Rachel leads the A-star team

by SARAH HARRIS, Daily Mail

She's been named the country's top GCSE student - scoring an astonishing ten A- star grades and one grade A.

Rachel Horrocks, 16, also gained joint highest marks out of almost 365,000 entrants in this year's science exams.

The two achievements have earned her the title GCSE Student of the Year.

She is now studying AS-level chemistry, physics, maths and French at The King's School in Ottery St Mary, Devon, a comprehensive where her mother Joanna, 42, teaches science.

'I think science must be in my genes,' said Rachel, who also plays piano and clarinet. But she says that she aims to pursue a career in law, not science, and wants to be a barrister.

She won the overall prize out of 16 subject winners from around the country at a ceremony in London and was presented with a gold medal and £100 by the Assessments and Qualifications Alliance (AQA), the largest GCSE exam board representing about 50 per cent of the national intake.

The other 15 finalists were: NICOLA HERWIN, 16 Plymstock Comprehensive School, Plymouth Gained nine A-stars and one grade A at GCSE. She was among the top five in food technology and beat 873,500 other candidates in English.

She said: 'The subject I love most is languages and that is the way I see my career going.'

REBECCA FISHER, 16 Cherwell Comprehensive School, Oxford Gained the highest score in geography from 113,900 entries. She was awarded ten A- stars and was also among the top five students in history.

'I want to go into medicine,' she said. 'It's an area where an individual can really make a difference to people's lives.'

HELEN EVANS, 16 Sawston Village Comprehensive and Technology College, Cambridge Was joint winner out of 369,900 entries in the languages section for an outstanding performance in Spanish. She gained six As, three A-stars, a C and an F at GCSE.

'I would like to work abroad as an architect,' she said.

YESSICA GONCALVES, 16 Catford Girls' Comprehensive School, South London Joint winner with Helen for her Spanish GCSE result. Achieved one A- star in Spanish and seven other GCSES. Yessica, who is Spanish, could not speak English when she started at Catford four years ago.

'I'm really proud of what I've managed to achieve,' she said.

LARA PHILLIPS, 16 Eaton Bank Comprehensive School, Congleton, Cheshire Won the joint highest award for science from 364,200 entries. She gained nine Astars and one grade B at GCSE. She is now studying AS biology, chemistry, geography, maths and physics.

'I hope to go to university,' she said. 'I also enjoy reading, travelling and playing the clarinet in the school jazz band.'

GARETH RHYS THOMAS, 15 Chepstow Comprehensive School, Gwent Achieved nine A- stars and came joint top in the science out of 364,200 entries.

He said: 'My ambition is to study medicine.'

MALCOLM SCOTT, 16 Bradford Grammar School, West Yorkshire (independent) The winner of 220,600 entries in maths GCSEs. Gained seven A-stars and two As.

He said: 'My main hobby is computers and after university I would like to turn my hobby into a career.'

HAYLEY BEER, 16 The Royal High School, Bath (independent) Gained the highest marks for history out of 78,300 entries. Awarded nine A-stars and two short course A-stars.

'I plan to go to university but I don't have a specific career in mind at the moment,' she said.

BRAHMANI PAL, 16 Withington Girls School, Manchester (independent) Beat 16,600 entries to come top in music GCSE. Achieved eight A-stars and one A grade. Now studying at the Royal Northern College of Music.

'I want to be an orchestral violinist and a composer,' she said.

ALICE WILLIAMSON, 17 St Gregory's Catholic High School, Warrington ( comprehensive) Earned highest marks in technology out of 308,800 entries. Gained nine A-star GCSEs.

'I like designing new things and looking at other people's work and trying to think of something new,' she said. 'I would possibly like to be a furniture designer.'

ROBERT SEVERN, 16 Bridgnorth Endowed School, Shropshire (voluntary controlled technology college) Scored the highest of 60,200 entries in business studies. Gained six A-star GCSEs, an A and a B grade, as well as an A in a short GCSE. Gained an A-star advanced maths GCSE and a B in intermediate maths in 1999.

'I want to become the chief

executive of a large public limited company,' he said.

KATIE KELLY, 16 Portsmouth Grammar School (independent) Winner out of 58,900 entries in the arts group of subjects for outstanding performance in drama and theatre arts. She gained nine A-stars at GCSE, and an A in maths GCSE last year. She got a C in additional maths this year.

'I want to audition for the National Youth Theatre,' she said. 'Long term I want to be involved with the theatre.'

ANDREW BELL, 16 Royal Grammar School, Guildford, Surrey (independent) Gained eight A-stars and one grade A at GCSE. He gained the highest marks for religious studies out of 130,100 entries.

He said: 'I was surprised to do so well at RS. I think it helped that I can write so fast.'

SERENA VICKERS, 16 Hinchingbrooke Comprehensive School, Huntingdon Winner in the social sciences category of 27,700 entries. Nine A-stars and one A grade.

'My ambition is to become either a physicist or chemist working in research,' she said.

ANNA MELLOWS, 15 Hethersett Comprehensive School, Norwich Sat ten GCSEs this summer and gained five A-stars and five As. Highest marks out of 46,500 entries in physical education.

'I'm into all sports such as cycling, walking, sailing, basketball and tennis,' she said.

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