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On Wednesday 23rd November, we enjoyed our annual celebration evening at the King’s Hall in Ilkley, honouring the achievements and individual success stories of the class of 2022.

Last year’s “blue ties” had much to celebrate and should be very proud of their collective achievements and individual accomplishments. As said during the evening’s address, behind every statistic and grade is an individual student and we were delighted to be able to celebrate each and every student, not only for their academic achievements, but also for their individual contributions to the school and community and their personal growth, exemplifying our IGS school values: Respect, Courage, Responsibility, Pride, Kindness, Resilience.

Within the context of a challenging examination series due to COVID-19, 285 students left with qualifications, with 87% of students achieving 5 or more grades 9-4 including English and maths - our highest ever percentage. Attainment was notable also in the highest possible grades with almost 30% of entries at grade 8 or 9, which is double the national percentage. This year’s 2022 results was another record year for Ilkley Grammar School in many ways, but particularly with a progress score of +.64 showing that, on average, students achieved a grade higher in almost 2 out of 3 subjects compared to students of similar ability nationally. The annual celebrations marked these collective achievements with gusto, with many proud Ilkley Grammar School staff and loudly cheering families and friends attending the evening, giving their congratulations and support for the class of 2022.

The whole evening was another outstanding showcase for Ilkley Grammar School, as students collected their GCSE certificates to the warm applause of the audience. It was clear that many students had again achieved their Personal Best, and the months of hard work and determination had paid dividends.

Mrs Purnell, Headteacher, said:

As a year group, the 2022 ‘Blue Ties’ achieved a record-breaking set of GCSE results with a wide variety of superb individual accomplishments and achievements. I am incredibly proud as Headteacher to celebrate these achievements with our students and their families at our Year 11 Presentation Evening in The King’s Hall. Congratulations to the Class of 2022!”

Outstanding individual achievements were recognised in 31 different subject awards representing a range of qualifications across our varied curriculum, as well as in prizes for exceptional progress and attainment overall. The exceptionally high standards at IGS, alongside the record results, meant that for every prize winner there were many others eligible for an award. Whilst there was considerable academic success to celebrate, Ilkley Grammar School proudly showcased a wide range of musical talent, including a beautiful vocal duet, a jazz band that wouldn’t have been out-of-place on the New York music scene, a confident and controlled classical piano piece and a solo soprano performance packing the punch of West-End talent. Students from last year’s Year 11 performed with grace and flair to their peers, with the following students proudly performing for the highly impressed audience: Allan Whitmore, Adam Leather, Isaac Perkins, Matthew Radick, Millie Trevett, Grace Chadwick, Callum Whitton and Charlotte Dear.

The evening closed with an inspirational address from the Guest of Honour and student alumnus, Yasmin Coffey.  Yasmin blew the audience away with her coherent and inspirational speech, which centred on unexpected opportunities, making decisions that give you the option of trying something new and the power of saying ‘yes’ even when presented with alternative choices to ‘play it safe’. Audience members commented on the words of wisdom from Yasmin, particularly taking away the message to have courage, self-belief and trust in your own abilities as “you don’t grow by staying in your comfort zone.” Yasmin left the audience to consider the following, both relevant for the young people in the room, as well as adults:

  • “There’s no secret, no hidden talent and no cheat code. Saying yes is the first step”

  • Once you’ve said yes, “work hard, set clear goals and do everything you can to attain your aspirations”

  • Minimise the barrier of self-doubt and remember that self-belief is “your most crucial tool”

And finally, leaving the hooked audience with a lasting, resounding piece of advice: “No goal is too far-fetched - back yourself as you never know where it might take you.”

Special awards recognising wider achievements beyond academic success were also awarded to the following students:

  • The Personal Best Award: Sonny Gibbons and Charlotte Wadsworth;
  • The Young Musician of the Year Award: Charlotte Dear;
  • The Commitment to School and Community Award: Crispin McKie and Bethan Yeates;
  • The Personal Development Award: Max Gibson;
  • The Pinsharp Cup for Sporting Achievement: Freya Whiteside;
  • The Community Sports Award: Charlie Macina and Jamie Lee;
  • The Year 11 Community Service Award: George Peters;
  • The Ilkley Parish Council Citizenship Award: George  Buckley;
  • The Ilkley Playhouse Award: Grace Chadwick;
  • The Ilkley Grammar School Respect Award: Ben Ballard;
  • The Ilkley Grammar School Courage Award: Tilly Hollins;
  • The Ilkley Grammar School Responsibility Award: Eleanor Green;
  • The Ilkley Grammar School Pride Award: Niamh O’Hearne;
  • The Ilkley Grammar School Kindness Award: Joe Scott;
  • The IGS Values Resilience Award: Tori Elston.

Well done “Blue Ties” of 2022! It has been a real privilege to watch you grow, personally and academically and you fully deserve your success!

Please click HERE for the Presentation Booklet containing the full list of award winners.

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