THE future is looking bright for hard-working Ripon Grammar School students celebrating top GCSE results.

Despite the disruption to their education and the challenges of the pandemic, students were delighted to be rewarded for their efforts and motivation over the past two years.

More than 70% of all grades awarded were 9-7s (the equivalent of A*-As) with an outstanding 97.2% being 9-5 (A-Bs).

Headmaster Jonathan Webb said: “After a difficult two years of study we are delighted with this excellent set of results. Our students have shown great resilience and determination to secure the grades they need for the next phase in their path of life-long learning.

Among the top performers were Sam Cann and Amelie Mallon, who were on cloud nine after achieving ten of the very top grade 9s, the equivalent of exceptionally high A*s.

It was double celebrations for twins Amelie and Polly Mallon, who scooped up 13 of the top numbered grade 9 GCSEs between them.

The 16-year-old Ripon Grammar students from Kirkby Malzeard also picked up a grade 8, four 7s and three 6s.

Amelie explained how having a twin made the exams less stressful: “We were able to revise together which made things easier if either of us was struggling and we could make sure that the both of us remained motivated.

“It also allowed us to always have someone around to chat to if we were ever stressed or anxious about the exams.”

Polly agreed: “During exams, it was useful to have someone to revise with who was also in the same situation. We were both really pleased with our results and relieved to finally see how we had done.”

Netball player Amelie, who also enjoys playing piano, plans to study biology, chemistry, maths and RE at A-level, with the hope of studying medicine at university.

She achieved an outstanding ten grade 9s and one 8: “The main challenge for me was the uncertainty of whether we would or wouldn’t be sitting exams and keeping motivated during lockdown.”

Polly, who has a part-time job as a waitress, will study design technology, business and geography at A-level, with a view to working in the fashion industry.

She gained an impressive three 9s, four 7sand three 6s and confesses that she found online learning in lockdown a challenge.

A further five pupils – Benedict Dunn, Carrie Chapman, Matilda Lee, Ruby Todd and Aleena Allan  – scored a clean sweep of 9-8(A*) grades, with the 132-strong year group achieving an impressive total of 661 9-8(A*) grades between them.

Adam Carpenter, Barnaby Paterson and Soundarja Tripathi each scored nine grade nines, along with an 8 and 7.

More than 46% of students at RGS, consistently the North’s top performing state school, collected nine or more grades 9-7(A*-A)s.

Mr Webb said that, while there would inevitably be a comparison with previous years: “It is important to stress that we need to see these results in their context.

“We feel our students have undertaken a rigorous and fair process of assessment at RGS and their grades represent an accurate reflection of abilities and efforts. As always, they have worked extremely hard and with great resilience.”

A GIFTED musician’s learning reached a crescendo when he scored ten top grade 9s and one 8 in his GCSEs.

The exceptional results bring multi-talented Ripon Grammar School student Sam Cann, who also excels in maths and physics, one step closer to his dream of a scientific career.

“I’m chuffed to bits. Never would I have dreamed of getting so many top grades – It feels completely unreal,” said the teenager, from Sharow, near Ripon.

He will now take A-levels in maths, further maths, physics and music, with the aim of studying engineering, maths or physics at university.

The 16-year-old, who sings as well as playing violin, drums, viola and bass guitar,is a member of the prestigious North Yorkshire County Youth Orchestra, made up of some of the most advanced musicians from state and independent schools throughout the county.

In addition, he plays with the Northallerton Music Centre Symphony Orchestra, Arco Iris quartet, Thirsk Sinfonia and a local ceilidh band and has enjoyed performing at the Sage in Gateshead and at Leeds Town Hall with Scottish classical violinist Nicola Benedetti.

Despite the restrictions of lockdown, Sam, whose mother is a violin teacher, found ways to pursue his musical achievements, gaining two grades 5s, a 6 and a 7 in music grade exams alongside studying for his GCSEs.

He describes music as opening up a whole new world inside his mind: “It’s fascinating how we can tell a story using only sounds, and people can still understand it as if they were reading a book.”

He found online learning and taking music exams remotely during lockdowns relatively easy, he says, but has been glad to be able to get back into live music at RGS again: “As well as playing in a concert, I’ve been enjoying a lot of rehearsals and playing together for fun.