On the stairway to academic success

Hartlepool Sixth Form students(left to right) Menfan Xia.  Jiayang Chen, Helen Lamb, Bethany Dunning and Sophie Chapman.
Hartlepool Sixth Form students(left to right) Menfan Xia. Jiayang Chen, Helen Lamb, Bethany Dunning and Sophie Chapman.

GIRL power is leading the way at a Hartlepool college after five students secured interviews for either Oxford or Cambridge University.

Hartlepool Sixth Form College students Helen Lamb, Xia Menfan, Sophie Chapman, Chen Jiayang and Beth Dunning have all been through the interview process and will hear if they have been successful early in the New Year.

Bosses at the Blakelock Road college say they are delighted with the “fab five” and say it maintains the college’s tradition of preparing students for top universities.

Helen Lamb, 18, used to attend High Tunstall College of Science and is now studying English literature, government and politics, religion and history.

Helen, who is hoping to study history and politics at Trinity College, Oxford, said: “It has been a great experience just to get an interview.

“It reflects well on the college as well but it is very competitive.”

Xia Menfan, known as Shirley to her classmates, is from Xi’an in China and is currently studying maths, further maths, chemistry and physics.

The 19-year-old, who is hoping to study maths at Balliol College at Oxford University, said: “It has been an interesting experience and we had to do a series of maths problems as well an interview.”

Sophie Chapman, 17, a former High Tunstall pupil, hopes to study natural sciences at Downing College, at Cambridge.

The bright teenager currently studies maths, chemistry, biology, further maths and physics and is hoping to go into business management.

Sophie added: “It was hard to say the least but it will hopefully be worth it in the end.”

Chen Jiayang, who is known as Amanda, comes from Hangzhou in China and is looking to study maths at Emmanuel College at Cambridge University.

The 18-year-old, who studies maths, further maths, chemistry and physics, hopes it went well and has always wanted to study at a top university in England.

Meanwhile, Beth Dunning, 18, wants to study social and political sciences at St John’s College, at Cambridge and had three interviews and two tests.

Beth, studying English literature, government and politics, maths and history, said: “I really liked Cambridge and it is an amazing place.”

The students from China have chosen to study A levels at Hartlepool Sixth Form College as part of their preparations for entry to a top British university and are staying with local families.

Delighted College principal, Rick Wells said: “Our reputation for academic excellence now brings dozens of highly-academic students from China to study with us each year, adding to our rich vein of highly talented youngsters. 

“It would be easy to become complacent with such outstanding success, but each year our staff and students work hard to maintain these standards and the fact that five of our students have gained interviews at Oxbridge this year, in the most competitive entry there is, speaks volumes for the quality of these students and the reputation of HSFC.”

Preparations for both the application and interview stage included visits to both universities and a series of individual seminars held in College with Dr Mike Kerr, former vice principal of the College.

n SUPER students land awards - see pages 10/11