Three GCSE students at The King's School in Ottery are among England's top performers

PUBLISHED: 12:00 18 September 2018

Kings School GCSE high achievers Michael Penston,Esmee Gregorius and Naomi Gammon. Ref sho 37 18TI 1303. Picture: Terry Ife

Kings School GCSE high achievers Michael Penston,Esmee Gregorius and Naomi Gammon. Ref sho 37 18TI 1303. Picture: Terry Ife

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Trio all achieved at least seven grade nines, awarded to only the top 20% of the A-A* bracket

Three students at The King’s School in Ottery are among the top GCSE achievers in England.

Esmée Gregorius, Naomi Gammon and Michael Penston all received at least seven grade nines, putting them among just 732 students in the country.

The grade nine is only awarded to the very highest academic achievers; the top 20 per cent of the already impressive A-A* bracket.

A grade seven is broadly equivalent to the old grade A, so these students have done better than was even possible under the previous system.

The GCSE exams are also more difficult than before, with extra papers replacing coursework.

All three students say they never expected such success, which they attribute to the school’s approach to exam preparation.

Naomi, who achieved an amazing 10 grade nines and an A*, said: “I was really happy when I opened the envelope. I was quite nervous going into it and I was quite shocked with what I got - to be fair, it’s only really starting to sink in now.”

Michael received eight grade nines, one grade eight, one A* distinction and a further A*, but says he was ‘terrified’ in the run-up to results day.

He said: “I was shaking before I opened the envelope… and I couldn’t believe it. I got all nines but one, which was English Language.”

Esmée got seven grade nines, two grade 8s, one grade 7 and an A*.

She said: “I thought in some of the exams that I didn’t really know anything and I didn’t like the style of the questions, but clearly I did know what I was on about!”

The students, all of whom are continuing their studies in the sixth form, said their teachers had given them ‘loads of support’ and revision resources, without putting too much pressure on them.

They were also encouraged to keep up with their out-of-school activities. Esmée is a champion surfer, and Naomi was on Dartmoor completing the Ten Tors the day before her first exam.

Headteacher Rob Gammon said: “It’s important to find that balance.

“These young people have had fabulous outcomes academically, but all three could tell a story about the things they’ve been involved with out of school, that have allowed them to have a well-rounded education.”

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