Holly Roach

Former School :Bridgewater High School

Subjects at Priestley :Biology, Chemistry, Maths and the Extended Project

Destination :Oxford University to study Biochemistry

Holly secured her place at Oxford after studying A-Levels at Priestley despite having dyslexia.

She is now on a four-year Masters course in Biochemistry (Molecular and Cellular).

“I’ve always been really motivated so when I was told I had dyslexia I was determined to try and overcome it,” said Holly.

“My parents found a course called the Dore Programme which involved doing physical exercises every day for two years. All the extra hours I’ve put in and the support I’ve had from my parents and tutors has been worth it.”

Originally teachers thought Holly was on course for Cs and Ds in her GCSEs, but she developed a way of learning that worked for her and left Bridgewater High School with eight A* and three As at GCSE.

This was despite being told at the age of 12 that the muscles in her eyes were the equivalent to those of a 40-year-old. Holly visited a specialist and had to do specific eye exercises every day for a year.

Holly read a beginners’ guide to genetics when she was just 14, and went on to develop an interest in epigenetics – the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself.

As well as studying A-Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Maths, Holly also took the Graduate programme at Priestley, which is designed to help the most able students secure places at Russell Group universities.

Last year Holly was named one of the UK’s outstanding students in recognition of her academic achievements as well as the contribution she makes to the Warrington community including as a young leader with the Brownies, involvement with the Scouts and as a Kumon Maths and English teaching assistant.

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