Taverham High School is celebrating its best-ever set of offers for Year 13 students from universities, apprenticeships and training providers.
They include Nick Gabriel who has fought back from the devastation of losing his dad to secure a confirmed place at Oxford University to study geography.
Another two students, Ellen Flower and Jack Rolf-Gökeş, have been offered places to read maths at Oxford if they achieve good enough A-level grades in this summer’s exams.
Taverham High head teacher Carol Dallas said she was “incredibly proud and delighted.”
Mrs Dallas added: “Yet again we have high numbers of students entering the top universities in the country and they show a determination to achieve the highest possible academic standards.
“As a school community we have worked exceptionally hard to ensure that all of our students receive the extensive enrichment, preparation and guidance to realise their dreams and aspirations, this does not necessarily mean through the university route with some students have receiving exceptional offers on apprenticeships and training courses.”
Nick Gabriel (pictured, denim jacket) said he was very excited at the prospect of studying at Oxford’s Brasenose College from October. “After my father passed away, I felt as if whole world had disintegrated in front of my eyes,” he added.
“Thus my performance at GCSE was very average in comparison to the rest of my cohort. Nonetheless I am very grateful that this happened, since it motivated me to work harder during my A-level studies, and to prove to my teachers and family, and of course myself, that I am capable of success and exceeding expectations.”
He gained two A*s in geography and psychology and an A in music and, during a gap year, decided to try for Oxford.
Nick remembers heading for home after his two interviews: “I left feeling as if I had been pushed to think outside of my comfort zone, but equally motivated to be educated at the institution.”
Ellen Flower (pictured) had a fantastic week at the UNIQ Oxford Summer School for students from state schools hoping to study at Oxford University and, after winning the problem-solving competition, started to believe she might be in with a chance of a place at the university.
“As part of the admissions process, I had to sit the Oxford Mathematics Aptitude Test. It is fair to say that this test was the hardest thing that I’ve ever undertaken academically,” she said.
Ellen spent an intense four days of rigorous interviews at Oxford and “cried quite a lot!” when she was later offered a place at her first choice, Worcester College.
She added: “ I am so pleased that my hard work has paid off – just the A levels to go now!”
Jack Rolf-Gökeş (pictured) approached the Oxford admissions process with the goal of seeing how far he could get as he had nothing to lose.
“There were multiple points at which I thought I’d blown my chances,” he added.
“First, the admissions test was one of the hardest papers I’d ever seen, so immediately after sitting it I resigned myself to the notion that I would be getting my rejection in the post shortly.”
But he was invited for interviews and was ultimately successful in being offered a place.
Jack added: “I received a lot of support from teachers at the sixth form and at other schools, and I’m glad I have something to show for both my efforts and theirs.”