Today I started
my thesis

Afreena aged 3

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Today I started my thesis

Reading, writing and mathematics feature alongside the traditional Early Years Curriculum in our Nursery. Interestingly, many of the preparations for early writing do not actually involve paper or pencils. Staff help girls develop gross and fine motor skills, using ribbons and our CleverTouch interactive boards for large circular movements and threading and pincering for small control. Recently, Nursery girls have been practising their fine motor skills by using screws to mend their spaceship!

Afreen is just one of our very youngest girls discovering the joy of seeing her words come to life on the page. But the best preparation for her future University thesis, is actually the hours we will pour into developing her self-confidence and passion for learning. From Nursery up, our specialist Drama teacher works with every girl, building the skills that see them speak aloud assuredly in a group.  Our current affairs assemblies throughout Junior School also ensure our girls have interesting things to talk about, developing an understanding of the world beyond their playground.

Today I wrote
my first line of code

Siyaa and Ria aged 5

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Today I wrote my first line of code

At Croydon High our Computer Science curriculum is taught from Nursery up. Designing a relevant curriculum for girls like Siyaa and Ria who will not hit the job market for another 15-20 years, requires foresight, imagination and a certain degree of courage. It also requires us to attempt to evaluate now how robotics and artificial intelligence will change future careers forever.

What makes Croydon High’s approach stand apart is the aspiration that we will produce ‘designers of’ not simply ‘users of’ technology and so sparking imagination and understanding early is key.

Skills are taught in an age appropriate and inclusive way, Computing Club in the Juniors is full to capacity at every session and the girls are realising that what they learn here helps them in so many other ways – through collaboration, creativity and problem solving our girls are developing the skills to excel in whatever environment they find themselves.

To build on this hunger for technology based education, we are introducing a new curriculum subject in the Senior School for September 2018 – Enterprise Technology. This programme will encompass and expand the existing computer science curriculum and provide new opportunities for all subject areas (including arts and humanities) to engage with technology.

It’s an exciting prospect.

Learn more about Enterprise Technology at Croydon High School here.

Today I discovered
a new talent

Alice aged 11

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Today I discovered a new talent

Alice’s Dad is delighted she has discovered the joys of cricket! He is not the only one.

When we asked the question “anyone for cricket?” we didn’t quite anticipate either the level of enthusiasm or the amount of burgeoning talent just waiting to be released in girls from Year 9 and under.

Because we are always looking for new ways to inspire and involve our girls in competitive sport, cricket was re-introduced at Croydon High in 2018. It’s been a steep learning curve but in true Croydon High style everyone has risen to the challenge with some outstanding successes.

Our Under 12 team won the Croydon Schools – amongst some pretty stiff competition – and our Under 14’s, competing in the GDST rally, narrowly missed qualifying for the Cup but went on to emphatically claim the Plate which, in our first year competing, was a fantastic achievement.

Under 12 and Under 14 teams also reached the fiercely contested ‘Smash it’ East Regional finals where… they smashed it! Both teams won in the finals to finish the season in style.

Best of all, girls like Alice have uncovered a new talent and who knows where that might lead?

Today I became a mentor

Aleena aged 9 and Fallon aged 6

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Today I became a mentor

From Reception up, all girls work their way through their own Maths Passport, where every mental maths skill they will need to grasp is broken down into small steps. Girls work at their own pace, practising for five minutes a day and ticking off the skills as they move around the world.

Aleena, in Year 4, has finished her entire passport; impressive when you consider that knowing all the square numbers up to 100 is just one of the final page of skills. She has now applied to be a Maths Mentor. Maths Mentors are girls who, having completed their own passport, mentor younger girls to help them up the ladder behind them. Fallon in Year 1 and Aleena are both benefitting from the programme which is also raising maths standards throughout the school.

For Annabella in Year 2, learning about the solar system really is an ‘out of this world’ experience.

Our innovative 4D room – an immersion space which can be programmed to deliver a learning experience in Space, in Tudor England, at the bottom of the ocean or indeed anywhere – means that our teachers can design truly bespoke learning experiences for the girls. They respond to what they see, hear and feel with incredible levels of understanding and creativity.

But it’s not just the teachers. 4D club (a group of 10 and 11 year olds) also plan and deliver lessons to younger pupils using the 4D room.

Imagination has no limits…

Today I captured
my own DNA

Seanna aged 10

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Today I captured my own DNA

At the GDST Junior Science Conference at the Royal Institute, Seanna learned that 50% of our DNA is the same as that of a banana and that only 0.1% of our DNA makes us unique. She and the rest of Year 5 spent an incredible day extracting her own DNA in the L’Oréal lab, creating necklaces to take home that held a piece of their own DNA inside. Seanna even created her own personal chromosomes matching her individual characteristics.

