Hackney students offered places at Oxford

Hackney pupils Mahmoud Ally, Saorise Purtill-Coaxall, Jake Morgan-Stead, Le-My Dang and Asta Diabat

Hackney pupils Mahmoud Ally, Saorise Purtill-Coaxall, Jake Morgan-Stead, Le-My Dang and Asta Diabate have all been made conditional offers from Oxford after participation in an outreach programme. Photo: James Hooker - Credit: Archant

Five state school pupils are celebrating after receiving conditional offers to attend Oxford University thanks to an innovative outreach scheme.

Jake Morgan-Stead, Saorise Purtill-Coaxall, Mahmoud Ally, Asta Diabate and Le-My Dang, who attend four different schools in Hackney, participated in the Pem-brooke programme.

It was set up as a partnership between Pembroke College, Oxford and BSix Brooke House Sixth Form College in Kenninghall Road, Clapton in 2008.

A brainchild of principal Ken Warman and Pembroke College access fellow Peter Claus – the scheme has widened to include other schools in Hackney over the last four years.

Pupils start the scheme during their first year of sixth form and work closely with staff and undergraduates form Pembroke College.

All five students took part in a year-long course on enlightenment and romanticism which included seminars, lectures and writing assignments – on top of their normal workload – followed by summer school at Pembroke College last June.

Saoirse, of Boleyn Road, Dalston, said: “It’s the happiest thing that has ever happened to me. I thought I had no chance of getting in.”

Most Read

The 18-year-old, who attends The Petchey Academy, Shacklewell Lane in Hackney, is the first person in her family to go to university and has an offer to study history and politics at Oriel College.

Jake Morgan-Staed, 18, of Barbauld Road, Stoke Newington said: “I want to go so badly so getting the offer was one of the best days of my life.”

The self-confessed history buff from Stoke Newington Sixth Form in Clissold Road, Stoke Newington has an offer to study the subject at Queen’s College.

He said: “When other kids were getting out story books I was getting books on Second World War weapons and trench warfare.”

He added that the scheme had helped build his confidence, saying: “It can be kind of isolating at my school. The reality is that there’s a mixed group of ability.”

For BSix College student Mahmoud Ally, 18, of Brixton, who was “not expecting to apply” to go to university two years ago, this is a complete turnaround. He was accepted at BSix after being ‘‘kicked out’’ of other schools.

He credits his offer to study history at Pembroke to the help and support of teachers, saying: “They are really enthusiastic. They really got me into school and made me discover a passion for a subject.”

Peter Claus said: “Pembroke and Oxford are after students of talent. We have to come out and get it. It won’t come to us.

“There is no reason at all that students such as these from a range of Hackney schools and colleges cannot apply to the most competitive universities, get in, and then thrive there.”