Newtongrange twins prove they have the wright stuff

Ishbel and Esmee Wright. Esmee is the first Newbattle High School pupil to go to the University of Cambridge while Ishbel is heading to St Andrews University.
Ishbel and Esmee Wright. Esmee is the first Newbattle High School pupil to go to the University of Cambridge while Ishbel is heading to St Andrews University.

No wonder twins Esmee and Ishbel Wright are smiling – both are bound for two of the top universities in the country.

Between them, the sisters have 14 Highers and five Advanced Highers, enough to secure Esmee the honour of being the first ever Newbattle High School pupil to go to Cambridge University.

Her sister, Ishbel, could be the next Brian Cox as she’s heading to St Andrews to study astrophysics.

The Newtongrange teenagers are testament to the fantastic pupil support at Newbattle, which has helped secure the best every cumulative S6 results in the school’s history. They were also in the first group from the school to achieve the gold Duke of Edinburgh award along with Racheal Moffat, Emily Donaldson, Katherine Hunt, Louisa Gordon, Amy Gordon, Mia King, Katie Taylor, Fiona Mackie and Chiara Clark.

Ishbel said: “I think Newbattle is one of the best schools in the area. The teachers care an awful lot and would go to the ends of the earth for you.

“Mr Taylor (who has just retired as head teacher) knows every single student. He’s the most exuberant person we’ve ever met.”

Both young women are eagerly anticipating their first year as undergraduates. Esmee will study Russian and French at Cambridge.

Having secured the required A1 in Advanced Higher French and English and an A in Advanced Higher Spanish, Esmee will be going to Murray Edwards College at the university, which focuses on supporting outstanding young women.

It will be the first time she will have been separated from Ishbel for longer than a week. “It will be strange but we’ll all survive,” said their mum Janet, an associate specialist doctor at Borders General Hospital. Dad Doug is an electronic engineer.

Both teenagers are talented musicians. Ishbel plays violin and piano. Esmee favours the piano and electric bass guitar.

Ishbel, who received an unconditional offer from St Andrews, said she was “beyond excited” at the prospect of the new term.

“They told me you could see the Northern Lights from the beach and I was sold,” she jokes.

The new head teacher at Newbattle, Gib McMillan said: “Newbattle HS is very proud of Esmee and Ishbel for their achievements to secure their goals. Their drive, focus and contribution to the wider aspect of school life also impressed us.

“We are also very pleased about our other pupils results. Achieving the best S6 cumulative results on record is in line with our improving trend at all stages over a number of years. Staff here work tirelessly to help develop every aspect of our students’ potential and this demonstrates the impact they make. I am proud to be taking over this fantastic school community from Colin, who’s dedicated work can be seen in this year’s results.”