Vanessa achieves success in prestigious Oxford Uni essay comp
October 13, 2020

A Sixth Form pupil at Rydal Penrhos has received a significant distinction from an essay competition organised by one of the world’s leading higher education establishments.

Vanessa Ma, a Year 13 pupil at Rydal Penrhos, out shone thousands of other entries to earn a shortlisting in the John Locke History Essay prize, which is an annual event put on by the University of Oxford.

Not only was Vanessa shortlisted for the award, but the pupil also managed to attain a high commendation mark, which was just below the three essays that were chosen for the cash prizes.

This represents a remarkable achievement for Vanessa, who chose the topic of the number of people currently incarcerated in American prisons as the topic for her essay.

Vanessa spent time during the school lockdown sourcing online information, reading books and various articles relating to the topic, before devising an essay that featured analysis, explanation on the numbers and some opinions on how the concerning situation could be improved.

The competition received 2,740 entries this year. Vanessa is currently studying Mathematics, History, Physics and Geography at A Level and plans to study History and Politics at university next year.

She said: “I was really surprised when I got shortlisted as I didn’t spend that much time on the essay. It was a very interesting topic that really made me think I am so happy to receive a highly commended mark.”

Vanessa arrived at Rydal Penrhos as a Year 10 pupil in 2017 as has developed her academic skills considerably under the guidance, care and dedication of the school’s exceptional teaching staff.

This culminated in some outstanding GCSE results before the start of Vanessa’s Sixth Form journey, which included 9’s in Business, Chinese, English Literature, French and Mathematics, three A* grades in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, two 8 marks in History and Religious Studies and a distinction in Additional Mathematics.


Rydal Penrhos is now able to offer private tours to prospective pupils and their families.

For more information email admissions@rydalpenrhos.com, call 01492 530155 or book online at https://rydal.wpengine.com/open-days-visits.