17 offers for grammar school’s intellectual elite
The chance to study at one of England’s most prestigious universities is not a common occurrence yet for 17 academics at a single Leeds sixth form, a life at Oxbridge could be just around the corner.
Students from the Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) are continuing the impressive success rate of their predecessors in securing offers from Oxford and Cambridge universities.
Fourteen current Year 13 students now hold conditional offers from the two renowned establishments, whilst three alumni, who graduated last year, have also received offers.
Amongst the nine students holding a conditional offer from Cambridge are two 18-year-olds, Ashwin Venkatesh and Amol Joshi, who both hope to study medicine.
The intellectual pair both currently take the same lessons at GSAL and have similar aspirations for their future academic life.
Ashwin, from Alwoodley, noted the moment he opened the letter confirming his conditional offer last month and how determined he was now to achieve the grades ‘expected’ of him.
“My first and second interviews at Cambridge were held on 10th December and I felt they went as well as they could have but there is always a bit of uncertainty about whether you have done enough,” he said.
“When I received my letter it didn’t really sink in at first and it still hasn’t now. To have the chance to study at Cambridge is a major opportunity and I am very thankful for that.
“I phoned my mum after reading the letter and she broke down crying on the phone. It is a big achievement but I think all of us are now even more determined to achieve the grades expected of us and attend Cambridge next year.”
Amol, from Moortown, added that he was less confident following his interview but remained calm under pressure to impress the interviewees.
“I was a bit nervous after the interview because I knew I had made some mistakes but the important thing was that I was able to guide myself to a valid conclusion,” he said.
“My letter arrived on 10th January like Ashwin and he actually phoned me in the morning to say ‘I’m in, how have you done’, before I had even looked.
“I sent him a message later that day saying ‘you’re stuck with me for another six years’ which felt really good.”
Last year, 17 students from GSAL received offers from Oxbridge colleges, with this year’s tally equalling the record for the school.
Teacher Ray Peacock is GSAL’s Oxbridge coordinator. He said he was ‘delighted’ to once again see a number of GSAL students receive offers from Oxbridge.
Explaining more about the application process, he said: “It’s a demanding application process that has become increasingly competitive in recent years.
“We offer a comprehensive programme of support in school, to help students demonstrate their passion for their chosen subjects on their UCAS personal statement, hone their independent thinking skills in preparation for the interview and prepare for specific admissions tests.
“While the candidates engaged fully with our programme it is ultimately their own commitment and hard work that secured these sought after offers, and we are hugely proud of their success.”