Queen's College tops the academic tables
22nd August 2013

Queen’s College in Taunton not only gained the top A Level results in Taunton last week, the school also has outstanding GCSE results it was announced today.

47% of all exams were graded A* and A, 75% were A*, A and B and 93% were graded A*-C. 7 students scored 10 or more A* grades.

Outstanding musician, Chris Hedges (16) from Taunton, has not only achieved ten A* grades and one A grade in his GCSEs, he also has just completed his ATCL Diploma on cello receiving a high distinction score of 92%, his Advanced Certificate on piano receiving 90% and is working towards grade 8 trombone.

Chris, who is a pupil at Queen’s College in Taunton, travels to London every week for his cello lesson with Guildhall teacher Tim Lowe and plays in the nationally acclaimed Junior Guildhall Symphony Orchestra, in venues such as St John’s Smith Square. He also plays in their chamber groups.

Said Chris: “Many of the pupils at Guildhall are some of the best young musicians in the country and will go on to Senior Guildhall, which is currently seen as one of the top institution in the UK , to study music. I am still considering my options going forward as I am interested in both professional playing and teaching and so may choose to read music at university instead.”

Chris, who gets up at 5.30am to practice at least one hour on both cello and piano and half an hour on trombone is going onto study Music, Maths, History and Physics for his A Levels. He has performed in venues including Queen Elizabeth Hall and Cadogan Hall in London with the National Children’s Orchestra and also plays for the Somerset County Orchestra and Somerset County Youth Orchestra. He has attended summer master classes with some of the top cellists from around the world and at school is a member of the Queen’s College orchestra, swing band, wind band, choir, brass ensemble, chamber orchestra and chamber group.

“My passion for music has probably come from my parents” said Chris “who are both professional musicians themselves and both my elder brothers also play to an extremely high standard. I love the way the cello sounds. It is such a versatile instrument and you can get so many colours out of it. I played a Michael Jackson piece recently which had been arranged for two electric cellos by musicians from Elton John’s backing group at the end of term concert which went down really well and was great fun to play!”

Chris also represents Queen’s College in canoe polo. The Queen’s team is the youngest team to play in the South West Division 3 as most other clubs are of university age or older. He is also a keen kayaker, tackling the white water rapids of the River Dart and canoe surfing in North Devon.

Top horsewoman, Romilly Simmons (16) from Taunton, has not only achieved top marks in her GCSEs (three A, three B and three C grades) she is also a stunning show jumper and horse trainer and is aiming for future Olympic Games.

Romilly, who buys horses from Ireland, trains and then sells them on to fund her riding, qualified two horses for the Horse of the Year Show last year which she bought as youngsters.

“I don’t come from a horsey family and am the first person really to ride seriously so have to find a way to fund my riding myself” said Romilly. “I bought the youngsters from Ireland and brought them on to qualify with lots of training in the arena and running on the Quantocks, near to where I live. The horses were only 1.48m in height and they were jumping 1.40m – nearly their own height! I like them to have lots of spark and personality and to enjoy their flat work and jumping.”

Romilly has jumped at the British Open at the NEC and come second in the Scope Festival in Staffordshire and has qualified for Scope again this year. She won speed classes at the Blue Chip Finals where riders come from all over Europe and won both of her classes at The Royal Bath and West Show. Her challenge this year is to jump her current horses, Godzilla, Fionn and Echo at the Royal International at Hickstead and to compete abroad.

Romilly who is staying on at Queen’s College Sixth Form to study Art, Ethics and Philosophy, Psychology and Biology says she will not be going onto university yet and hopes to base herself abroad, riding in some of the top European and US championships and gaining experience by working in a yard, riding and training horses. In addition, Romilly, is currently sponsored by Griffin NuuMed (who also sponsor Zara Phillips and Debbie Criddle) and Condor Cases who support her greatly.

Said Romilly: “I have been very fortunate that Queen’s College has been so supportive and allowed me to take time off school to go to events. I often have to leave at Friday lunchtime and my teachers have given me work to catch up which I do either in the lorry going up the motorway or between classes”.

Commenting on the impressive results Queen’s College Headmaster Chris Alcock said: “We are fortunate here at Queen’s that we have some inspirational staff who excite intellectual curiosity and provide a stimulating and happy environment which is ideal for learning. Coupled with small class sizes and attention for individual needs, it is not surprising that students here are able to achieve some pretty impressive results and can take advantage of the exceptional range of co-curricular activities on offer.”

For further information please contact Queen’s College marketing department on 01823 340906 or email

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