Eight students from one school have been offered place to study at Oxford and Cambridge universities – but it’s not enough, says their head of sixth form Michael Bond.
He wants at least 10 pupils to be offered a place at Oxbridge each year.
The number has already risen from six in 2011 – a year before he took on his post.
And it’s not getting any easier to get into Oxbridge.
In 2012, 33,500 people applied for 7,000 places at the two universities. The figure is now thought to have risen to more like 36,000, but there are still only about 3,500 places one offer at each prestigious seat of learning.
Jennifer Mills, 18, has been offered a place to study English at Oxford University.
She had to complete a piece of written work, an entrance test and four interviews - and will still need As in her English, maths and Latin A-levels to take up the coveted place.
She said: “I felt quite anxious throughout the whole interview process, because this was something I had been working towards for so long and I could mess it up by saying one wrong sentence.
“The whole thing was really nerve-racking. In the interviews themselves, I tried to push that out of my mind, but it was quite scary.”
It was a doddle for boarding student Jason Lo, 18, compared to how things would have been if he had stayed in Hong Kong where each year about 80,000 people apply for fewer than 20,000 places to study at the city’s eight universities. He has been studying at Berkhamsted School since joining its lower sixth form.
He will need an A* and two As at A-level to secure his place studying engineering at Oxford - and two of them must be in maths and physics.
He is also studying further maths, additional further maths, chemistry and Chinese at A-level. He had to complete an entrance test and two interviews to get his university offer.
He said the UK educational system focuses more on learning a subject than learning to pass exams, as is the case in Hong Kong.
He said: “The education system as a whole is better in England.
“But the content of the subject is more difficult in Hong Kong, because of higher standards, particularly in maths and science subjects.
“They push students to get better and better - that’s the difference, and there is more pressure to succeed.”
> Do you know anybody who has been offered a place at Oxbridge? Please let us know – phone 07803 505589.