Students across Doncaster punch above their weight to gain top GCSEs

Keen sportswoman, Neve Taylor-Dilks, scored highly on the academic side in her GCSE's with two 8s, five 7s and two 6s under her belt, despite the demands of her strict training routine as a boxer with the England development team
Keen sportswoman, Neve Taylor-Dilks, scored highly on the academic side in her GCSE's with two 8s, five 7s and two 6s under her belt, despite the demands of her strict training routine as a boxer with the England development team

A student from Thorne who was encouraged to make an Oxbridge place her goal after taking up extra-curricular opportunities at school has notched up an impressive total of nine grade 9s in her GCSEs.

Trinity Academy student Olivia Jenkins is celebrating after gaining the highest possible grades in biology, chemistry, English, English literature, French, geography, mathematics, physical education and physics. She also achieved a grade A in Polish and a grade 8 in religious studies.

She was one of a small group of Year 10 and 11 students from Trinity to visit the University of Oxford as part of the academy’s aim of stretching and challenging more able students, alongside improving progress for all levels.

Along with others achieving well in their GCSEs, Olivia is a member of The Brilliant Club, a charity with the mission of widening access for outstanding pupils in non-selective state schools to the UK’s most selective universities.

Asked for her reaction on opening her results, she said: “Amazing. Shocked! I didn’t expect all the 9s, especially in physics and French, so I’m very pleased.

She paid tribute to many of her teachers, particularly Mandy Smyth, English – “My grade is a direct result of her teaching”; Gerard Carter, physics – “I’d never have got a 9 without him”; Annika Wells, French, and David Potts, PE.

Olivia is staying on at Trinity Academy to do A Levels in mathematics, further mathematics, chemistry and either biology or physics, as well as the EPQ. She added: “It would be nice to go to Oxford or Cambridge and study either chemistry or maths, and it’s something I’ll be looking into.”

Among the other top performers were Lydia Pike, Evie Dalton, Alix Young, Lara Anderson, Thomas Graves, Morgan McKenzie Purdham, Rebecca Bell and Ewan Snook, who all gained a total of nine or more A/A* equivalent grades, including new grade 9s, considered to be more challenging than a top pass in the old-style GCSEs.

Keen sportswoman Neve Taylor-Dilks (pictured) scored highly on the academic side with two 8s, five 7s and two 6s under her belt, despite the demands of her strict training routine as a boxer with the England development team.

She only started boxing seriously three years ago but won the 2017 junior championships in her first year and was fighting the European silver medallist when she was selected for the England discovery pathway.

She trains three or four times a week, but her coach, Jimmy Harrington, at Freedom Boxing Club, at Lindholme, imposed a Friday night gym ban on her until after her GCSEs.

“He said education comes first, but now I’ve got the chance with England I do want to do it to the highest level and go as far as I can,” she said.

“I’m really happy with my results and am looking forward to going on to do A Levels,” added Neve, who attends England training camps almost every weekend and will next compete in Rotterdam next month.

This year’s results saw a dramatic uplift in overall progress for Trinity Academy. Against the government’s flagship Progress 8 measure, which looks at students’ improvement over their full five years of 11-16 education across eight subjects, the academy recorded significant improvements across the board.

Executive Principal Jonathan Winch said: “Trinity Academy has just taken a leap forward with these GCSE results, achieved against the backdrop of the toughest exam reforms in a generation. Congratulations to the class of 2018: your hard work has paid off!”