GCSE results at Ripon Grammar School


A TEENAGER who achieved 11 top grade 9s plus a rare A^ ‘hat’ is among those celebrating another set of outstanding GCSE results for Ripon Grammar School.

Molly Cushing’s clean sweep of 12 top grades was one of a number of exceptionally high individual performances amid an excellent set of overall results, despite the new, tougher exam system.

An impressive 92.7% of all grades awarded were 9-5s (the equivalent of A*-Bs) with 61.6% of all grades achieved being 9-7(A*-A)s.

The added challenge proved no barrier to success as students from the 133-strong cohort gained a total of 544 top 9/8(A*) grades, with nine students gaining a rare A^ ‘hat’, which is higher than a 9, in further maths.

Molly, 16, from Wath, said she was shocked when she saw her results: “I couldn’t believe it, I am so happy.”

She said she started revising early and did a little every day: “Drop-in sessions with teachers at lunchtimes and outside lessons really helped. They were so willing to go the extra mile to support us. They deserve a huge thank you.”

The teenager is taking A-levels in history, English literature, French and classics and hopes to study history at university: “There are lots of happy faces this morning, my friends have all done well. We’re all keen to get on with our A-levels now,” she said.

Among the other top performers was talented musician and sportsman Ben Rickard, 16, from Ripon, who achieved eight 9s, two 8s, one 7 and an A^ ‘hat’ to sit alongside his grades 6 and 5 in piano and tuba.

Ben, who plays for Ripon Rugby and Studley Cricket clubs, as well as for his school teams, alongside performing with RGS’s Big Band and brass ensemble, said: “I am really happy, I put in a lot of effort and it’s paid off.”

Another sporting star, 16-year-old Mena Scatchard, from Hutton Conyers, who has been ranked one of the fastest young middle-distance runners in the UK, was also celebrating a clean sweep of top grades.

Mena, who has been crowned Yorkshire Champion three years in a row, achieved seven 9s, three 8s and an A* in further maths.

Boarding student Amy Goodwin, of Potto, near Stokesley, is a step further to pursuing a career as a doctor after achieving four 9s, three 8s, three 7s and an A* in further maths and will now take A-levels in biology, chemistry, maths and physics.

“I am so happy with my results, and relieved,” she said. “Being a boarder has helped as we do group studies and we all bounce off each other.”

Amy, whose father Andrew is a heart surgeon and mother Alison a physiotherapist, said: “Our entire family are medics, so I have always been interested in it as a career. It runs in the family.”

More than 79% of RGS students gained top 9-7(A*/A) grades in maths, with more than 42% achieving the same in English language.

In religious studies, 11 out of 16 students (69%) achieved grade 9s; in chemistry, more than 46% of students gained 9s, followed by art, Latin and maths, with 40%, 33% and 31% respectively.

Students achieved across the board in all subjects, with more than 99% gaining at least five 9-4(A*-C) including English and maths and 96.9% of all grades being a 4(C) or better.


Headmaster Jonathan Webb said: “We are delighted, once again, with an impressive set of GCSE results, producing more than 60% 9-7(A*-A)s for the eighth year in a row. The students deserve every credit for their hard work and determination.

“Well done to each and every one of them, their results provide a strong platform for future academic success.”

The GCSE results follow a successful set of A-level results last week at

Ripon Grammar School, one of only 35 state boarding schools and one of only five grammar schools in the country to offer boarding.


Christa’s story:

A CHAMPION teenage swimmer who balanced her studies with 3.45am wake-up calls to travel 140-mile round trips for early morning training sessions before school is celebrating GCSE success.

Ripon Grammar School student Christa Wilson, a member of the elite Newcastle Swim Team, caught up with lost sleep and schoolwork during the 20 hours a week she spent travelling 1,000 miles by car.

Her hard work, both in and out of the pool, has now paid off.



Having competed alongside top swimmers from all over the world to achieve fastest in her category in the 200m butterfly at Glasgow International Meet this year, she has now achieved three 9s, two 8s, three 7s, in addition to an A in further maths in her GCSEs.

The 16-year-old, from Dishforth, who has her sights set on making it to the Olympics in 2024, said she was delighted with her grades: “I did find it hard to fit all my revision in around training, but the long car journeys helped. I do a lot of schoolwork in the car.”.

She has been getting up in the dark to train in the pool for two hours, four times a week – in addition to four two-hour after-school swim sessions and gym training – since she was 13 years old.

“There are a lot of late nights and early mornings, but I enjoy it. I have never wanted to give up. I’m quite competitive. And all my teachers and school have been very lenient and understanding about my training.”

