School helps students win Oxbridge spots

SHAUN LOWTHORPE A Norfolk school rated among the top 100 in England according to a new survey is hoping to help more state school pupils gain university places at Oxford or Cambridge.

SHAUN LOWTHORPE

A Norfolk school rated among the top 100 in England according to a new survey is hoping to help more state school pupils gain university places at Oxford or Cambridge.

A dozen Norfolk schools were listed in the top 1,000 nationally but Norwich School was the only one to make it into the prestigious Financial Times Top 100 List, being rated 96th.

Now the school has teamed up with the city's Notre Dame High and Aimhigher Norfolk to develop a summer school for up to 200 state school students from Norfolk and Suffolk. Last year, 22 out of 128 who signed up gained places at Oxbridge.

The report looked at core academic A-levels as defined by Cambridge University, taking out subjects the university had identified as providing a less effective preparation for study.

In the last decade 138 Norwich School pupils have gained places at Oxbridge, with support provided in-house by Oxbridge co-ordinator Simon Kettley who is based at the school full time to give advice and help to potential Oxbridge students.

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This year eight pupils have been offered places at Oxford colleges and nine at Cambridge.

Headmaster Jim Hawkins said: "The entry procedures at Oxford and Cambridge are among the most demanding in the country. When a pupil secures an offer, it is a great achievement and indication of potential."

Edmund Gould, an ex-Norwich School pupil who has just completed his undergraduate studies at Oxford said: "I spent three years reading English at Oxford, and I couldn't recommend it enough.

"It's a great city for students, and the college system makes for a really friendly atmosphere.

"It was certainly a relief to find that all the old Oxbridge clichés were completely unfounded, and it's really a very welcoming place.

"While the work-rate can be a little intimidating at first, it's easy to get into the swing of things and outside of classes I still found plenty of time to lead a very full social life. It's an amazing way to spend three years of your life."

Places are still available for the Oxbridge summer school and further information is available from Peter Goddard at Norwich School on 01603 728430 or e-mail pgoddard

@norwich-school.org.uk