Queen's College tops the tables
21st August 2013

Queen’s College Taunton has topped the tables locally for A*A and B grades over the past ten years making it one of the top schools in the South West.

71% of all A Level papers at Queen’s College were graded A* A and B with an impressive 17% awarded the top A* grade. 40% were awarded A* and A grades and 88% were A* - C. All successful Oxford and Cambridge candidates were able to confirm their Oxbridge places this morning.

Dogged determination sets Somerset student on path to Cambridge

17 year old Penny Banks from Honiton has managed to secure a place at Girton College Cambridge to read Land Economy despite being dyslexic, dyspraxic and suffering from handwriting issues. Penny, who gained three A*s in her Maths, Economics and Physics A Levels, joined Queen’s College as an academic scholar in Year 9 and has received excellent support from the school’s learning development unit, giving her the tactics and practical help to help deal with her problems with co-ordination and thought processes.

“I can’t think in a straight line” said Penny “and find it really difficult to write fluidly but the support at school has really made a difference. I was finding it really difficult to concentrate in exams and now wear ear plugs – something I would never have thought of – so that I can sub vocalise better and block out any exterior sounds”.

Penny played a key role, joining with comedian David Walliams to call on the Prime Minister to end global hunger, as part of the national If Campaign. Penny met David Cameron at 10 Downing Street in June and presented him with a six-foot plate, a symbol of global hunger, ahead of the G8 summit on which were over 1,000 signatures from people pledging their support. The plate was so impressive it was subsequently taken by Oxfam to the rally in Hyde Park and then onto a Dublin and is currently still touring the country.

Penny has also achieved two gold medals this year. She was awarded Gold in the UK Maths Challenge, a national competition of the top mathematicians in the UK and a worthy achievement for someone who has their sights set on the City as a career. In addition, Penny was the only girl in her year group to complete the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award which included spending a term tutoring bottom Maths set Year 8 students as well as scaling Scafell Pike. She is also a keen fundraiser and organised a Britain’s Got Talent at Queen’s College raising money for the Piers Simon Appeal and packed 300 backpacks full of items for schoolchildren from under developed countries herself.

“I am so excited about going to Cambridge this autumn and cannot wait to get stuck into my course” said Penny. When I read about Land Economy I found it so much more interesting and broader than straight Economics and I was impressed that Girton was the only College to ask for Maths as a required A Level. I know that my parents are really proud that despite my learning difficulties I have managed to gain a place at the top university in the country.”

Said Headmaster Chris Alcock: “Reflecting on what our students have attained shows what a rounded education we offer here at Queen’s College. Not only have they gained excellent academic results, these pupils have been empowered to achieve personal excellence and really follow their aspirations.

“Here at Queen’s College we want to enable young men and women such as these to have the life skills as well as the academic results they need to pursue the careers of their choice and to go on to top universities or straight into a career. Small class sizes, inspirational teaching and a supportive and aspirational environment really does make the difference.”

Issued by Queen’s College. For further information please contact Queen’s College marketing department on or, by mobile on 07541 385401 or telephone 01823 340805.

Notes to Editors

Queen’s College Taunton is a co-ed day and boarding school for pupils aged 3-18 years. Situated on a 40 acre campus in the heart of Taunton in Somerset, the school is very well equipped with the largest theatre in Somerset, brand new Sixth Form Centre, Music School, swimming pool and fitness suite, Creative Arts Centre, DT Centre and extensive sports grounds.

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