Student tutored at University of Sheffield wins gold in international maths contest

A student who attends maths classes at the University of Sheffield came top amongst more than 200 teenagers who took part in an international mathematics competition.

Emily Beatty wearing her medal and holding a Union Jack, smiling

Emily Beatty, a pupil at King Edward VII school in Sheffield, was one of just five competitors who got 42 out of 42 in the European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad.

She is the first Briton to achieve a perfect score in an international maths contest in more than 20 years, and is now preparing to compete in the International Mathematical Olympiad – one of the world's most prestigious mathematics competitions.

At last week's European competition in Florence, Italy, Emily was awarded a gold medal while the British team she is a member of came third overall, out of 52.

In preparation for her A Levels, Emily has been attending the Sixth Term Examination Paper (STEP) classes run by the University of Sheffield's School of Mathematics and Statistics. STEP is used by some top universities to assess applicants for undergraduate maths courses.

Dr James Cranch, who helps run the University of Sheffield's STEP classes, is also a member of the British Mathematical Olympiad committee and a former leader of the UK's International Mathematical Olympiad team. For the last 18 months, he has helped Emily prepare for her Olympiad appearances, as well as her A Levels, with one-on-one tuition.

He said: "When we started, I was spending a lot of it doing Olympiad-type problems with her, but in latter months I've come to feel that she was doing well enough at that for herself, and concentrated on broader mathematical topics. That feeling has, in recent weeks, been borne out as correct."

Emily's success at the European Girls' Mathematical Olympiad came shortly after she found out that she made it on the UK squad for this year's International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) in Romania. The IMO has a history dating back to 1959 and now features contestants from more than 100 countries. 

Dr Cranch said: "Worthy of note is the observation that before Emily, the last British student to get a perfect score at an international mathematics competition was also a Yorkshire woman – Katy Maclean, from Harrogate, at the International Maths Olympiad in 1994."

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