East End teenagers get the low-down on Cambridge University life

Pupils from Bishop Challoner and St Paul's Way on fact-finding weekend at Clare College, Cambridge

Pupils from Bishop Challoner and St Paul's Way on fact-finding weekend at Clare College, Cambridge - Credit: Cambridge Uni

A group of high-achieving teenagers from London’s deprived East End have been on a two-day ‘on the knowledge’ trip to Cambridge to learn about university life.

Some 20 students in Year 9 from Bishop Challoner in Stepney and St Paul’s Way in Bow Common went on the residential weekend with their parents to Clare College, whose alumni include Sir David Attenborough, three Nobel prize-winners and the poet Siegfried Sassoon.

Clare College had a special purpose for the outreach residential weekend—to let the pupils explore university life and discuss their futures with their parents. The programme included sessions on studying and how university differs from school.

“Cambridge was a university I was quite excited about,” 15-year-old Bishop Challoner pupil Leia Wasike-Ginn admitted. “But this event has made me more determined to get in and hopefully study natural sciences.”

They took part in a workshop to help choose the right subjects at school and plan their future, while the parents also discussed myths and realities about going to university and its financial implications.

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St Paul’s Way pupil Sakibur Rahman said: “Our stay was inspiring, which helped us with what we need to be thinking about in the next few years.”

Cambridge undergraduate Tasnia Begum joined the group to share her experiences of making the journey from Bethnal Green’s aptly-named Cambridge Heath Sixth Form to Cambridge University.

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