St Swithun’s School


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  • Category: Senior / Sixth Form
  • Pupils: Girls
  • Type: Day & Boarding
  • Religious Affiliation: Church of England
  • Roll: 0 (Boys) 524 (Girls)
  • Age Range: 11 - 18 years
  • Founded: 1884

General Information

St Swithun’s is a modern and flourishing school, set on an impressive and attractive campus and offers girls exceptional teaching, sporting and recreational facilities. The School seeks to give a broad, balanced academic education in which each girl has the opportunity to make appropriate choices which will enable her to develop her potential. Above all, the aim is to develop the girls’ knowledge and skills by encouraging active participation in lessons and a pride in achievement.


The school buildings are modern and well equipped. There is a magnificent performing arts centre with a 600-seat auditorium, art and technology block, new library and Careers and ICT facility. The music school has a Music Technology area with computers and electronic keyboards. Pupils have the opportunity to play and sing in ensembles, the Symphony Orchestra, Senior and Lower School String Ensembles, Clarinet Choirs, Flute Choirs, Jazz Band, two Wind Bands and numerous chamber groups. The Swithun Choir sings regularly in Winchester Cathedral and undertakes foreign concert tours. The School has a small chapel which is actively used. It is in a quiet situation with extensive views of the beautiful Hampshire countryside. Sporting facilities are excellent. The multi-purpose, modern Sports Hall accommodates a fully-equipped gymnasium, which in turn can be converted into 4 badminton courts, a netball, volleyball or tennis court. Extensive and attractive playing fields provide lacrosse pitches, an athletics track, rounders pitches and volleyball courts and there are 12 outdoor tennis courts (4 of which are spot-lit) and also used for netball. Squash, rowing, diving, judo, karate, aerobics, yoga, trampolining and fencing are popular additional activities. The indoor, 25-metre swimming pool is built to national competition specifications, with diving boards. In addition to music and sporting activities there are technology and engineering clubs, drama and public speaking groups, art, cookery and self-defence sessions, Duke of Edinburgh Award and Young Enterprise. St Swithun's is an active community seven-days-a-week. Boarders benefit from a wide range of activities and excursions at the weekends such as sailing, skiing, theatre, concert, cinema and restaurant trips.

Entrance Requirements

Senior School: Common Entrance examination, current school report. Sixth Form: 3 examinations in nominated A2 subjects. For further details please contact the school.


Academic, Music, Sport, Sixth Form. Some bursaries are available, please contact the school for details.

Open Days

2018. Sat. 23rd June, 9.30am; Fri. 14th September, 1.45pm and Fri. 16th November, 1.45pm


2017/2018. Boarder: £10,770 per term. Day girl: £6,721 per term.


ISI Inspection 2017

School Contact Details

Headteacher: Ms J Gandee

Contact for enquiries: Mrs Kate Cairns, registrar

St Swithun’s School
Alresford Road
SO21 1HA

[t]: 01962 835700
[f]: 01962 835779

Location Description

Set within 45 acres of grounds on the outskirts of Winchester, overlooking the Hampshire Downs.

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School News

St Swithun's Independent Girls Hampshire St Swithun’s School student from China awarded prestigious Jardine Scholarship

St Swithun’s School upper sixth form student Hongzhou Luan has been awarded the prestigious Jardine Scholarship to read engineering science at Trinity College, Oxford.

Hongzhou, who

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comes from Heilongjiang Province in China, became eligible for the Jardine award when she applied to Trinity. Her selection was made on the basis of a first round interview in London and a final stage in Hong Kong where she answered questions about her inspiration, aspirations and thoughts on current affairs from a panel of seven experts representing the Jardine Matheson Group. The scholarship will cover Hongzhou’s tuition and college fees as well as an annual stipend to cover board and lodging, and all other incidental expenses.

Hongzhou’s career aspiration is to become a bio-medical engineer in order to design new medical products and improve existing ones. She is studying physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and further mathematics at St Swithun’s School. She also finds time to participate in various co-curricular activities.

