Nelson and Colne College first year A level student Sai Chinmayee Naresh Kumaar has triumphed over thousands of students worldwide in a prestigious biology competition.

The 16-year-old won a silver award at the British Biology Olympiad (BBO), a prestigious international competition, beating off competition from students a year ahead of her in their studies.

The accolade was all the more impressive as 13,000 students from more than 800 schools worldwide took part in this year’s British Biology Olympiad.

The competition is open to post-16 students in schools and colleges and is designed to engage and inspire students passionate about biology, encouraging them to further develop their skills.

Nelson and Colne College (NCC) entered three students into the Olympiad, two second year students, Haseeb Mohammed and Mahad Aamir, and Sai who is in her first year. The outstanding college, which boasts an impressive 99% A-level pass rate, takes pride in its reputation for guiding students toward aspirational careers at leading universities, encouraging extracurricular activities such as the competition to challenge them.

Dr Jack Keily, an A level Biology teacher at NCC, has been working with the students to help them prepare for the competition.

Jack said: “This is an elite level competition and all the students worked really hard preparing for it.

“Entering our A level students for academic competitions such as this is something the college really encourages. It’s a great way of improving our students’ cultural and educational capital and gives them a fantastic experience. I couldn’t be prouder of them and what they’ve achieved.”

The competition consists of two, 45-minute papers done online under exam conditions. The papers can be taken together or on separate occasions. Students are presented with topics and ideas which they are not familiar with, testing their problem solving skills and understanding of core principles.

Sai came to NCC from Skipton Girls School where she gained 12 grade nine GCSEs as well as an AS in further maths. She is currently studying biology, chemistry, physics and maths, which she is completing in one year to allow her to study for a further maths A level in her second. If successful, she could graduate NCC with 5 A levels. She plans to study medicine at university.

Sai said:” I really enjoyed answering the questions on the Biology Olympiad. Although it was quite challenging, I am proud to have gotten a Silver and I hope to get a Gold next time!”

As well as the Biology Olympiad, Sai has competed in the mathematical Olympiad for Girls where she earned a distinction and the Senior maths challenge where she achieved a silver award and was best in college.

Nelson and Colne College boasts a strong reputation within A Levels, with 83 per cent of A level students progressing onto university, 29 percent higher than the national average, with an impressive 30 per cent of students applying for courses in Law, Medicine, or Science.