Teens win places at private schools such as Eton

L-R: Islam Ilyas, Josie Le, Zain Hafiz,  Raeesa Hussain, Charlotte Morton, Kazmeen ul-Hassan, Ilyan Benamor, Nabel Islam

L-R: Islam Ilyas, Josie Le, Zain Hafiz, Raeesa Hussain, Charlotte Morton, Kazmeen ul-Hassan, Ilyan Benamor, Nabel Islam - Credit: Mark Soanes

Eight teenagers from a school in Forest Gate have won scholarships to some of the most well-known private schools in the country, including Eton College.

The Forest Gate Community School pupils have won all expenses sixth form places worth more than half a million pounds.

The octet won their places through the Prestigious Colleges programme run by The Community Schools Trust, which oversees Forest Gate Community School.

Zain Hafiz will study A-levels in physics, economics and maths at City of London School after his father died last year.

The 16-year-old from Forest Gate said: “Even though dad was very sick at the end, any time I saw him and spoke to him about the scholarship programme he was really excited and came to life.

“I know he would be so proud of what I have achieved.”

Raeesa Hussain, 16, from Stratford, will study maths, biology, chemistry and psychology at Chigwell School. Her parents fled Afghanistan shortly after the Taliban seized power in the late 1990s.

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She said: “My mum is my biggest support because when she was school-age in her country girls were not allowed to go to school.

“Now I am going to this amazing fee-paying school which costs nearly £30,000 a year to go to and it all feels a bit surreal given where my family have come from."

The programme saw pupils assigned a mentor who supported them with applications, entrance exams and interview preparation, as well as paying all administration fees. The scholarships are funded by the private schools.

Ilyan Benamor, 15, from Stratford, is heading to Eton to study politics, English literature and French.

He said: “I want to return to my home country of Algeria to become a politician.”

Josie Le, 16,  from Tower Hamlets, will study English literature, psychology and maths at Chigwell School. Her mum is a nail technician. 

She said: “I have set my sights on going to either Oxford or Cambridge and obviously this is going to help me hugely to get there. I am really excited.”

Charlotte Morton, 16, from Stratford, will study biology, chemistry, geography and maths at Westminster School.

She said: “My mum is my hero and she worked in intensive care as a nurse during the pandemic. It has inspired me to want to get into the medical profession as a doctor.”

Other scholarship winners included Isam Ilyas, 15, from Stratford, who will study maths, further maths, physics and computer science at Wellington College, Berkshire and Nabel Islam, 15, from Forest Gate, who will study biology, chemistry, economics and psychology at Chigwell School.

Kazmeen ul-Hassan, 16, from Forest Gate, will attend Forest School to study economics, politics and history.