A-level results: Straight As for Ripon student who got stuck in New Zealand lockdown

Ripon Grammar School boarding student tranded 11,500 miles away from her school during the pandemic is celebrating top results Credit: Family Photo

A student who was left stranded more than 11,000 miles from her school during the coronavirus lockdown is celebrating achieving top A-Level results.

Maia Holbert, 18, was set to join Ripon Grammar School in North Yorkshire as a boarder from her native New Zealand, but was then not allowed to leave after tough restrictions were brought in because of the pandemic.

Instead, for the first six months of her time at the school she was forced to study remotely, often set an alarm for 2am New Zealand time to attend virtual lessons.

It did little to hamper her, however, as she gained three As in German, chemistry and biology and is now planning to study medicine following a gap year.

"I wasn’t able to join RGS until the March of lower sixth due to the Covid restrictions in New Zealand, as we were in complete lockdown and you were unable to re-enter the country if you chose to leave it," she said.

"This meant I had to join virtual lessons from a completely different time zone. New Zealand was 13 hours ahead so it often meant setting my alarm for 2am in the morning for my afternoon lessons."

Maia's parents live in New Zealand, although her dad is originally from Leeds. The family moved so that her mother could finish her training to qualify as a doctor

She was eventually able to board at the school when restrictions in New Zealand eased, six months into her first year of studying.

"I was obviously very glad to be able to join the rest of the cohort in March," she said.

"It was hard, at times, to catch up on some work which I had not completely understood, but there was always an excellent support network of teachers, staff, and friends, to support me during these times."

Maia received her results by email in New Zealand. 

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