But we didn’t need the evidence to prove that Seanna and all her friends are totally unique – we see it in every girl, every day.

Today I went into orbit

Annabella aged 7

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Today I went into orbit

For Annabella in Year 2, learning about the solar system really is an ‘out of this world’ experience.

Our innovative 4D room – an immersion space which can be programmed to deliver a learning experience in Space, in Tudor England, at the bottom of the ocean or indeed anywhere – means that our teachers can design truly bespoke learning experiences for the girls. They respond to what they see, hear and feel with incredible levels of understanding and creativity.

But it’s not just the teachers. 4D club (a group of 10 and 11 year olds) also plan and deliver lessons to younger pupils using the 4D room.

Imagination has no limits…

Today I defended myself

Bethany aged 15

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Today I defended myself

An educators, we have an important responsibility to prepare young people for life beyond the classroom. This is something we prioritise at Croydon High with teachers offering extensive opportunities for girls to develop skills and attributes that will contribute positively to their future lives. During discussions with some of the older girls, it became evident that there was a real awareness of rising levels of crime – and particularly violence towards women – being reported in the news. It was agreed that they would all benefit from a session on personal safety to make them aware of simple steps and sensible precautions to reduce risk. By helping them feel informed and prepared, the aim was to build self-confidence and a sense of personal responsibility.

Today I protected
my future

Flora aged 8

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Today I protected my future

Flora is one of many girls who at an early age develop a social conscience far beyond their years. She is part of our Plastic Free School Team. Girls had to apply to become part of this team and they are both raising awareness of our impact on our environment and petitioning school departments to make changes to the way we operate. They recently organised a guest speaker for assembly and took part in a litter pick.

As well as a passion for the environment, Flora also has a commitment to help other children which she teams with plenty of ambition. She helped organise a networking event for children her age held in The Transport Museum in London where she delivered the opening address.

We believe her future is bright.

Today I performed
my first composition

Sophia aged 12

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Today I performed my first composition

Sophia is a Year 7 Music Scholar who discovered her passion for composing in music lessons in our Junior School.  She developed her considerable talent throughout her first year in the Senior School, with her first major composition ‘Life’ performed by a piano trio in our Chamber Music Festival.  Scored for two violins and piano, Sophia played the piano part herself in front of a large and appreciative audience. Winning a special award for composition following this performance, as well as the Year 7 Music Prize at this year’s Prizegiving will, we suspect, be only the beginning for Sophia.

Today I explained
the offside rule

Sereana aged 10

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Today I explained the offside rule

Like much of our co-curricular provision, our Junior School Football Club was provided in response to enthusiasm from the girls. What started as five girls with more enthusiasm than skill has now become one of our most popular clubs and has had to be split into two age groups. Our Under 11 team now also play in competitive fixtures. Sereana, seen here explaining some of the finer details of the game, also represents Crystal Palace, our local club.

Today I caught
my first wave

Rebecca, Isla and Hollyann aged 12

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Today I caught my first wave

Starting a new school is always daunting but at Croydon High, we have perfected the art of putting girls at ease and bringing out the best in them – from the very beginning. When Rebecca, Isla and Hollyann joined Year 7, they all felt a natural sense of anxiety, but it didn’t take long for them to feel that sense of belonging and shared purpose that is the hallmark of our school. Spending a week in Devon with the whole year group, right at the start of the new school year, was a major contributing factor to this. Skern Lodge is a Croydon High tradition; a week together taking part in a huge range of activities including surfing, climbing, abseiling and rafting, builds far more than just physical skills. By the time they return to school, they are riding high on a wave of new found friendships and growing confidence.

Today I met
my big sister

Kiara aged 15

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Today I met my big sister

When Amy started Year 7 this year she didn’t expect to meet her big sister. But that is what Kiara has become; someone to lend a listening ear and to pass on the benefit of her experiences – and perhaps even an occasional hug if Amy’s day wasn’t going so well.

At Croydon High we recognise that positive mentoring is a key factor contributing to a general sense of wellbeing. And who best to mentor our younger girls, than the older ones who can relate first hand to all they are experiencing?

At the end of Year 9, girls like Kiara can apply to be a ‘big sister’ and are interviewed by members of the sixth form and pastoral staff. Those who show the right attributes, are given training and support and then, at the beginning of Year 10, they are matched with a “little sister” starting Year 7. The girls meet up regularly and are always available to help with any small worries and concerns.

