A TEENAGER from Belper triumphed over illness to achieve top grades in her A-level exams.
Katie Pollard gained four As in biology, psychology, religious studies and general studies.
The 18-year-old, who is a pupil at Derby High School, was forced to take the whole of year ten off school after being diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.
She said: “I was feeling very ill at the end of year nine, very tired and sick all of the time.
“I had no energy and was very lethargic.
“I was too ill to do any work at home at first but then I managed to do my GCSEs.
“When I came back to school it was very tough and the doctors advised me to drop down a year, but I didn’t want to do that because I knew it would affect the rest of my life.
“When I first came back I just came in for lessons, then went straight home, but I managed to do more as I went along.
“It’s been really tough and I was really shocked with my results. I’m really happy and relieved.”
Katie will now be going to the University of Nottingham to study psychology.
She wasn’t the only Belper success story to come out of Derby High School.
Beth Straw, 18, achieved A*s in art and design technology and a B in religious studies.
She will now go on to Saint Martin’s College in London to study fashion and textiles.
The delighted teenager said: “I would like to get into the fashion world but it’s very competitive.
“I’m very happy with my grades, my mum’s really happy too, but I won’t be doing too much celebrating because I’ve just had an operation on my foot.”
Pippa Beardsley, 18, scored As in psychology, religious studies and general studies and a B in biology.
She said: “I’m really relieved and pleased and will be going out to celebrate. I’m planning to go to Birmingham to study Psychology.”
Lauren Taylor-Crowhurst achieved an A* in English literature, an A in maths and a B in psychology.
The 18-year-old will be going to Keele to study law with criminology.
She said: “I’m really happy, a lot of my family have been to Keele so it’s a bit of a tradition, it’s great because it’s close to home.
“I was really nervous about my results and I couldn’t sleep the night before but now I just feel relieved.”
In a record for the school, 60 per cent of the girls achieved either A* or A grades, compared to 48 per cent last year, and the overall pass rate was 99.2 per cent.
The A* grade was introduced last year to stretch the brightest students and help universities differentiate between the best candidates.
To get one, a student has to score an A overall, plus at least 90 per cent in the second year of the course.
Head teacher Colin Callaghan said he was very proud of the girls’ achievements.
He said: “They have done themselves and the school proud.”
Meanwhile, Ecclesbourne School in Duffield has reported record-breaking results. The school, which is on Wirksworth Road, achieved an astonishing overall pass rate of 99.3 per cent. Also, 40 per cent of all grades achieved were at either A or A*, with 16 per cent of students gaining the highest grade.
Head teacher James McNamara said: “The school is celebrating the success of our sixth form students, who achieved the school’s best-ever A level results. These fantastic results continue the school’s proud tradition of high academic achievement, and mean that the vast majority of our students were able to gain places on their chosen university courses.
The results serve as a testament to the commitment of our students, the skill and dedication of our staff and the incredible support we receive from parents and carers.”