Stoke Gifford’s Abbeywood Community School is celebrating the first-ever offer of an Oxbridge place to one of its Post-16 students. The news represents another important milestone in the school’s improvement journey, which began three years ago when Abbeywood became part of the Olympus Academy Trust following a disappointing Ofsted inspection in December 2011.
Ethan Martin joined the school (then known as Filton High) as a Year 7 student in 2009 and experienced the move into new premises a year later when successor school Abbeywood opened its doors on an adjacent site in September 2010.
Currently studying for A-levels in Maths, Computer Science, Physics and Further Maths, Ethan was encouraged by his teachers to apply for a place at Oxford or Cambridge on the basis of his excellent AS-level results (AAABB) and predicted A-level grades.
Having made an ‘open’ application to Oxford, meaning that he didn’t apply to a specific college, he says he was surprised but delighted to be called to attend a total of six interviews at three different colleges over the space of three days last November. Admitting to being very nervous for his first interview, Ethan says he performed well in the remaining ones and came away feeling “happy, but not overly confident”.
He was delighted to receive the news, on 6th January, that he has been offered a place to read Mathematics and Computer Science at St Catherine’s College, subject to achieving one A* and two A grades in his forthcoming A-level examinations. Ethan says he realises he will need to work hard in the coming months, but feels the target grades he has been set are “achievable”.
Explaining his choice of university course, Ethan says he has always been interested in maths and developed his interest in computing whilst at Abbeywood. Having learnt to code in the ‘Scratch’ visual programming language, he found himself “doing much more than asked”, leading him to consider programming as a future career.
Looking back on his time at Abbeywood, Ethan says he is fortunate that the school had begun to show improvement by the time he did his GCSEs. He appreciates the modern facilities, particularly the provision of a dedicated computer room.
He also has praise for the staff at the school, who he says “definitely try to help you do as well as you can” and are happy to provide extra support outside of lesson times, including guidance in the preparation of the all-important ‘personal statement’ required for university applications.
Abbeywood was rated ‘good’ in all areas by Ofsted when inspectors last visited the school in October 2014.
This article originally appeared in the February 2016 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.