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Norfolk students given tips and tricks at launch of university event

Launch of the Norfolk Higher Education Scheme 2017/18 by Norfolk County Council at County Hall, Norwich. Picture: Angie Sharpe

Launch of the Norfolk Higher Education Scheme 2017/18 by Norfolk County Council at County Hall, Norwich. Picture: Angie Sharpe

Angela Sharpe Photography

Teenagers choosing where - and what - to study at university have been given a helping hand to secure a spot at some of the country’s finest institutions.

Launch of the Norfolk Higher Education Scheme 2017/18 by Norfolk County Council at County Hall, Norwich. Student Sofia Chapman. PIcture: Angie Sharpe Launch of the Norfolk Higher Education Scheme 2017/18 by Norfolk County Council at County Hall, Norwich. Student Sofia Chapman. PIcture: Angie Sharpe

This year’s Norfolk Higher Education Scheme, run by Norfolk County Council and Norfolk Education Leaders, was launched on Wednesday night to give students across the county tips and tricks on applying and interviewing for university.

Though the scheme - which has seen more than 3,000 students from all 31 state school and college sixth forms sign up - helps applicants for all universities, the launch night focused on those aiming for Oxbridge and other top universities.

The initiative - which is partnered with colleges at both Cambridge and Oxford universities - includes mock interviews, workshops, speakers and university visits.

Julian McKay, chairman of Sixth Form Plus and director of sixth form at Notre Dame High School, said: “This is about equal opportunities and widening participation and ensuring that everyone has a chance to study at good universities.

Launch of the Norfolk Higher Education Scheme 2017-18 by Norfolk County Council at County Hall, Norwich. Student composer Ben Pease-Barton. Picture: Angie Sharpe Launch of the Norfolk Higher Education Scheme 2017-18 by Norfolk County Council at County Hall, Norwich. Student composer Ben Pease-Barton. Picture: Angie Sharpe

“There’s a real pride for state schools when students who may not be from that private school background get into what are still considered very elite establishments.”

The number of students on the scheme has risen by one-third on last year.

Students heard from Dr Andrew Bond, admissions tutor at Gonville and Caius College at Cambridge University, and Georgia Denham, an undergraduate composer at Birmingham Conservatoire and former City of Norwich School student.

Stuart Dark, vice-chairman of the council’s children’s services committee, said: “Every year, more students from all over Norfolk see the benefit of getting this extra help with their university applications. It is a fantastic way of helping young people channel their enthusiasm into getting into the university of their choice, which can have a big impact on the rest of their lives.”

Among the students attending was 16-year-old Archie Young, from Stalham. He is at East Norfolk Sixth Form College but hopes to study at a prestigious art college such as Goldsmiths, at the University of London.

Sofia Chapman, 16, from Diss, hopes to study law at the University of Cambridge.

Talented music student’s fanfare makes it to London

Among those looking to the future was Ben Pease Barton, a budding musician and City of Norwich School student.

The 17-year-old, who lives in Norwich, has applied to a handful of conservatoires to further his career - but has already seen his creations pushed into the limelight.

The teenager won a competition to compose a fanfare, which is now being played nightly at the Royal Opera House in London.

Ben said it was the first fanfare he’d composed, and that - with the competition deadline the day after his grade eight piano exam - he didn’t have high hopes.

“I hadn’t written a fanfare specifically before, but I had been studying composition. It was an amazing opportunity and I definitely didn’t want to miss out,” he said, “but I wasn’t expecting to win. I guess I got lucky.”

He said the higher education service would be particularly helpful in creative subjects, which less people studied.

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