Four talented students from Ormiston Ilkeston Enterprise Academy have won places on a prestigious summer school at Oxford University.
The summer school usually takes two students from each school but the selection panel was so impressed by the OIEA applications that they selected four students.
Harmonie Penkal, Abigail Woods, Malachi Rigley and Dylan Wildgust, all 15, will stay in the university’s halls of residence for a week during August and experience workshops and social activities.
They will have the opportunity to take part in academic sessions, debating, punting, critical thinking, quizzes, college tours and croquet.
Harmonie said she was looking forward to attending the summer school.
She said: “I can’t wait to go, I enjoy being outside my comfort zone and I think this will be a really great opportunity.”
Dylan said: “I definitely want to go to university after college and this will give me the chance to see what university life is like.”
Fellow student Charlotte Turner attended the Oxford University summer school last year and has just taken part in an Easter programme at the university.
The 16-year-old chose to attend sessions about History, Classics and Biology. She also attended workshops about dealing with exam stress and revision techniques.
She said: “The programme at Easter was a lot more fast paced than the summer school. It was also great to see all the friends that I’ve made when I’ve been before. The summer school is amazing. They want people from all backgrounds to attend and it brings you together with other people who think like you and it really opens your eyes to the opportunities that are out there.”
Nina McNelis, teacher at OIEA who has been supporting the students, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our students to experience what student life is like at this prestigious university. It will broaden their minds about the opportunities further afield and give them insight into university life. I am so proud of all of them for gaining a place on this summer school.”
OIEA Principal Nia Salt said: “We keep looking for opportunities to excel and experience new adventures here at OIEA. Oxford is not a ‘dream’ for others to work to that we cannot reach. With hard work and outstanding attitudes to learning, these students are showing they are as good, if not better, than anyone else.”
The summer school is run by a charity called Universify which is committed to educational equality. Its vision is for all students to reach their potential in education by helping students from non-traditional backgrounds to feel empowered and excited about fulfilling their potential at top universities.


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