In the Sixth Form, she studied Music, English Literature, Religious Studies and EPQ, and was offered a place to study philosophy at Trinity College, Cambridge, conditional on her obtaining at least an A* and two A’s.
She was due to take her A-level exams in the summer of 2020, but they were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The constraints imposed upon schools’ assessments that year were such that, although Jessica got the grades she needed in Music and RS, in English she did not, and no appeal was possible.
Determined not to be thwarted, and with valuable help from the English department, she re-took English Literature in a real examination in the October and subsequently was awarded an A*.
After Trinity College had confirmed her place for 2021, Jessica went abroad to France as an au-pair, first looking after three-month-old triplets in Auvergne, and later in Paris, returning to England in August.
She said: “Initially the concept of a gap year during a pandemic was incredibly daunting, but retrospectively it is one of the best things to happen to me.
“I was able to meet so many new inspiring people and had so many unexpected experiences. I now feel very prepared for my new start at Cambridge and I’m so excited to see what this year holds.”
Jessica was for several years Head Chorister at Newcastle Cathedral and she hopes to take up choral music again in one of the college choirs.