State Sixth Form Beating the Oxbridge Odds


A state sixth form college with a large number of students attracting Pupil Premium funding has achieved 41 Oxbridge offers, placing them on a par with top private schools.

Brampton manor in the Easton London Borough of Newham, one of the most deprived boroughs in the capital, received 25 Oxbridge offers last year and is expecting 50 net year.

Half of the students with current offers are on free school meals.
The head of the sixth form, Sam Dobin, claims there is no secret formula to their success, just ordinary run-of-the mill, conventional teaching. But there are things that stand out.

The school has spent its Pupil Premium money on building and staffing a study centre which is open from 6 am to 7.30 pm. The school runs courses aligned to the world of work, like Medical Sciences, and hold research forums to discuss medical advances and ethics.

It has a strong debating society, which takes part in inter-school competitions and a team of five full-time Oxbridge graduates working on university access. It expects all of its students to go onto university, and it loudly promotes the success of former students all over the school.
There are pictures on the walls of previous students who went to Oxbridge, and inside the entrance is a plaque with the names of all students who have gone to university.

Part of the motivation, students say, is this celebration of success and the idea that Oxbridge is attainable and not just for elites.

Part of its success though seems to be a university style of education that has a lot of emphasis placed on personal responsibility and an engagement with ideas and discussion.

January 2019

School Leadership Today