Student receives Royal Gold Medal from the Queen after outstanding A-level success

King Edward VII sixth form pupil Xuesong Yu with the medal presented to her by the Queen. Picture: M

King Edward VII sixth form pupil Xuesong Yu with the medal presented to her by the Queen. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

A student who moved to England from China has been awarded the Royal Gold Medal by The Queen for scoring two A* and two A grades at A-level - even though English is only her second language.

Xeusong Yu, of Sparrowgate Road, Walsoken, near Wisbech, collected the prestigious award from Her Majesty at Sandringham following The Queen's regular Sunday morning church service.

The 19-year-old first arrived in the UK in 2008 where, despite learning English in China since she was two, had never used the language in everyday life.

That did not stop her gaining some strong GCSE results within a couple of years of arriving before going on to the King Edward VII (KES) School, in King's Lynn, where she got A*s in maths and further maths, as well as As in physics and chemistry.

Speaking about the prize, which is awarded to the top-performing student at KES each year, Xeusong said: 'I didn't think I'd get it, so it was a big surprise.'

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She typically studied for about two hours per day on top of her usual lessons but would try to keep weekends free. 'If you push yourself to the extreme, you're not going to be able to keep up in the future,' she said.

Xeusong added that a genuine interest in the subjects she was learning helped, as well as a willingness to keep asking questions to further her understanding.

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KES headteacher Mike Douglass said there were a number of high-performing students at the school last year and that teachers had to refer back to individual exam scores to find the top performer.

He said Xeusong's record was a 'fantastic achievement', particularly in a set of challenging subjects.

Xeusong's mother Xiaowen Davies, 47, and stepfather Stanley Davies, 77, said they were incredibly proud and put Xeusong's success down to a combination of her intelligence and hard-work.

Earlier The Queen attended her usual Sunday morning church service at the St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, where she and the Duke of Edinburgh were joined by the legendary British racing driver Sir Jackie Stewart.

For the third week in a row The Queen, dressed in a long turquoise coat and hat, left the service with collecting any flowers from children and other members of the public.

Stella Scanlon, 65, from Hadleigh in Suffolk, came to see The Queen for the first time. 'She's just an incredible person that has worked consistently hard for 60 years.' Mrs Scanlon said. 'I think she truly believes it's a job for life.'

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