Some become good friends whilst for others, it’s just someone to wave to in the corridor.

Just like real sisters…

Jennifer and Leah, in Lower Sixth will be part of the world’s largest arts festival this summer, when they (along with the rest of the Ivy Players) perform “There’s A Leak!” by Ben Hales, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

It is Head of Drama, Emma Webb’s second Croydon High trip to the Fringe and as she explains, it is a wonderful opportunity for the girls to perform in front of a discerning live audience in an incredibly inspirational environment.

Our girls should be used to that; productions in school, recently including ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ and Oliver! attract capacity audiences and we are very proud of both the level of individual performance and the fact that so many girls are keen to get involved.

Dramatic and musical events like these enhance the life of the school, with teachers and girls working collaboratively to produce outstanding productions and create unforgettable memories. Look out for ‘Hairspray’ at Croydon High – February 2019!

On with the show…

Today I joined
Team GB

Amelia aged 12

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Today I joined Team GB

Sisters, Amelia (Year 8) and Francesca, together with Amber (both Year 6) have all been selected to represent Team GB in Biathle this year. Not only is the school immensely proud of the girls and their hard work, but we also admire the way these elite athletes inspire and encourage their peers and team mates.

Our annual Sports Presentation Evening is a joyous reflection of the many team and individual successes of the year.

These range from every single girl, from Year 3 to Year 7, taking part in a competitive inter-school netball fixture, to the national and regional representation from our girls in rugby, hockey, biathlon, table-tennis and swimming. These include Year 7’s Marion, who came back to school just weeks after major back surgery at the beginning of the year, was back training in the pool within months, swimming at Nationals and qualifying for the English National Championships.

Exciting futures lie ahead…

Today I encountered a monster

Eleanor aged 13

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Today I encountered a monster

Eleanor was one of the Year 8 pupils who took part in Frankenstein Day; a deep, enriching learning experience, completely outside of the normal classroom context. Teachers, from across the curriculum areas, helped girls discover the historical and cultural context behind the novel and its creation. Themes explored covered the explosion of scientific understanding which transformed Britain into an industrial nation, the emergence of medical science and its constant need of a supply of cadavers for dissection, the questioning of previously accepted ideas concerning the creation of life…

In the afternoon, girls worked collaboratively to produce their choice of artistic, literary, music or dramatic creative responses on the themes of My Monster, Mary’s Monster or Our Monster. The sensitivity, creativity and maturity of their responses was inspiring, as was their appetite for more of the same.

We may have created a monster ….

Today I went back in time

Angel aged 13

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Today I went back in time

One of the greatest joys of teaching is being able to share one’s passions for subjects outside of the established curriculum. Mr Pickering is one of our most respected Senior Teachers, specialising in Geography, but his first love has always been the popular music of the 1930’s and 40’s and particularly the Big Band sound of Messrs. Goodman, Miller, Ellington and Basie.

This inspired him to set up a new co-curricular club and now reeds, horns and rhythm combine in a heady mix of glamour and romance every Friday lunchtime in the Recital Room.

Today I made a breakthrough

Rosemary aged 14

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Today I made a breakthrough

Every girl, every day is the mantra at Croydon High, reminding us that a moment of inspiration- that lightbulb moment – can come at any time and sometimes these moments can be life-changing. For a teacher, seeing the look on a student’s face when they grasp an idea that has been elusive, is just one of the things that makes the profession so rewarding. At Croydon High, our staff consistently challenge themselves and the girls, to take on new ideas and extend their learning inside and outside the classroom. Whether it is our youngest girls forming their first letters, Year 9 girls like Rosemary, here, mastering trigonometry or our Sixth Formers finalising their University applications, every breakthrough is something to celebrate

Today I persuaded
them to think again

Nyla aged 14

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Today I persuaded them to think again

Debating is hugely popular at Croydon High. Whether it is inter-form, inter-house or inter-school, many girls like Nyla embrace the arts of presentation, negotiation and effective argument which serves them well in all their social interactions.

We want Croydon High pupils to leave school equipped with a real global awareness and a desire to make a difference. In order to do so, they need to be confident leaders, perceptive team players, keen negotiators, sensitive diplomats, expert researchers and inspiring public speakers. This is why we take debating and Model United Nations so seriously at Croydon High School. Watching pupils flourish into confident, passionate and caring young people is a delight to witness.
Each year, we participate in a range of competitions and conferences in a variety of schools and each autumn we open our doors to some 300 external pupils to host our very own CROYMUN. Here, pupils fulfil the roles of delegates, chairs, press-team and, last but not least, the Secretary General. It truly is a day to remember and is a fantastic opportunity for pupils to develop key skills, hone their networking skills and have fun.

