Oxbridge success for pupils from deprived London borough, thanks to Brighton College (From The Argus)
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Oxbridge success for pupils from deprived London borough, thanks to Brighton College
A free school for sixth-form pupils in one of Britain's most deprived areas is poised to send six of its students to Oxford or Cambridge University.
The London Academy of Excellence (LAE) in Stratford, east London, opened its doors to its first intake of 207 pupils in September 2012 after being set up by independent Brighton College.
It is also backed by Roedean College.
It is said to have secured more Oxbridge offers on its first attempt than all other schools in the borough of Newham last year.
The LAE, a selective sixth-form for 16 to 19 year olds, opened its doors to its first intake of 207 pupils in September 2012.
LAE's aim is to draw London's brightest children from poor backgrounds to prepare them for the best universities despite Newham being the second most deprived borough in England. At almost 40%, the average free school meal rate in the area is significantly higher than the national average of around 14%.
Teachers have hailed the Oxbridge success of LAE students Onkar Singh, Zeeshan Iqbal, Olivia Hylton-Pennant, William Sorflaten, Audrey Walela and Amena Ali.
They have received conditional offers to study at Downing, Newnham and Robinson colleges, Cambridge, and Wadham College, Oxford.
Richard Cairns, head of Brighton College, said his work as a governor at Kingsford Community School in Newham convinced him that there was a need for an academic sixth-form college to prime students for entry to top universities.
He said: "Too many youngsters I spoke to thought that university was not for them.
"Even those who had aspirations to go to university were choosing A-level subjects like sociology and media studies that were of limited value in securing offers from the best institutions.
"I realised that we needed to provide a curriculum that focused on those hard subjects that Russell Group universities tend to demand.
"With Joan Deslandes, head of Kingsford Community School, I then approached a number of independent schools, including Eton, Roedean, Highgate and Caterham, and asked them to support the project.
"They were quick to respond. Each of us decided to sponsor a particular A-level subject, mentoring teachers, providing curricular support and assisting with university preparations."
Onkar Singh, who aims to study modern foreign languages at Downing College, said: "I chose to apply to Cambridge because having been taught by three teachers at LAE who went to Oxbridge I wanted to acquire the same level of passion and understanding that they brought to every lesson."
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