Christa, who has been crowned county champion for Northumberland and Durham around 20 times, as well as winning numerous medals at national and international level over the years, recently won silver in the 400m individual medley at the English Summer Nationals.

Her mother, Kathryn, said Christa, who learned to swim when she was six months old and began competing from the age of nine, embarking on a gruelling training programme, including very early mornings, since she was 11 years old, had fantastic organisational skills and made good use of RGS’s sporting facilities.

“Her teachers have shown support and understanding throughout her time at RGS, ensuring her course work was maintained.

“Thankfully Christa’s dad, Craig, is an early riser and supports her in the early morning sessions. We are very proud parents who have a very dedicated daughter”

Headmaster Jonathan Webb added: “Christa has worked very hard to achieve superb results, balancing her studies with a particularly demanding sporting schedule. It is gratifying to see how all her hard work has paid off.

*The school’s 133 GCSE students are celebrating success this year with 61.6 per cent achieving 9-7(A*-B) grades and 92.7 per cent of all grades awarded being 9-5(A*-B).

This follows an outstanding set of A-level results last week at Ripon Grammar School, one of only 35 state boarding schools and one of only five grammar schools in the country to offer boarding.

Toby’s story:

A SPORTS-loving teenager who has suffered from life-threatening food allergies since he was a baby is engineering a bright future for himself after achieving top grades in his GCSEs.

Ripon Grammar School student Toby Redfern has never let his severe allergies, which have seen him rushed to hospital six times – twice following reactions at school – stop him leading a normal life.


He achieved fours 9s, one 8, one 7, three 6s, one 5 and an A in further maths and plans to study engineering at university following A-levels in maths, physics, chemistry and business studies: “I’m very happy. I was hoping for the 9s but wasn’t sure what else I’d get,” he said.

Having grown up with the knowledge that coming into contact with even small traces of foodstuffs including wheat, egg, dairy, nuts and legumes, could trigger an anaphylactic reaction where his throat closes up and he struggles to breathe, Toby takes it all in his stride.

The outgoing 16-year-old, from Studley Roger, plays football and tennis as well as taking part in triathlons and always carries two lifesaving adrenaline injectors to help him manage the condition.

His close friends have all been trained in what to do in the case of an emergency: “The most annoying thing is I can’t just pick up things to eat like my friends do,” says Toby.

His most severe reaction occurred in his second year when he was with a schoolfriend in Ripon Market Place and drank from a bottle of juice which had somehow been contaminated.

His mother Jane explained: “His friend administered an adrenaline injection – which reverses the allergic reaction – and people nearby helped him by calling an ambulance, which took 45 minutes to arrive. By the time I arrived his symptoms were returning so he needed a second adrenaline injection – which was pretty terrifying.”

Toby also says he’s grateful to the trained staff at Ripon Grammar School who have twice had to administer adrenaline injections: “Everyone at school has been very caring and supportive.”

Jane added: “The school has been incredible with Toby, from organising regular allergy training of staff to developing care plans and risk assessments and trying to create a nut free environment – in fact this was one of the reasons we chose Ripon Grammar School,” said Jane.

“Classmates have also been incredibly supportive, in particular his close friends.” She also praised the Anaphylaxis Campaign: “This is an incredible source of information and advice, and they have some fantastic factsheets too.”

She first realised Toby suffered from food allergies at six months old, when he dramatically lost weight and began to clutch at his throat and scream in pain after eating.

“His first major allergy incident was when he was exposed to egg and became floppy and lifeless. We called an ambulance and, luckily, he came round.

“The good news is that in the past three years, under the care of the Dr Louise Michaelis and her fabulous team at the Great North Children’s Hospital he has undergone a number of food challenges and can now eat tree nuts, wheat, dairy, and shellfish, so he is now only allergic to egg, peanuts and legumes, such as peas and lentils, which is life-changing.

“As a teenager he is becoming much more independent and responsible for managing his allergies, the most difficult thing is that he needs to plan what and where he is going to eat in advance whereas most teenagers can enjoy more spontaneity The upside of his allergies is that he has an incredibly healthy diet so is very fit, enjoying sports such as triathlon, football and tennis.”

*The school’s 133 GCSE students are celebrating success this year with 61.6 per cent achieving 9-7(A*-B) grades and 92.7 per cent of all grades awarded being 9-5(A*-B).

This follows an outstanding set of A-level results last week at Ripon Grammar School, one of only 35 state boarding schools and one of only five grammar schools in the country to offer boarding.



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