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15 November 2021

The Monday Briefing: Forever Came Today

The Monday Briefing: Forever Came Today

An article which I recently read pointed out ‘The Growing gap between state school and public spending’, articulating that the deficit in spending between the two sectors more than doubled from under £3,100 to £6,800, or from 40% to nearly 100% in relative terms. Such issues are for the Department for Education to review and consider plans to close the gap, but, speaking for the College, we ensure that student focus is at the heart of everything we do, and that is reflected in how we spend the funds at our disposal.

Back in April, amongst the tumult of getting students back to school safely, regular LFT testing and the confusion around Teacher Assessed Grades, I read an article in the I newspaper entitled ‘Scholarships do ‘remarkably little’ to make private schools inclusive as most grants given to well-off pupils.’ At a time when the private sector had risen to the occasion by delivering an extremely high standard of online learning enabling students to make continued progress on their respective courses, as well as the aforementioned gap in spending, such negative press makes it sound like somewhat of a closed shop.

A previous article by the Vice Principal of this College, Laura Bellerby, points out that EIC is anything but. In a well formed piece, entitled ‘Will my child fit into a Private College’, she dispels several myths about the private sector, and the characteristics of students within it. It is, of course, a choice, but not only for the privileged. 

There are ways and means of gaining access to what we offer at Ealing.

One such way is through the Dr Ian Moores Scholarship Competition, the 2021 edition of which takes place on Thursday evening (18th November). Seeking to enhance the life chances of exceptional students who would not otherwise have the opportunity to experience a private education, the multidisciplinary group of tasks set form a formidable challenge, but one which gives a prospective student the chance to show their determination to succeed.

There are two prizes: One fully funded place for the student who scores highest, and one 50% funded place as second prize.

The College brought in the award in 2018, and the summer saw the departure of our inaugural winner, Namit. Namit was in year 11 at the time of his sitting the test for that year. I can still recall, having set the competition test, that in a ferociously difficult examination of the abilities sitting it, that he was able to score a tremendously strong 70% (88% of the other entrants could not reach 50%) and so be offered our top prize of a full scholarship.

Namit was hesitant to take the place up: the vast majority of his friends were staying on for A Levels at the school in which he had sat his GCSEs; he wasn’t sure about the transition to new teachers and the different surroundings of a more personal learning environment; he was implored by his Design and Technology teacher to continue his studies in the subject at a higher level. I remember attending a meeting to reassure him, with his parents, that coming to Ealing was the right decision to make. Thankfully, the meeting allayed any fears he had.

We were able to offer a number of things which helped inform his choice: providing a calm, supportive and personalised environment for him to develop further; allowing him the flexibility to sit Mathematics A Level intensively in one year and so opening the potential for sitting a fourth A Level in Year 13 (Further Mathematics); offering comprehensive support in his UCAS application, including guidance for an entrance test for Cambridge; providing interview practice for his final first choice - Imperial.

As it happened, Namit could not have made a better choice: he left us with four A* grades in Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Computer Science and Physics; he grew in confidence and enhanced his leadership skills; his attributes in independent study and self-reliance were fine-tuned; he found an environment where he could fulfil his huge potential. There is no doubt that he will be a success at imperial.

Of course, it helped him to have supportive parents, as well as supportive staff and a proactive attitude.

On the day in which he received his A Level results, his mother sent me the following email:

“I don’t have enough words to express my gratitude for you and your amazing staff. I would just like to add that you have all done a fantastic job with all these new challenges that have arisen in the past year. You have always given us support and guidance throughout the period when Namit was at College. Please convey my special thanks to Ms.Bellerby for her initiative and sincere efforts for Namit’s journey. The teachers are extremely helpful and highly experienced. They wanted him to succeed - and this was demonstrated every day.”

The scholarship competition provides, for us, the chance to unearth talent and enhance it - to open doors to the top universities in this country and internationally to those who would ordinarily feel such ambitions were out of their reach.

The only entry requirements are ambition, commitment and dedication to self-improvement.

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