Record number of Oxbridge offers at Saffron Walden County High School

CELEBRATIONS are underway at Saffron Walden County High School after confirmation that a record number of students have received conditional offers at either Oxford or Cambridge universities.

Twelve sixth formers have received offers to study subjects ranging from veterinary medicine through mathematics and the sciences to linguistics and English.

In recent years, typically half that number have received offers.

Head of sixth form Helen Cox said: “We are all very pleased that the students’ hard work and determination to succeed has paid off in these very positive outcomes to their Oxbridge interviews.

“In recent years we have laid increasing emphasis on preparing those students who are in a position to apply to leading universities, including Oxford and Cambridge.

“Every year we establish an early applicants’ group during the spring term of Year 12. Advice is then provided over how students might best prepare themselves for subsequent interviews.

“The programme includes visits as well as encouragement to extend their academic work beyond the standard A Level syllabus.

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“In the autumn term all those students who apply to Oxford or Cambridge have one or more mock interviews with a member of staff or someone external to the school who is familiar with the entrance process.

“Over the years we have been able to build up a bank of questions typical of those that students will be asked.”

Headteacher John Hartley added: “This is a really thrilling outcome for the students, given that each year entrance to Oxford or Cambridge becomes an ever-more competitive process.

“Students will now be focussing single-mindedly on achieving the A Level grades asked for and the required scores on the additional specialist tests which some will have to sit.

“It is enormously pleasing that at SWCHS we have the quality of teachers and teaching which enables our most able sixth formers to be challenged and supported to achieve the highest possible levels of academic attainment. It also shows what is achievable by a state comprehensive school when it has a team of very talented teachers and the necessary resources to commit to the highly academic end of sixth form provision”.