& # 39; This is no accident & # 39 ;: how one public school gets 41 Oxbridge offers | education


"Cambridge has always been my dream," said Hridita Rahman Khan, 17, one of 41 students at the Brampton Manor academy in east London to win an offer from Oxbridge this week.

Khan's parents are from Bangladesh, he grew up in Italy and arrived in London at the age of 14 with a little English. Three years later he was offered a place to study engineering at the University of Cambridge.

His story is one of the most remarkable achievements, but there are many at Brampton Manor, a state school in Newham where half of those holding the Oxbridge offer are free school meals and almost all come from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Dorcas Shodeinde, 17, was treated at the age of 14. "I'm really scared. I see statistics for cared children and many people don't do well, "he said. If he reaches the required level A, he will study law at Oxford. "Right now it's not real."

Brampton Manor may be located in one of the poorest districts in London, but its success now rivals some of the top private schools in the entire country. In comparison, in 2015 68 students from Eton College were accepted by Oxbridge, from a 267 cohort.

A key factor in success is that even though schools (for ages 11-16) are comprehensive, the sixth form is very selective. It opened in 2012 and attracts up to 3,000 applications for 300 places every year. Some students travel up to two hours each way to attend.

Sam Dobin

Sam Dobin, Brampton Manor's sixth form director. Photo: Linda Nylind for the Guardian

Each candidate was interviewed and, according to the sixth form director, Sam Dobin, most of those who succeeded were on average equal to A in the GCSE.

Of the more than 300 students in 11 at Brampton Manor, around 70 went on to the sixth form. Of Oxbridge's 41 offers, nine came from the comprehensive intake of the school itself, which was more in line with the results in other achievement schools throughout the country.

Another contributing factor is the high number of students applying to Oxbridge. While the other six forms are less ambitious and may be included in some students, 130 were applied from Brampton Manor this year and Dobin said he believes everyone from 12 is now able to go to Oxbridge. "This is no accident. We will have more next year. The secret is to make students believe in themselves."

Visually, Brampton Manor resembles a number of modern academies. This is greater than most with 2,500 students, of which only 2% are white English.

The walls are plastered with photographs of success stories, and at the entrance to the sixth form there is an honorary board that lists the names of the previous students and the university where they went. There is a separate board for Oxbridge, the names topped up by the first Oxbridge school students, Nulifa Ahmed, who went on to get the first in geography at Cambridge.

The academy has no links with top private schools, unlike neighboring Newham which is the more famous London Academy of Excellence (LAE), another selective sixth form, which was established as part of the Conservative free school program and supported by a number of independent institutions. schools including Eton.

Nor does it foster relationships with individual Oxbridge colleges. Dobin said his success had nothing to do with "insider knowledge". Instead, he said, students excel through their own hard work and ambitions, supported by highly qualified staff.

There is a university access team consisting of five Oxbridge graduates who are not teachers and only exist to support university applications, including giving artificial interviews.

Each student has three or four hours a day. "In the free period we did not release them to go to the city to go to Nando," said Dobin, who graduated from Cambridge. They are expected to remain in the location and work, and in the sixth line of study, row by row students sit quietly, head in the book. The study area is open from 6am to 6pm and Dobin says there are students who regularly stay there for a full 12 hours.

Dayo Olukoshi

Dayo Olukoshi, executive principal. Photo: Linda Nylind for the Guardian

Chief executive, Dayo Olukoshi, is pleased with the 41 offer holders. He considers himself and his team as "missionaries" and tells students: "This is not about your appearance. It's not about your skin color or whether you are suitable or not. About – how ambitious are you? How big is your dream? Because we are in business to realize your dreams. "

The success of the school has won praise from far and wide, including other close neighbors, Newham Sixth Form College (NewVic), the sixth comprehensive traditional form, which is arguably the loss of select students to Brampton Manor, LAE and Newham Collegiate.

The headmaster of NewVic, Mandeep Gill, said that he was pleased with the success of Brampton Manor but was warned not to defame Oxbridge as the culmination of achievement.

"I am very proud of what Brampton Manor has achieved. What they have done for the students is extraordinary. But I am very supportive in giving each student every opportunity to reach their requirements," he said.

"For some students who are Oxford and Cambridge, and it's brilliant, but for many other students it's not. As a college, we do both goals. We sent students to Oxford and Cambridge, but we also celebrated and were equally proud of 70 students who received an internship last year. "

James Turner, future chief executive of the Sutton Trust, a social mobility charity, paid homage to the success of Brampton Manor.

"The main thing from our point of view is that these schools continue to serve their environment. Because schools are becoming more desirable, the competition to enter the sixth form may become more intense, "he said.

"If that is the case, it is important for the school to make sure it continues to fulfill the mission it has set to fulfill."


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