Sheffield pupil beats thousands of other students in biology competition

Silverdale pupil Mark Withers
Silverdale pupil Mark Withers
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A Sheffield pupil has beaten thousands of other students to reach the final of a biology competition.

Silverdale pupil Mark Wither has made it though to the last 16 in the 2017 British Biology Olympiad, beating more than 7,000 students.

The sixth form pupil has to sit two one-hour multiple choice papers under exam conditions, with the 144 students with the highest scores then having to sit a more demanding exam.

Mark will now battle it out against 15 other students, many of which are from private schools, at the University of Warwick later this month.

The top four students will also be invited to represent the UK at the International Biology Olympiad this summer.

Mark said: “I'm just surprised that I reached the final, as the second round in particular was very difficult. But I'm obviously thrilled that I did make it through.

"My teacher, Mrs Jones, has been extremely helpful throughout the process.

"I can't remember when I first became interested in Biology, so it must have been a very long time ago.

"I became more focused in my interest as I gained greater understanding of the potential in some fields of study, such as genetic engineering.

"I think after university I would like to get a PhD and go into research”.

Silverdale School headteacher, Roisin Paul, said: “This is a real boost for both Mark and Silverdale.

"Most of the other finalists are from private schools, so it’s testament to the fantastic teaching and support at our school – as well as Mark’s clear intellect and commitment.

"We are incredibly proud of him and will be doing everything we can to support him in the final”.

Mark has been offered a place at the University of Cambridge in September, where he will read Natural Science. He is predicted to get top marks in his maths and science A-levels in the summer.

Dr Andrew Treharne, who chairs the group of volunteers which organises the British Biology Olympiad, said: “The standard of this year’s competitors was as high as ever and I look forward to meeting this year’s finalists in Warwick.

"Many congratulations to them for getting to this stage. Top 16 out of 7,500 is an incredible achievement”.