The Jardine Foundation aims to assist scholars who have the potential to become outstanding citizens and have a high commitment to the community. The award is open to all students from countries in which the Jardine Matheson Group has significant business interests and who are applying to study at one of the group’s preferred colleges at the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge.

Hongzhou said “the whole interview experience for the Jardine Scholarship was amazing. I learnt new skills and gained a lot of confidence for situations like this in the future. If, in the end, I hadn’t been awarded the scholarship, I would still have considered the experience incredibly worthwhile. I am so proud to have been selected.”

Headmistress Jane Gandee added “Hongzhou is a conscientious and able student who works hard. But she is also a lively member of her boarding house and is involved in a broad range of co-curricular activities. She thoroughly deserves this award.”

Photo: St Swithun’s School student Hongzhou Luan from China, who was recently awarded the Jardine scholarship

St Swithun's Independent Girls Hampshire St Swithun’s School student Phoebe Sugden completes charity Alpine Challenge

St Swithun’s School lower sixth-form student Phoebe Sugden recently took part in the AJ Bell Alpine Challenge to raise money for the youth charity Snow-Camp.

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Phoebe and her team Willpower, so named in support of the Will Houghton foundation, raised over £6,000 in sponsorship for their two-day endurance event which took place in the vast Portes du Soleil ski area of Morzine in France.

Competing in the endurance challenge against 21 other teams, Willpower skied and snowboarded a cumulative distance of 160.3km, via 47 marked checkpoints along the way. The generosity of the St Swithun’s School community and family friends helped place Phoebe and Willpower amongst the top five fundraising teams.

Phoebe, who was skiing in memory of a close family friend, said “The whole experience was such fun and so enjoyable that I would recommend it to everyone. I am hoping to take part again next year, which will be the tenth annual Alpine Challenge, even though skiing from 8.30am to 5pm for two days straight was very tiring. The Snow-Camp charity does some really important work, and I am proud to have been able to support them.’

Snow-Camp is a charity that supports and empowers inner-city young people, aged 13-21, by using snowsports to provide life-skills sessions, qualifications and vocational training. The money raised will support Snow-Camp’s bid to become a national charity enabling the organisation to work with more people across the UK. This year’s Alpine Challenge event has raised over £50,000.

Photo: St Swithun’s School student Phoebe Sugden back at school after taking part in the Alpine Challenge.

St Swithun's Independent Girls Hampshire St Swithun’s School alumna breaks Antarctic record

Former St Swithun’s student Captain Zanna Baker and her fellow Ice Maiden team mates have made history. Together they broke an Antarctic record by becoming

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the first all-female group to cross the continent using only their own muscle power. The six-strong team travelled more than 1,000 miles in 62 days, each pulling a sledge of equipment weighing 80kg. St Swithun’s School has been celebrating this inspirational achievement over the last month.

Year 4 pupils took part in a ‘Polar Day’, where pupils discovered the clothing, food and equipment they would need to survive in polar-regions like Antarctica, and had the chance to try on some of the gear themselves. They also learned about the dangers of crevasses, and ended the day by making their very own glaciers from plasticine and cornflour.

St Swithun’s junior school head Rebecca Lyons-Smith said “We are incredibly proud of what Zanna has achieved. She is a true inspiration to everybody at the school. Our students are really enjoying learning about polar-regions, and the challenges that explorers can face”.

Pupils in the upper sixth used the Ice Maiden’s achievements to examine what teamwork coupled with great captaincy can achieve during one of their leadership training days. Sixth form student Somtonna Anyansi said “The story of Zanna’s expedition helped bring to life how the exercises we were doing, such as group debates or building a Lego bridge, can have actual impact in our real life performance. Zanna has demonstrated what we can accomplish by learning to be a good leader, and also a good team player”.

This isn’t the first time that St Swithun’s has had interest in the ice continent. In 1910, the school sponsored Captain Robert F Scott’s ultimately ill-fated Terra Nova expedition, and proudly houses a letter of thanks from Captain Scott acknowledging the donation

St Swithun's Independent Girls Hampshire St Swithun’s music scholar Emma Pearce is double award-winner

Thirteen year old St Swithun’s student Emma Pearce has won the Sturge Trophy for the best solo musical performance from an under 14 year old

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in the woodwind section at the Portsmouth Music Festival. She also won the Karen Cup for the best overall performance in the woodwind category.

