Five Blackpool Sixth students have recently received the amazing news that they have been offered places at two of the world’s top universities.

Four students have secured offers of places from Oxford University: Kris Darby to read classical archaeology and ancient history, Jamie Howarth to read classics, Lucy-Mae Cheatle to read medicine and Erin Kennedy to read French and Russian. Cambridge University has offered Jenny Kelly a place to read history.

Oxbridge Offer students 2024

All the students said that they were delighted and very surprised by the news. Lucy-Mae, a former Aspire Academy student commented, “Personally, finding out I had the offer to study medicine at Oxford felt like everything in my life was coming together, and everything I had worked so hard for finally felt in reach.  The first thing that I did was ring my mum. She was ecstatic. My mum had been my biggest supporter throughout this whole process and being able to share that moment with her was really special.”

Jenny, a former Lytham St Anne’s High School student, said that the offer from Cambridge is something she has been working towards for several years. She said, “I've had ambitions to study at Cambridge for a long time and so when it came to it I just thought that I might as well apply and see what happened because even if I didn't get an offer it would still have been a valuable experience to go through the application process. I definitely wasn't expecting an offer at all.”

For Kris, who previously attended St. Bede’s Catholic High School, it was the encouragement of the college’s teaching staff which was decisive in putting in the Oxford application, “When I got to college and was taught by Pete for Ancient History, he really pushed me towards seeing what potential I had and how 'awesome' Oxford actually was.”

Achieving an offer of a place at either Cambridge or Oxford means successfully passing through a very demanding selection process, involving exacting interviews and, in many cases, additional entrance exams. The students are very appreciative of the very extensive support they have received.

Erin, a former St Aidan’s Church of England High School student, said that when she started her A levels she was not really sure if she wanted to apply to Oxford. However, with the encouragement of her teachers, she joined the college’s preparation programme for potential Oxbridge applicants.

She commented, “College placed me in a weekly support group to encourage me to practise public speaking and dive more deeply into my subject area. I have definitely progressed in my confidence speaking in front of a group since starting this group within college and I believe this helped me convey my ideas more confidently, or at least, more fluently in interviews and meant I was able to have a better back and forth discussion.”

All five students are now getting ready for their A level exams inspired by the prospect of progressing to their chosen universities. Erin added, “ I can't wait to begin learning Russian and continue pursuing French, particularly in exploring newer areas that literature may lead me to such as anthropology. Of course, the year abroad is a very exciting prospect but the whole course seems amazing.”

The students are part of the Excellence Programme at Blackpool Sixth which provides an extremely extensive range of subject-based and extra-curricular activities and support for academic high-fliers. The programme includes specific help with the application and selection processes for the most prestigious universities such as Oxbridge, other Russell Group universities and medical schools. 

Excellence Programme coordinator, Peter Wright, commented, “We are immensely proud of the students in gaining these incredibly competitive offers - they all worked tremendously hard in preparing for various admission tests and interviews. The Excellence Programme at Blackpool Sixth has a proven track record in providing a platform for students in making strong applications to world-class institutions, such as Oxford and Cambridge.”