Oxbridge fair comes to East London to get kids to try for top universities

The first-ever ‘Oxbridge’ fair for school-leavers arrived in London’s East End to encourage more youngsters to try for the country’s top universities.

It follows last week’s launch of Tower Hamlets council’s Higher Education Award scheme for grants to cover costs of staying at university.

More than 100 Year-12 pupils from Tower Hamlets schools went to the Oxbridge fair—the first of a series of annual events planned—which was held on Tuesday evening at St Paul’s Way Secondary in Bow Common.

They were the pupils considered to be potential candidates for Oxford, Cambridge or the Russell Group of top universities.

Two got to Oxbridge last year, while 115 made it to other top universities including 69 enrolling at London University’s Queen Mary campuses at Mile End and Whitechapel.

Currently eight-out-of-10 Tower Hamlets school-leavers who go on to higher education stay in London.

But the council wants them to consider further afield like Oxbridge or the Russell Group that represents 24 leading universities such as Durham, Exeter, Cardiff, Southampton and York.

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“We want to encourage young people to look at the top universities as a realistic prospect,” said Mayor Lutfur Rahman. “Nothing should hold them back from striving for the best.”

The youngsters and their parents heard talks at Tuesday’s fair from university staff about what their institutions offer and what they are looking for.

Students starting higher education from September are being offered help with living costs through the Higher Education Award scheme where up to 400 can apply between now and October.