The Karen Cup is awarded for the demonstration of musicianship and versatility across a number of classes and genres. Awarding Emma the prize, adjudicator Keith Allen commented that ‘Emma was the most musical throughout. She is very talented and was born to play the alto sax’.

Emma, who is in year 9, is an accomplished pianist, flautist and saxophonist. Her talents have recently been noticed by film director Jane Spencer, who asked Emma to feature on the soundtrack to her next movie, South of Hope Street.

Headmistress of St Swithun’s School, Jane Gandee, said ‘Emma is an immensely talented musician who has charmed us with her performances at school recitals. After all of her hard work in the past year, this success is well deserved.’

St Swithun's independent girls school Hampshire

13 year old St Swithun’s student Sophia Vines has been selected for the National Youth Choirs Great Britain (NYCGB). Sophia will join the Soprano Two

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section of the National Youth Girls’ Choir where she will receive professional voice coaching from the top vocal teachers in the country, as well as Alexander Technique classes to help posture and breathing.

In her successful bid for selection from amongst the best young singers across the UK, Sophia was helped by the highly dedicated music department at St Swithun’s School. She prepared for the audition, which involved a theory and musicianship test and the performance of two songs, with the aid of her singing teacher, Mr Brian Gordon.

The National Youth Girls’ Choir is made up of the best girl choral singers in the UK aged 10-15. It meets twice each year for intensive residential courses in the spring and summer school holidays, and also for occasional special projects; recent highlights included the performance of live vocals for a screening of The Snowman at the Aldeburgh Christmas Festival. In 2018, the National Youth Girls’ Choir will perform at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham and at Beamish Museum in County Durham. Girls from the choir will also present a special concert at the Royal Albert Hall celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

Director of music at St Swithun’s, Mrs YiRu Hall said “NYCGB is a terrific opportunity for Sophia. Performing with other talented and likeminded young people will really take her singing to the next level”.  

Photo: Sophia Vines playing Oliver in the St Swithun’s and Winchester College joint production of Oliver! The musical


St Swithun's School Girls Independent Hampshire St Swithun’s School pupil Anna Benton hits all the right notes to win the Winchester Rotary Young Musician Festival

St Swithun’s lower sixth form student Anna Benton has won the Winchester Rotary Young Musician Festival with a skilful performance of Rondeau Allegro, the third

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movement from Mozart’s Oboe Quartet in F major K370. She now goes on to compete in the district final of the competition in Bournemouth next February.

There was excellence all around from the St Swithun’s musicians. 13 year old Vivien Canadine’s trombone performance earned her second place in the instrumental category and pianist Agnes Wong was awarded third. In the vocal category, year 11 student Rosanna Culver rounded off a successful day for the school when she was awarded first place for her renditions of Automne by Gabriel Faure, and Green Finch and Linnet Bird by Steven Sondheim.

Director of Music YiRu Hall commented “I am delighted with the success of our pupils. They all performed extremely well and really enjoyed taking part in the music festival.”

The Winchester Rotary Festival is an opportunity for local young musicians to showcase their talent and gain experience of performing on a public stage. The national final is being held in Edinburgh in May.

Photo: Anna Benton being presented with the Denis Welstead shield by Winchester Deputy Mayor Frank Pearson and Winchester Rotary President Dominic Hiscock

St Swithun's School Girls Independent Hampshire St Swithun’s School sixth-former joint winner of inaugural Three Minute Personal Statement competition

Alia Morris from St Swithun’s School was a joint winner of the first ever Three Minute Personal Statement competition for sixth-form students. The new concept,

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which the two schools have jointly launched, is based on the Three Minute Thesis competition, which is popular on the university circuit with PhD students worldwide.

