large computer system, enabling her to use 3D modelling or ‘virtual sculpture’ to create the same muscles she creates in clay, using information from CT scans of the skull.
It’s thanks to this scientific precision that her  reconstructed faces have also featured on TV’s Crimewatch and are increasingly used in police investigations. Her expertise in facial image analysis has also been called upon in the criminal courts. “There is never a dull day. I didn’t take much of an interest in history and archaeology at school, but it fascinates me now,” she says. 

While at school, she didn’t know what she wanted to do: “I was interested in anatomy and physiology but didn’t want to be a doctor. I vaguely thought of pathology,” she says. Her advice to students today is: “Follow your own path and keep your options open rather than being too focussed too early. Everybody has something in them, even if they are not academic. If you don’t know what you want to do, do subjects you enjoy. “One of the good things about RGS was that we did a lot of subjects. I am glad I learnt languages, it wouldn’t have been something I would have chosen but it’s a wonderful skill and good for the brain.” She is still in touch with friends from RGS and misses the landscape: “You forget how beautiful it is. I have a massive fondness for York and the Dales and Moors. I can imagine coming back to live in Yorkshire one day.”