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Barrow chemistry students are among nation’s best

L-R: Ben O’Flynn, Brian Gibson, Zachariah Briant and Brad Hayton-Mulvey
L-R: Ben O’Flynn, Brian Gibson, Zachariah Briant and Brad Hayton-Mulvey

[T]hree Barrow Sixth Form College students achieved silver awards in this year’s UK Chemistry Olympiad putting them among the top A level chemistry students in the country.

Brad Hayton-Mulvey, Ben O’Flynn and Zachariah Briant, who are completing their A levels at the Rating Lane campus, secured the awards in the prestigious national competition.

They were among the elite chemistry students nationwide selected for the event, which is run by the Royal Society of Chemistry to challenge students. It includes a written paper on real-world chemistry problems and is a chance to showcase skills required at university level. Students can win gold, silver, bronze or participation awards.

Head of Chemistry Brian Gibson, who presented them with their silver awards, said the competition is only for the brightest chemists in the country.

“This award is very challenging and their achievement puts them in the top 1,500 A level chemistry students nationally,” he said. “The questions are degree standard and the students have to apply their knowledge to situations that are not familiar and solve problems. They have done extremely well, even better than our students last year and we’re very proud of them.”

Brad and Ben are both Honours students at the sixth form, which is now part of Furness College after the two colleges merged last year.

Brad, 17, of Walney, who has an offer to study pharmacy at Liverpool JMU, said: “The Olympiad was interesting and challenging and it was great to do something a bit different because the questions ranged across the entire spectrum of chemistry. Some things in there we hadn’t covered in class but the silver award shows we had the knowledge to be able to work out the answers.”

Ben, 18, of Walney, who has an offer to study biomedical science at Lancaster University said the Olympiad had been a chance to apply his knowledge while Zachariah, 19, of Dalton, hopes it will help him as he plans a career in sciences.

Of the students who completed the Olympiad last year, Alice Hewson went on to become the highest achiever at A level while James Gallagher is now studying at Cambridge University. They both achieved bronze awards.

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