The new initiative is part of St Swithun’s School’s academic enrichment programme which provides an elevated academic layer for students needing rigorous challenge throughout their school years. At sixth-form, it seeks to equip potential Oxbridge candidates with the critical and creative thinking skills that will help them prepare their applications.

The Personal Statement competition gives students three minutes to convey the key message of their personal statement and to demonstrate how they would like to be perceived in their Oxbridge interview. Without the aid of presentation slides, competitors need to impress their audience and convince them that they are the ideal candidate for their subject of choice.

Following an initial round at St Swithun’s, five girls took on the Cheltenham competitors in the final. Alia, who is applying to study Economics, impressed the judges with the effective structuring of her presentation, her genuine love of and commitment to economics, and her combination of quiet confidence and warm approach in talking to the audience.

Dr Elizabeth Mackintosh from St Swithun’s School, who worked on the development of the competition with Dr Graham Mallard from Cheltenham College said: “All the competitors performed brilliantly in different ways, and it was a superb experience for them all. This competition looks set to grow as there are already ten schools asking to join the event in the next academic year”.

Photograph: St Swithun’s student Alia Morris, joint winner of the Three Minute Personal Statement competition

St Swithun's School Girls Independent Hampshire introduces new maths scholarships

St Swithun’s School in Winchester has introduced two new scholarships for the mathematically able. The scholarships at 13+ and 16+ will run from September 2018.

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Successful candidates will have access to dedicated teaching sessions in addition to a reduction in school fees.

In awarding mathematical scholarships, St Swithun’s aims to nurture exceptional young mathematicians who may choose to follow highly mathematical career paths at university and beyond. As the leading mathematical lights of the school, scholars will demonstrate mathematical excellence and intellectual curiosity, will perform exceptionally in competitions and will promote maths as a subject whenever possible.

Mathematical scholarships in both age groups are open to external and internal candidates. At 16+ candidates will be identified through performance in academic papers and an interview.

At 13+, students will be invited to apply based on nomination from their current school. Selection is carried out via an examination paper and an interview. Successful candidates at 13+ who continue to perform well will retain the scholarship throughout their years at school.

Headmistress Jane Gandee said “We have a strong record of promoting able mathematicians at St Swithun’s. The new scholarships will allow more access to our excellent teaching staff and resources and enrich mathematical activities for all students at the school”.

St Swithun's girls independent day and boarding school Hampshire

St Swithun’s student, Scarlett Ng from Hong Kong, earned five A* grades when this year’s A-level results were released in August.

Scarlett achieved the top grade

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in chemistry, economics, maths and physics. Her extended project, which explored the subject of the political participation of young people in Hong Kong, was also awarded an A*. Her A-level Chinese studies resulted in an A grade from the summer examinations.

Having previously studied at the Po Leung Kuk #1 W.H. Cheung College in the Wong Tai Sin area of Hong Kong, Scarlett joined St Swithun’s school in the lower sixth form in September 2015. During her career at St Swithun’s, Scarlett approached her academic work with energy and commitment, whilst still enjoying extra-curricular opportunities including badminton and archery. She took part in the annual Maths Challenge and played the oboe in school. Scarlett spends more than 200 hours every year as a volunteer, helping at NGOs.

Following receipt of her A-level results, Scarlett has accepted a place at Hong Kong University to study business administration and law from this autumn.

Headmistress of St Swithun’s school, Jane Gandee said “We are immensely proud of Scarlett and her achievements. She has really excelled during her time at St Swithun’s. She deserves her success in the summer and well beyond.”


Photograph: Scarlett Ng who left St Swithun’s School in summer 2017 with top A-level grades


St Swithun's independent girls day and boarding school Hampshire

Georgia Bartlett, 16-year-old pupil at St Swithun’s School, Winchester has become the National Under 18 Champion at the British Horse Trials 2017 which took place

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at Frickley Park in Yorkshire in the summer.

