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No fist bumps and 6am starts: How Brampton Manor Academy in deprived area outstripped posh Eton for Oxbridge offers

No fist-bumps and 6 am starts: How Brampton Manor Academy in deprived area outstripped posh Eton for Oxbridge offers

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NESTLED within one of the nation’s poorest areas, Brampton Manor Academy is a beacon of hope for state school pupils dreaming of attending the top universities.

Fifty-five teenagers from the school in East London have been offered Oxbridge places this autumn, while just 48 at £42,000-a-year Eton were chosen.

No fist bumps and 6am starts: How Brampton Manor Academy in deprived area outstripped posh Eton for Oxbridge offers
Sam Dobin

Students from Brampton Manor Academy’s sixth form celebrate being offered places at Oxford and Cambridge universities[/caption]

Oxford and Cambridge have faced accusations in recent years of shunning ethnically diverse talents.

But at Brampton Manor, two-thirds of pupils have English as a second language and 95 percent are from black, Asian, or minority ethnic backgrounds.

It was once a struggling school blighted by trouble, with one of the teachers poisoned by a student in 2006 and a year, later 13-year-old pupil Deividas Strizegauskas was kicked to death during a gang war with a neighboring school.

But in less than a decade, Brampton Manor has been transformed by disciplinarian headteacher Dr. Dayo Olukoshi, who demands the highest standards.

Fist bumps are banned, there are no calling teachers by their first names and pupils often come involuntarily at 6 a.m. and don’t leave until 12 hours later.

No fist bumps and 6am starts: How Brampton Manor Academy in deprived area outstripped posh Eton for Oxbridge offers
News Licensing

Eton Sixth Form – with Boris Johnson in the front row – got just 48 pupils into Oxbridge this year, in comparison to 99 fives years ago[/caption]

No fist bumps and 6am starts: How Brampton Manor Academy in deprived area outstripped posh Eton for Oxbridge offers
PA: Press Association

Prince William and his brother Harry both boarded at Eton College, which is 580 years old[/caption]

No loss of learning during the lockdown

Headlines have been dominated by stories about poor kids being denied their chance to attend Russell Group universities by Covid chaos.

But at Brampton Manor, the teachers believe their students have not suffered a reduced education during the lockdown.

No fist bumps and 6am starts: How Brampton Manor Academy in deprived area outstripped posh Eton for Oxbridge offers
Alamy

Newham in East London is the second poorest borough in the capital[/caption]

Sixth form head Sam Dobin told The Sun: “We don’t buy into this idea that there has been a huge amount of learning loss, because throughout the pandemic we continue to teach lessons online.

“Our students are receiving the same education as they would in school. I think we need to get away from the excuse culture of saying there has been learning loss.”

We need to get away from the excuse culture of saying there has been learning loss


Sixth Form head Sam Dobin

Brampton Manor is in Newham, London’s second poorest borough where 37 percent of the population live in poverty.

All of the students tell of a competitive atmosphere at the sixth form which only opened up in 2012.

No fist bumps and 6am starts: How Brampton Manor Academy in deprived area outstripped posh Eton for Oxbridge offers
Sam Dobin

Sixth Form headteacher Sam Dobin says Brampton Manor pupils have not suffered due to lockdown learning[/caption]

Fulfilling our potential

The ethos is that they have just as much chance of getting into the best universities as anyone else if they put the work in.

Sam adds: “We have normalized the idea of our students aiming for Oxbridge. It is a myth that those universities don’t want students from less well-off families.”

It is a myth that those universities don’t want students from less well-off families


Sam Dobin

But while the number of state school pupils getting into the best universities is increasing, public school ones are still disproportionately overrepresented.

Only seven percent of UK pupils attend fee-paying institutions, yet 30 percent of students at Oxbridge went to private schools.

No fist bumps and 6am starts: How Brampton Manor Academy in deprived area outstripped posh Eton for Oxbridge offers
Alamy

Private school students are still far more likely to get into Oxford University than state ones, but that is slowly changing[/caption]

One of the students bucking that trend is 18-year-old Harun Shekoni, from Redbridge in East London.