Today I lit
up the stage

Kirsten aged 14

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Today I lit up the stage

Some like to tread the boards and stand in the spotlight; some like to stay backstage and create that spotlight. We believe that every one of our girls can contribute if we take the time to help them discover their individual talents and then to use them well.

For Kirsten and Izzie, it was an opportunity to learn about backstage lighting and sound that appealed more than memorising lines and auditioning. Having the chance to work with our highly experienced  technician, meant that they developed the skills to ensure that their classmates at the Leatherhead Drama Festival this year were kept firmly in the spotlight.

Today I reached out...

Joyce aged 14

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Today I reached out...

Something that is consistently remarked upon by those who get to know us, is the strong sense of community within our school. We are also very proud to be part of a wider local community and we take our responsibilities in this area very seriously.

We are committed to working with local organisations and schools; we are very willing to share our expertise and facilities where appropriate and we run a number of programmes that support this goal.

Confidence Club is a great example of this sort of initiative. An annual highlight of the summer term, it involves Year 5 girls from local schools joining us for an after-school club which is designed to bring out their inner confidence and expose them to ideas and ways of learning that they may not have encountered before. As with all things at Croydon High, it is girls like Joyce in Year 9, who make all the difference, giving up their time to support these projects and share some of the advantages that they could so easily take for granted.

Today I read a book
that changed my life

Abi aged 12

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Our ‘Read around the World’ project this year encouraged girls to explore a book from every continent. One suggestion was Adeline Yen Mah’s memoir Chinese Cinderella, which tells the moving story of a difficult childhood in the 1940s with a cruel stepmother and neglectful father.

In a passionate presentation, Abi in Year 8 was clearly moved by the courage and tenacity which Adeline showed, in heart-wrenching circumstances and in the midst of despair.

“This book has changed my life,” said Abi explaining how reading it had made her appreciate how fortunate she was, inspiring her to overcome any challenges she faces with a similar attitude to that of the author.

It’s also a book she admits she may never have picked up, without the encouragement of her teachers.

Life changing…

Today I challenged
the status quo

Megan aged 15

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Today I challenged the status quo

Megan is proud to be part of the Amnesty Club, a group renowned for being passionate campaigners for Human Rights issues, inspired to support charitable concerns and engaged in meaningful debate. Megan believes that injustice should always be challenged and the voiceless must have their stories heard.

Megan is an extremely talented actress who is already picking up ‘Best Actress’ nominations on the circuit. We believe her philanthropic experiences help her deliver credible and sensitive performances.

Watch this space…

Today I set a
school speed record

Lexi and Milly aged 12

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Today I set a school speed record

Thanks to our bespoke Enterprise Technology curriculum, exclusive to Croydon High, Year 7 relished working on an engineering challenge to design, build and race a rocket powered car.

In order to build the fastest car, the girls considered the effects of aerodynamics, mass, and force on their cars during Physics lessons. Then, in Enterprise Technology, they used Computer Aided Design (CAD) software to design their wheels; creating a project team website and learning how to program the BBC micro:bit computer and its sensors.( Each car carried an on-board micro:bit providing data about the car’s performance). In 3D Design, the girls shaped, painted and constructed their car bodies, including laser cutting the wheels. All the girls were awarded a nationally recognised CREST Discovery Science Award for their efforts. But the real excitement was on Race Day when each car was rolled to the start line, its rocket ignited and it sped off to be timed over a twenty metre course, with the fastest car on the day going on to represent the school in regional finals.

A perfect example of the collaboration between girls, teachers and subjects that produce such exhilarating learning experiences at Croydon High.

You can read more about our unique Enterprise Technology curriculum here

Today I stepped
in to the spotlight

Elizabeth aged 16

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Today I stepped in to the spotlight

Of course, one of the most rewarding parts of any teacher’s job is to witness the metamorphosis of child to adult or, in the case of Croydon High, little girl to young woman. Every path is different and the opportunities and challenges along the way are unique, but the feeling of watching an individual seize the moment and step forward in to her own spotlight never fails to thrill. For some the spotlight is literal, as in the case of Year 11’s Elizabeth who arguably stole the show in this year’s production of Hairspray; her powerful and polished portrayal of Velma Von Tussle had us all cheering in the aisles! For others, the spotlight comes in different guises but whenever the moment to shine presents itself, Croydon High girls are invariably ready to step up.