Competing with her horse, Spano de Nazca, Georgia, who is a sixth form student at St Swithun’s, was contesting the CCIJ*, a three-day event incorporating dressage, cross country and show-jumping phases. After an initial vet’s inspection and two days of dressage, Georgia and Spano de Nazca were lying in third place. A clear cross country round, inside the time, moved them up to second. Heavy rain during the night proved problematic for the show-jumping phase on the final day. Georgia jumped a clear round, together with only six others in her class and secured the championship.

Georgia’s performance also helped the South East region, for which she was riding, to a third place in the team competition.

Georgia’s championship success and a subsequent second place in her first intermediate under 21 event earned her an invitation to join the junior GBR development squad. She has been selected to compete for Great Britain in the Junior Nations Cup which takes place in Belgium at the end of September.

Headmistress Jane Gandee said “Georgia excels in all areas of school life, managing to combine her academic studies and participation in all activities at school with the demands of her sport. We are very proud of her achievements.”

St Swithun's independent girls day and boarding school Hampshire

Girls at St Swithun’s School, Winchester are celebrating excellent GCSE results this year, with 56% of all entries awarded an A* (the highest since 2012)

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and 85% of all entries awarded an A* or A.  These results come against the backdrop of a decline in GCSE grades nationally and in the first year of a numerical grading system for some subjects.

Over two thirds of entries were awarded the top grade in nine subjects including all three sciences (biology, chemistry and physics) as well as English language, French, German, Greek, Latin and Spanish.

Nine girls achieved A* in all of their subjects, and over half of St Swithun’s pupils were awarded all A* or A grades. Overall, 97% of results were A* to B.

“I am delighted with the achievements of the girls this year.” said headmistress Jane Gandee. “They have excelled academically whilst still enjoying notable successes outside the classroom. This year group can boast national level sporting representation, county champions and outstanding performance in academic competitions. They have also excelled in supporting each other and have made us all laugh with their light-hearted approach. We are looking forward to seeing them flourish in the sixth form.”

St Swithun's independent girls day and boarding school Hampshire

U6 girls at St Swithun’s have again earned successful A-level results, amassing a strong crop of A* grades. Over 40% of girls achieved at least

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one A*, with over a fifth of the year group earning two or more A* grades, and overall 88% of entries were graded A* to B. Notably, A-level grades remained high in this first year of the newly-reformed A-level courses in eight subject areas, which accounted for more than half of all A levels taken at St Swithun’s.

In individual subject areas 50% or more of papers in Greek, history of art, Latin, physics, politics and food technology were graded A*, and a third or more of entries in English literature, mathematics, and religious studies also achieved A*. In 10 subjects 100% of candidates earned A* to B grades, including in all five languages offered: French, German, Spanish, Latin and Greek.

Additionally, a record number of girls, nearly one-third of the year group, took the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), which is equivalent to half an A level and held in high esteem by universities for the skills of self-directed, independent study that it cultivates. They achieved 100% A* to B grades, with 55% A* and 75% A* and A.

When data from baseline testing is taken into account, impressively three quarters of girls earned higher grades across their subjects than predicted, with over half of all A-level grades one grade or more above forecast.

This year’s leavers have earned places at a number of universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, Birmingham, Bristol, Durham, Edinburgh, Exeter, KCL, Manchester, Newcastle, UCL and Warwick to study a diverse range of degree subjects, including archaeology and anthropology, biology, Classics, English literature, geography, history, history of art, international relations, law, medicine, modern languages, natural sciences, philosophy, physics and veterinary science.

The headmistress, Jane Gandee, commented, “We are delighted for this year’s leavers and proud of how so many of them exceeded expectations. Fittingly, they have achieved highly across the A-level curriculum, and the fact that they have done so as the first year group affected by the changes to A levels shows their capacity for hard work, determination and resilience, as well as the skill of our dedicated, able teachers. My colleagues and I wish them every success as they progress from school to the next stages of their lives and education.”


Photo: St Swithun’s students celebrated strong A-level results.



St Swithun's girls' independent day and boarding school Hampshire

St Swithun’s School has received an award for being of one the top 10 girls’ boarding schools in the country. The award was based upon

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2016 A’ level results and the number of pupils obtaining the top A* and A grades.

