Thursday, August 17th, 2017.

Ryan Dornan, bound for Oxford University

Former Excelsior Academy pupil Ryan Dornan is celebrating securing his place to study at Oxford University following stunning A Level success.

Ryan, 18, is the first pupil from Excelsior to study at an Oxbridge university after gaining A* grades in maths and further maths, an A in economics and a B in politics.

This confirms Ryan’s offer to read politics, philosophy and economics for three years at St Anne’s College, Oxford University, from October.

Benwell-born Ryan was a pupil at Atkinson Road Primary Academy before joining Excelsior in 2010, where he was an outstanding student in Hadrian School for five years.

He left Excelsior with 4 A* and 5 A grades amongst his 12 GCSEs to take up a place at Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh on a scholarship funded by Excelsior Academy sponsor Lord Laidlaw.

His A Level success at Merchiston means he will join 700 students at St Anne’s College, founded in 1879.

“I’m very pleased, it’s more a feeling of relief that I didn’t mess up my chance of going to Oxford,” said Ryan, who is back home in Benwell preparing for life at one of the world’s top ranked universities.

“I was getting quite nervous with my friends all texting me asking how I was. My mam is really proud and pleased and I don’t think this will all sink in properly until I’m down there and meeting people.”

Ryan thanked Lord Laidlaw and Excelsior Academy staff for their support in making his academic dream come true.

“I don’t think without a place at Merchiston that I’d have been able to concentrate as much and focus on my grades,” he said.

“My days at Excelsior Academy laid down the foundations I needed to get to where I’m going – I’ll always look back on all the happy memories I have there.”

Looking to the future, Ryan’s dream is to enter politics after a post graduate scholarship in economics or politics in the United States at an Ivy League university – or take up a financial services role in the City of London.

Craig Taylor, Excelsior Academy Executive Principal, said: “All Ryan’s hard work and dedication have paid off handsomely with a place at one of the world’s great universities.

“We are so proud of him at Excelsior – he is an inspiration to all our pupils, demonstrating the rewards hard work and a positive attitude can bring. We will all follow his progress at Oxford University and future career with great interest.”