It’s back to university and in the coming days, Moreton Hall’s latest cohort of STEM students will embark on their undergraduate journeys into the world of Medicine and Science.

The school is delighted that its students will study in many facets of the medical profession as Carys Pryce begins her Dentistry studies at Cardiff University, Eliza Kiel moves to King’s College London to study Medicine, Onna Murtagh begins a four year Masters in Pharmacy at the University of Manchester, whilst Halcyon Gaynor is now at Queen’s University Belfast studying a BSc in Microbiology.

The girls’ school bucks the trend when it comes to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) success. Over the last few years, 70% of the girls took at least 1 STEM A Level, 38% took 2 or more; 22% took 3 or more and a hardy cohort of 6% studied 4 STEM A Levels. Further Mathematics is a particular success: nationally the take up is just 16 girls out of every thousand but at Moreton Hall there are 14 in a Sixth Form of just 110.

Reflecting on the preparation and process that led to her place at Manchester, Onna commented: “Starting A Levels, I always knew I wanted to have a career in healthcare or science but with all the possibilities I was unsure of the exact direction in which I would head. Weekly careers meetings at the start of my Lower Sixth year helped me discover Pharmacy as a degree in which I’d study both healthcare and the science of drugs combined.”

Onna applied to five universities and attended interview days at all. “The process of applying consisted of a single interview day at each of the five universities I applied to once they had invited me after reading my personal statement. The interviews varied between each university yet, after practising my interview skills in the weeks leading up to my interviews, I felt confident and prepared.

“The interviews generally covered basic maths skills required as a pharmacist, basic anatomy and basic chemistry which were all covered in written mini exams of 5-10 minutes. I also discussed my personal statement with current students and professors.

“Having my work experience at Life Pharmacies really helped me show my interviewers my passion to study pharmacy even though it wasn’t needed to apply for the course.” Onna added.

Like Onna, Halcyon had a clear focus on Science:  “I had always wanted to work in a laboratory environment and in Lower Sixth I spent a week on a residential course with Biograd. The practical assessments in Biology and Chemistry A Level along with the skills I had learnt from the course, cemented my ambition of becoming a scientist.”

Extra-curricular workshops and talks at Moreton Hall augmented the girls’ academic studies. In particular the Jenner Society, now in its ninth year invites speakers to discuss biological developments. The Society plays a fundamental art in the girls’ journey.

Carys enthused: “I have had my fair share of dental treatment, with teeth extraction and braces in the first couple of weeks of Year Seven, however, little did I know the inspiration to pursue dentistry as a career lay a few years ahead, in Jenner Society. Probably my most memorable Jenner talk was given by a forensic dentist, and at the age of around 14 the talk left me astounded but also very inspired!

“The three A Levels I took were maths, biology and chemistry. Maths has never been my strong point, but I ended up enjoying maths more and more as I began to understand it. Chemistry was harder than I thought it would ever be, but again, thanks to the support from my teachers, I was able to achieve the grade I needed!

“Mrs Peel has played a huge part of my life at Moreton, being both my biology teacher as well as running the Eco Team and the Jenner Society. I am sure my passion for biology is partially due to her!

“After achieving A*AA in my A Levels, I am due to start Cardiff in a few weeks. I will always have Moreton to thank for making me the person I am today!”

Pictured: left to right, Eliza Kiel, Carys Pryce