An equestrian sport international from the Vale of Clwyd is riding high after gaining eight A-star grades at GCSE.
Isabella Stone, from Efenechtyd, near Ruthin, a student at Myddelton College, Denbigh, represented Wales at Under-16 level last month at polocrosse – a combination of polo and lacrosse – to relax after the stress of exam time.
The 16-year-old is returning to the school’s sixth form next month to study Chemistry, Biology, Geography and Business but is keeping her options open for the future.
She said: “I’m quite happy with the results but I’ve not really made my mind up for the future and want to keep my options open.
“I still love riding and was on the Welsh team for polocrosse which is basically lacrosse on horseback but more violent than polo – it’s a great team sport.”
Mum Andrea, a dentist, said: “We’re very happy. She has showed she is made of the right stuff because she has had a few setbacks this year but has done very well.”
Harry Mead from Connah’s Quay matched Isabella’s eight A stars while Pinyaphat Yuddnavaveesak, from Thailand gained six A-stars and an A.
In all 36 students sat the exams this summer and 94 per cent achieved A star to C grades and Headmaster Andrew Allman said: “We’re very pleased with how the results have gone with some top performers and a lot of really pleasing results.
“The examiners this year went very strictly back to the 2019 grade boundaries so they didn’t take into account the levels of stress this cohort had to cope with through the pandemic.
“In the circumstances considering they have been affected as much as any year group I think they have done very well and the results reflect well on them and on their teachers.”
There were plenty of happy faces at the school as the envelopes were opened and among them was Kate Lloyd Williams, from St Asaph, with her highlight an A in History setting her up to return to study History, Business, Psychology and Drama.
She said: “It’s all I hoped for and more so I’m following my brother John into the sixth form and he’s going to Liverpool University after getting his A-levels last week.”
Mum Rosalind said: “She has had so much support here at Myddelton and we’re absolutely delighted.
“All through Covid the staff have really supported the pupils to get the best out of them at a very difficult time.
“We were very worried about the change in grade boundaries but she has done really well – and she’s passed her Maths.”
There were A stars in Maths, Physics and Business Studies for Pranay Patel, from Rhos on Sea and he said: “I’ve got exactly what I needed so it did go well and I’m going to celebrate at my mate’s birthday.”
Lewis Roberts, from Lixwm, whose mum, Helen, is a receptionist at Myddelton College, gained A stars in Physics and Business and four more As and will return to Physics, Computer Studies, Business and Maths.
Helen said: “He has done so much hard work and it’s paid off for him so we’re really happy for him.”
Thomas Bean, from Clawddnewydd, near Ruthin, gained 5 As and 3Bs and said: “I’m looking forward to coming back to sixth form in a couple of weeks. It’s been better this year than the last two which were difficult because of Covid.
“This was the first time we had actually sat exams together and they altered the grade boundaries by about 20 marks.”
Darcey Owen-Morrell, from Llanbedr, near Ruthin, will return to study Geography, Biology, Business and PE and having first sat on a horse aged six she has her heart set on a career involving horses.
Mum Patsy said: “The school is amazing for equestrianism and for education too and that’s one of the reasons we swapped to Myddelton and it’s been worth it.”
Lois Bradburn, from Denbigh, will return to study Maths, Psychology, Business and Spanish and she said: “It’s a big relief. It’s been a tough couple of years and even though we didn’t take the exams during Covid we’ve been affected as well.”
Issy Smith, from Hoylake, gained eight GCSEs and is going on to Wirral Metropolitan College to study aviation: “I want to be an air traffic controller,” she said.
Mum Verity said: “Issy came to the school during Covid because here school closed and she had to board.
“It was a massive challenge for her but the school has been excellent and we’re delighted with her.”
Andrew Allman added: “We may have returned to some kind of normality in the way we sit exams but students all over the country still had to suffer cruel disruption of their studies due to the pandemic and I want to congratulate all our pupils for their hard work and determination.
“In the circumstances they have shown tremendous determination and character and we are proud of them all and of our staff who have also been brilliant in adapting to the challenges of teaching in lockdown before returning to a more conventional classroom practice.”
For more information on Myddelton College go to https://www.myddeltoncollege.com/