Cambridge college becomes the first to admit 90% of its students from state schools

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Sarah Cooper

A college in Cambridge has become the first at the city's university to admit over 90% of its students from state schools.

The Lucy Cavendish College also received the most diverse intake in the history of the university.

More than a quarter of incoming first-year students are also from less advantaged backgrounds.

Tasnia Khan, 19, and Luke Patterson, 20, are second year students, studying different subjects and both came from state schools.

"I did think that perhaps it would be a bit less diverse or a lot more "posh" and I think that's the perception everyone has of Cambridge" law undergraduate Tasnia told ITV News Anglia.

"I do come from a state school in London and so I thought it would be a massive cultural jump, but coming here I found people just like me and like people from state schools, people from diverse backgrounds, so it really like busted that myth that Cambridge isn't like that."

A sentiment echoed by Luke Patterson. "We all know the typical preconception - it's like Harry Potter, it's this hundreds of years old university, but actually, I applied directly to Lucy.. because I saw this place and I saw the potential.

"There's so many non-academic opportunities here in Cambridge and the college is fantastic at breaking down those barriers to give them to you."

The average of students from state schools across the university is 72% - but here at the Lucy Cavendish it's over 90% Credit: ITV News Anglia

Only 60% of Cambridge students were from state schools in 2017.

Two years ago, the Lucy Cavendish College launched an online outreach programme to rectify that.

Funded by sponsors and donors, it is designed to support high-achieving state school students from different backgrounds.

Prof Dame Madeleine Atkins, President, Lucy Cavendish College: "It's online and free and it starts just after their GCSEs and works with them all the way through the first year of their A-level's and then to the point where they're making an application through UCAS to university.

"It does two things. It helps them excel at their A Levels, so they get the grades that they are absolutely capable of getting and it helps them make a really competitive application to universities that are hard to get into."

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