Today I won my
first England cap

Mya aged 17

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Today I won my first England cap

Mya started playing football outside school when she was in Year 4, often finding she was the only girl on the team. However, she believes this experience helped mould her into both the player and the person she is today. In her words, “… it taught me from an early age that challenges are put in place to be overcome.”

Mya was awarded her first England cap in February 2019. She plays for Tottenham’s Under 20 team (where she was voted Players’ Player 2018-19) and also the ISFA England Schools Under 18 team.

Women’s football is growing quickly in popularity, nationally and at Croydon High, and is now a very popular co-curricular club. Mya is an inspirational coach and mentor for the younger girls and her passion for the game as well as her undoubted skill, means that we believe she could go all the way to achieving her dream of playing professionally and one day, bringing the World Cup home!

Just as with every one of our girls, we will do all we can to support her in her quest.

Today I performed
at The Fringe

Jennifer and Leah aged 17

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Today I performed at The Fringe

Jennifer and Leah, in Lower Sixth will be part of the world’s largest arts festival this summer, when they (along with the rest of the Ivy Players) perform “There’s A Leak!” by Ben Hales, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

It is Head of Drama, Emma Webb’s second Croydon High trip to the Fringe and as she explains, it is a wonderful opportunity for the girls to perform in front of a discerning live audience in an incredibly inspirational environment.

Our girls should be used to that; productions in school, recently including ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ and Oliver! attract capacity audiences and we are very proud of both the level of individual performance and the fact that so many girls are keen to get involved.

Dramatic and musical events like these enhance the life of the school, with teachers and girls working collaboratively to produce outstanding productions and create unforgettable memories. Look out for ‘Hairspray’ at Croydon High – February 2019!

On with the show…

Today I reached
the summit

Siena aged 16

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Today I reached the summit

Metaphorically and literally, Siena has reached the summit this year. One of our Senior Prefect Team and an inspiring role model to younger girls, Siena has her sights firmly set on a career in Architecture. She is an Art Scholar, plays piano and flute to a high standard, sings in the Choir and still manages to keep her excellent academic progress right on track.

Siena also completed her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award this year, determinedly approaching all the challenges that make up this demanding programme, culminating in a grueling assessed expedition in the Peak District.

Today I
performed surgery

Vanessa aged 17

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Today I performed surgery

When it comes to work experience, Croydon High girls are encouraged to really get stuck in. Some take it more literally than others, immersing themselves in real-world work situations to better prepare themselves for life after school. In October 2018, Vanessa took on a two week work experience through Gap Medics, in one of the most deprived hospitals in the world in the Dominican Republic. Her most memorable moments included being part of the surgical team delivering twins by caesarean section. She also observed emergency surgery, after a thief was shot by police and needed to have bullets removed from his intestines. A passionate environmentalist, conservationist and vegan, ‘Ness took the experience in her stride, using it to fuel her ambition to one day qualify as a doctor and work in the developing world.

We think she could do anything.

Today I achieved
my dream

Jess aged 18

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Today I achieved my dream

Jess knew she didn’t want to go to university; her ambition was always to start building a career in the City starting with an apprenticeship, where she could gain an industry recognised qualification in the workplace.

So, Jess set her (very determined) mind to researching options with the support of our dedicated Head of Careers, Mrs Gower. She attended a number of Insight Events at blue chip companies and took advantage of numerous opportunities offered by the wider GDST network, all of which reinforced her conviction that this path was right for her.

Applying for apprenticeships from March onwards meant Jess was having to juggle her A-Level revision with attending interviews and highly competitive assessment programmes. Fortunately, time management is just one of the many skills Jess found she had developed during her time at Croydon High, particularly in her last year as a valued member of the Senior Prefect Team.  During her interviews, she was able to talk confidently about how school life has helped shape her. An enthusiastic and accomplished sportswoman, Jess is a real team player who can always be relied upon to meet a challenge and give of her best, on the field, on stage and in the classroom. We have no doubt these attributes will be equally appreciated in the Board Room!

Jess knew what she wanted and we are extremely proud to say she has achieved her goal. She begins her Apprenticeship at Rothschild & Co. in August 2019.

Today I secured my future

Alita – 2017 Leaver

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Today I secured my future

Alita is a typical example of a Croydon High girl who knows her own mind and aspirations. A true all-rounder; a Senior Prefect who regularly wowed audiences with her dramatic and vocal performances in school productions. She was also a proficient debater and a strong campaigner for Human Rights issues.

Despite being an obvious candidate for Oxbridge, Alita chose, instead, and was offered, a place on the highly regarded Liberal Arts degree at Exeter.

Her remarkable three A*grades and an A* for her EPQ in 2017 secured this offer.