London Academy of Excellence in Stratford is celebrating with 20 per cent of sixth formers who got their A-level results in the summer set to begin training as doctors at universities including Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London and Birmingham.
Alex Crossman, headteacher at the state sixth form, which prioritises applications from disadvantaged pupils, said it is the highest number of medical students produced from one year group. The school, based in a former office block next to the Olympic Park, has an explicit mission to improve the social mobility of disadvantaged students from east London.
Mr Crossman said “vanishingly small” numbers of LAE students have family or social connections that can help with work experience, which is where the school’s “pathways to medicine, dentistry and veterinary science programme” comes in. It is designed to help students with work experience, interview preparation, personal statements and inspiration.
In total 46 of the 227 year 13 students at LAE Stratford gained places at medical schools. Mr Crossman said: “I have never heard of a number that high anywhere else and it is higher than our previous record which was 32.”
He said the pandemic may have prompted a surge in interest in medicine, and added: “We happen to operate in a part of London where there are communities that regard medicine as a prestigious profession.”
Jas Kerr, 18 from South Woodford, starts her medical degree this week at Aston University in Birmingham after scoring three As in her A-levels. She is the first in her family to go into medicine. She wants to be a dermatologist or plastic surgeon, adding: “I looked at apprenticeships and other degrees but they just weren’t as interesting so it had to be medicine.”
Hammal Dinarzaee, 18, from Waltham Forest, will study medicine at Imperial College London. He said: “The school’s programme was very helpful. The whole process of applying is outlined to you.”