The award was presented to headmistress, Jane Gandee, by Duncan Quirk from Education Advisers Limited, an education consultancy which provides advice and services to parents and students seeking private education in the UK.

“We are proud and delighted to have been recognised by Education Advisors Limited for the quality of the education provided at St Swithun’s” said Ms Gandee. ‘In addition to academic excellence, we believe in providing our pupils with the opportunity to do something else, and this is never more prevalent than in our weekend activity programme. We offer a full and varied mix of cultural, social and recreational activities which we believe will broaden a boarder’s experience.” 

Photo: Jane Gandee, Headmistress St Swithun’s School and Duncan Quirk from Education Advisers.


St Swithuns girls independent school Hampshire

‘The quality of pupils’ academic and other achievements’ at St Swithun’s school ‘is excellent’, independent school inspectors have found. During their most recent educational quality

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inspection of both St Swithun’s senior and junior schools, carried out in February, the quality of pupils’ personal development was also awarded the highest rating the inspectors can use.

In the senior school, pupils’ outstanding success in academic examinations and national competitions was noted, together with achievement in a wide range of extra-curricular activities, with county and national recognition in several sports. Pupils had exceptional communications skills and the ability to analyse complex problems. A highly effective academic tracking and monitoring system was found to support strong progress. The report highlighted collaborative working among pupils, considerable positive commitment to others, both within and beyond the school, and a strong sense of moral responsibility as features of pupils’ personal development.

Children in the early years’ foundation stage at St Swithun’s Junior school were said to make individual progress through a carefully planned, broad curriculum. Across the school, outstanding achievements in a range of activities, including sport, music and drama were noted by the inspection team, as well as pupils’ success in winning places at independent day and boarding schools against strong competition. The report found ‘there are excellent relationships between teachers and pupils themselves, who are highly supportive of one another’, and that pupils at all ages show high levels of self-knowledge, self-esteem, self-confidence and resilience. Staff at the junior school plan to set out more clearly the system of merits and house points to maintain levels of motivation amongst all pupils.

In the context of the ‘excellent’ grading awarded by the inspectors, St Swithun’s school was advised to increase opportunities for pupils to use digital and ICT skills to support their learning. The school’s digital learning programme, which began in September 2016 and is being rolled out, aims to establish integrated, consistent digital learning practices throughout the school and confirm St Swithun’s staff and students as leading practitioners of digital learning.

The report of the Independent Schools’ Inspectorate follows recent results for St Swithun’s of baseline predictive tests administered through the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) at the University of Durham. The tests predict the most likely grade outcomes for students based on the performance in the past of other students nationally with similar academic profiles. They also provide ‘value added’ data for students’ results in public examinations. The 2016 analysis shows that girls at St Swithun’s achieve approximately ½ grade higher than their baseline ability across all A-level subjects suggests, and almost one grade at GCSE.


Headmistress, Jane Gandee, said “I am delighted that the Independent Schools’ Inspectorate has recognised the hard work of the staff in both schools to ensure that we provide an outstanding, rounded education at St Swithun’s. These positive inspection findings and our strong value-added scores demonstrate the success of our unique blend”.

St Swithun's School Girls Independent Hampshire

St Swithun’s student, Suzie Huang, has just come top in the country in the Year 11 Olympiad examination run by the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust.

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The three-and-a-half hour examination paper is the final stage of a competition entered by over a quarter of a million students nationwide.

Suzie scored full marks on all six of the fiendishly difficult questions that made up her Olympiad paper, placing her top in Britain. Last year, on the corresponding Year 10 Olympiad paper, her result placed her in the top 100.

Qualification for the Year 11 Olympiad competition was based on performance in the Intermediate Maths Challenge. Suzie was one of only 20 students who scored perfect marks on this paper.

Head of Mathematics at St Swithun’s, Stephen Power said “We are immensely proud of Suzie and her latest achievement. Suzie works so hard to improve her understanding of every aspect of the subject and is a fantastic example to others. Suzie genuinely enjoys grappling with the hardest mathematical problems.”

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