Three Ashton Sixth Form College students have successfully received offers to study at the prestigious Oxford and Cambridge universities from later this year.
Asha Ali, Jonathan Le and Olivia Harrison have received offers as part of the college's Ashton XL programme - aimed at ensuring high achieving students have access to unique opportunities and tailored support that enables them to achieve their goals.
Asha studies Biology, Chemistry, Maths and the EPQ at the Darnton Road college. The former Great Academy Ashton pupil has gained an offer from the University of Oxford to study Biochemistry.
Former Droylsden Academy pupil Jonathan - who is studying Biology, Chemistry, Maths and the EPQ at ASFC - has received an offer to study Biochemistry at the University of Oxford.
While Olivia (pictured) - a former Great Academy Ashton pupil - has an offer to study Maths at Cambridge University. She's studying Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry and the EPQ at Ashton.
Olivia said: "I’m elated about the offer, it’s what I’ve wanted for a long time and I never thought that I’d be able to achieve it with such a high level of competition."
She also managed to attend the Cambridge Shadowing Scheme before the current national lockdown came in to force.
“At the beginning of last year, I participated in the Cambridge Shadowing Scheme where I shadowed a Natural Sciences student," Olivia explained.
"I experienced lectures and daily life at the university, and beforehand I wasn’t sure if I wanted to study maths or science, until I realised the parts I enjoyed the most were about maths. I was able to get a feel for the city, the accommodation I stayed in and the people there. The whole experience was amazing, and this was definitely what made me want to apply to Cambridge."
The Cambridge Shadowing Scheme is an example of just one opportunity selected for XL students, allowing them the best possible prospect at gaining a place on competitive degree programmes.
Damian Windle, Ashton XL Manager, said he is extremely proud of all the students.
He commented: "This year has been the most challenging of circumstances for our Oxbridge applicants, with remote interviews, isolated home learning and many students having never even visited Oxford or Cambridge. Therefore, these offers are testament to the students' hard work and perseverance and the continued excellence of the outstanding teaching, learning and support available at Ashton Sixth Form College."
Throughout the pandemic, the XL programme has been hard at work to ensure that students continue to gain access to programmes, schemes and summer schools that further their learning and understanding. Many of these became ‘virtual’ alternatives and the college say the students have showed "tremendous dedication and ability".
The college - which was awarded an 'Outstanding' Ofsted rating in early 2020 - has a positive reputation for providing high quality education to young people across Tameside and surrounding areas.