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Oxbridge offers for eight Herts and Essex High School students

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Year 13 students at Herts and Essex High School have lived up to the school motto of "Sic itur ad astra" – reach for the stars – by securing offers on a diverse range of university and college courses.

A-level students at the Bishop's Stortford secondary are now working towards studying subjects including accounting, biological sciences, criminology, drama, English literature, fashion buying, geography, history – and all the way through the alphabet – after they leave this summer.

Eight of the cohort – five girls and three boys – have received offers from Cambridge and Oxford universities:

Jessica Casey has been offered a place at Cambridge to read maths while Kalani Bassi is set to study medicine at Oxford
Jessica Casey has been offered a place at Cambridge to read maths while Kalani Bassi is set to study medicine at Oxford
  • Kalani Bassi – medicine at St Catherine's College, Oxford
  • Roisin Canny – human, social and political science at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge
  • Jessica Casey – maths at Peterhouse College, Cambridge
  • Rory Conway – maths at Selwyn College, Cambridge
  • Nicole Davis – classics at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge
  • Leah Fogarty – biomedical sciences at University College, Oxford
  • Eleanor Mason – history at Christ's College, Cambridge
  • Will Parnell – maths at Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

A spokeswoman for the Warwick Road school said: "This year has presented new challenges for all those students applying to university and we are incredibly proud of how they have met these challenges with resilience and fortitude.

"Alongside completing normal schooling online, students have had to sit admissions tests remotely, submit written work as well as undertake the unfamiliarity of virtual interviews.

"Not surprisingly, it has been a very different experience from usual, but they have achieved their success and taken it all on board with maturity, good spirits and huge amounts of determination.

"The same can be said for all those who have been interviewed for courses in medicine, veterinary, dentistry, midwifery, mental health nursing, paramedic science, children’s nursing, physiotherapy, education, performing arts and stage management to name but some. Many of these students have already received offers, including veterinary and medicine at Bristol, acting at LMA and children’s nursing at Manchester.

"Year 13 students applying for other subjects and institutions have been equally successful. Whilst most courses do not require interviews or additional tests, students need to write a personal statement detailing their commitment to and interest in their chosen fields.

"We also have several of our students who are looking to apply for apprenticeship roles, thereby following this excellent alternative route into many careers. We have multiple opportunities for them to learn more about this fantastic way of securing qualifications whilst learning and earning 'on the job'."

Caroline Lewis, deputy headteacher: director of sixth form, said: “I couldn’t be prouder of these students, who have achieved so much in such an unusual year.

"The result is the combined effort of their hard work alongside the highly knowledgeable staff support they have received academically, as well as through the activities we run... which support those students making applications to competitive institutions or seeking a career in healthcare.

"We are delighted to have such a strong support network of speakers and mock interviewers, which helps to prepare and take the students through the application process.”

Herts and Essex alumni inspired Year 12 students during National Apprenticeship Week (Feb 8-14) and there will be more virtual alumni talks during National Careers Week in March.

The school spokeswoman added: "The application process is very different from university and offers are often secured later. We wish all our future apprentices – in engineering, business and IT – all the best with their applications."

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