Many of the successful applicants at Brampton Manor academy are from minority ethnic backgrounds.
A state school in east London is celebrating after 41 of its students – almost all of them from minority ethnic backgrounds – secured offers to study at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge later this year.
Brampton Manor academy in Newham opened its sixth form in September 2012 with the objective of increasing progression rates to Oxbridge and other elite Russell Group universities among students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
In 2014, one student received an offer; in 2018 it was 25, of whom 20 began their studies in the autumn. This year has broken all records and hopes are high that most of those holding offers will get the required A-level grades to secure their place. Two-thirds of the students would be the first in their family to attend university and half have been in receipt of free school meals.
The academy’s executive principal, Dr Dayo Olukoshi, said: “We were delighted when last year we sent 20 students to Oxbridge, having seen the number increase gradually from just one offer in 2014. For this to have more than doubled again is phenomenal but does not surprise us – our vision has always been to never put limits on what our students can achieve, and I think these offers reflect just that.”
The sixth form is selective and highly sought after, with 2,000 to 3,000 applications for 300 places in the lower sixth. All candidates are interviewed before being offered a place and some students make long journeys – as much as two hours each way – to attend.
“It’s amazing,” said Sam Dobin, the director of the sixth form. “We are absolutely buzzing as a school. The students are amazing – I get in at 7am and there will be 80 or 90 already there working. That’s how they do it. It’s not some sort of miracle.”
Dorcas Shodeinde was among the successful students. She has been in care since she was 14 and now has an offer to study law at St Catherine’s College, Oxford. “When I was put in care, all I knew was that statistically care leavers don’t do very well,” she said. “I was determined that my future would be different.”
Read more : Sally Weale : The Guardian : 15 January 2019