By studying from 6 am until 6 pm at Brampton Manor he has managed to be offered a place at Oxford taking Politics, Philosophy, and Economics.

I come in at 6am because I am an early riser


Student Harun Shekoni

Harun, who is predicted to achieve A* grades in four A-Levels, told The Sun: “The environment of studious students pushes you more.

“I come in at 6 am because I am an early riser, study my subjects, then complete my lessons for the day, perhaps do some debate or other extracurricular activities or extra study you need to do.”

No fist bumps and 6am starts: How Brampton Manor Academy in deprived area outstripped posh Eton for Oxbridge offers
Handout

Harun Shekoni goes to school for 12 hours a day at Brampton Manor, which is open from 6 am until 6 pm [/caption]

The only breadwinner at home is his mum, who works part-time as a health care assistant, but he doesn’t see why that should hold him back.

Harun explains: “At Brampton what they emphasized is fulfilling our potential.

“Even though I live in a single-parent household I didn’t believe that would hinder my progress.”

While Education Secretary Gavin Williamson decided to scrap exams this summer because pupils had lost so much learning time, Brampton Manor pupils will still be rigorously assessed as always.

No fist bumps and 6am starts: How Brampton Manor Academy in deprived area outstripped posh Eton for Oxbridge offers
Brampton Manor

Brampton Manor A-Level students still have plenty to work for because they will be taking mock exams[/caption]

Harun says: “We are going to do mock exams, which will emulate the real exam experience.

“I don’t really see it as not taking exams, so I am still focused on my studies. We are keeping our motivation up.”

‘I was scared at the interview’

Tasnia Tahsin, who was born in Bangladesh, has been offered a place at Cambridge studying Human, Social, and Political Sciences.

The 17-year-old from Waltham Forest was “scared” when she had her interview to see if she would go to the prestigious university.

No fist bumps and 6am starts: How Brampton Manor Academy in deprived area outstripped posh Eton for Oxbridge offers
PA: Press Association

Tasnia Tahsin has been offered the chance to study at Cambridge University[/caption]

Tasnia, who is predicted to achieve A* and two A grades, says: “I was very scared for that interview. It is intimidating, but our school did try to prepare us for the interviews.”

She thinks that she will be “pretty different from your typical Eton candidate” because she comes from a working-class background.

I’m pretty different from your typical Eton candidate


Student Tasnia Tahsin

Her mum is a care worker and her dad recently found an admin job.

Tasnia says Brampton Manor is different from other sixth forms.

No fist bumps and 6am starts: How Brampton Manor Academy in deprived area outstripped posh Eton for Oxbridge offers
Brampton Manor

Brampton Manor’s principal Dr. Dayo Olukoshi imposed strict rules, which helped turn the once failing school around[/caption]

She explains: “Compared to my friends at different colleges and sixth forms it seems so different here, for example, we have to wear school uniforms every day. I like it, it saves me time in the morning.”

And Tasnia doesn’t think remote learning has affected her studies.

She says: “I would argue that we are further ahead than we would have been before the pandemic. We haven’t missed out on content.”

Afrin Patel, 18, knows that she won’t be your typical engineering student at Cambridge, which has offered her a place.

No fist bumps and 6am starts: How Brampton Manor Academy in deprived area outstripped posh Eton for Oxbridge offers
Handout

Afrin Patel plans to study engineering at Cambridge so she can design innovative devices[/caption]

She says: “No one comes from a well-paid background at Brampton. I am Asian Indian and I am a female in engineering, so I am not someone you usually expect to apply for Cambridge.”

But Brampton Manor school told her she could achieve whatever she wanted to.

Afrin, whose dad is a postal worker and mum works at a school, says: “Brampton tells you from the get-go that if you work hard you will get what you deserve and that there are no limits to what you can achieve.

“They encourage you to apply for these types of schools.”

Afrin, who is predicted to receive three A* and an A at A-Level, adds: “I have always been interested in engineering and product design. The idea that you can make something from scratch that could help so many people.”