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Badminton girls top the tables for the new A* at A Level

Published Friday 1st of October 2010 02:15:00 PM

Badminton School, Bristol is among the top schools in the country, based on this year's A Level results and has consistently topped the South West for the past 15 years.

Two of the three pictures show Anna Coveney, Penelope Jenkins, Rio Stoddart, Amy Harrison, Natalie Smith and Lucy Manning after opening their exam results, and Natalie Smith savouring the moment.

100% of the pupils at the school passed, with a staggering 24% gaining the new A* grade which was launched this year (compared to the predicted national average of 5% and the average for private schools of 16%). 97% of the girls at Badminton gained grades A*-C, 87% grades A*-B and 61% gained all A*s and As. The average UCAS points per candidate was 433.4* which is up 4% on last year.

Head Girl Natalie Smith, from Stoke Bishop, will be following in the footsteps of acting celebrity and ex Badmintonian Rosamund Pike (Bond girl in Die Another Day opposite Pierce Brosnan, Love in a Cold Climate and An Education with Keira Knightley) by taking an academic degree before going onto drama school.

Natalie, who achieved A*, A and C in her A Levels is hoping to study Business, Mathematics and Statistics at LSE. However, perhaps Natalie is better known as a talented Bristol actress having played lead roles not only in school productions such as Muzzy van Hossmere in Thoroughly Modern Millie and Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz but also for top Bristol youth theatre group Bristol Musical Youth Productions where she has starred recently at the Redgrave Theatre and Bristol Hippodrome as Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables, Ariel in Footloose and Dorothy Brock in 42nd Street. Natalie is also an advanced ballerina, a grade 8 cellist, has a diploma in musical theatre and Gold LAMDA Award. She plays Goal Defence for Badminton's U19 netball team and helped set up a company at Badminton as part of the Young Enterprise Scheme. Natalie has been spending her summer taking a two week musical theatre course at Guildford School of Acting followed by a season acting at Disneyland Paris.

Said Natalie: 'I love the theatre and would very much like to work as a professional actress in the West End so am aiming to go onto drama school after university. However, as I am also academic and really enjoy the logical nature of maths, I wanted to take a first degree in an academic subject to keep my options open.'

Sports Captain Anna Coveney from Clevedon has secured a place to study combined social sciences at Durham University after gaining one A* and two As. Anna is a county netballer, plays hockey for north Somerset, is a member of the school tennis team and has achieved her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. A qualified life saver, Anna has won netball, hockey and tennis colours at Badminton and been awarded the Vitrix Ludorum junior, middle and senior awards. Anna is also a keen traveller. She spent six weeks on a school exchange programme to South Africa where she spent some time working in an orphanage before going onto Zambia and aims to spend her gap year in Malawi with Africa Asia Venture teaching and coaching sport. Following her time at university, Anna would like to train as a pilot and fly helicopters for the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm division.

Talented musician Catriona Stoddart from Sneyd Park is off to read medicine at Imperial following gaining two A*s and two As at A level. Rio was Head Girl at Badminton. She was also a finalist for Young Musician of the Year and is a member of the National School Orchestra for which she has to audition every year to keep her place. She currently coaches children in the National Children's Orchestra, helping them read music, follow a part and understand the more difficult rhythms. Rio is a grade 8 viola player, grade 8 singer and grade 6 pianist. She swam for the county, plays tennis and has gained her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. To help prepare her for a medical career, Rio has been working at Weston Hospital where she spent time on the wards shadowing consultants and also at Southmead in the research department, seeing how clinical trials are run. Rio is hoping to spend her summer with one of her friends in Hong Kong and travel with her sister to Egypt.

Amy Harrison from Wotton Under Edge is set to study veterinary science at Cambridge University after achieving two A*s and one A at A Level. Amy, who was commended this year in Cambridge University's prestigious Peterhouse Essay Competition, was brought up with animals and has spent many of her holidays undertaking animal-related work experience. She spent two weeks working in veterinary practises in both Australia and the UK, a week on a dairy farm in Yorkshire where she milked and organised the herds and a week lambing at a farm in Cumbria. She also worked at Paradise Wildlife Farm in Hertfordshire where she helped the keepers with feeding and cleaning the animals. Amy moved to Badminton from Cambridge as a weekly boarder and explained that although she was initially very scared, she felt immediately at home as on her first day the girls were friendly, open and welcoming. She is a grade 6 pianist, grade 5 singer and has taught herself how to play the guitar.

Said Headmistress, Jan Scarrow: 'Just looking at what these girls have attained just shows what a rounded education we offer here at Badminton. Not only have they gained excellent results, these girls have been empowered to achieve personal excellence and really follow their dreams.

'Here at Badminton we want to enable young women such as these to have the life skills they need to pursue the careers of their choice and to go onto top universities. Small class sizes, inspirational teaching and a supportive environment really makes the difference and being surrounded by other bright, interesting young women makes the whole experience much more enjoyable.'

Thanks to Henrietta Lightwood, Badminton's Director of Admissions and Marketing, for the story and pictures.
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