Repton School Students Accepted to Prestigious Universities

Six pupils from Repton School recently received offers of places from two of the most prestigious institutions in the world – the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

Their success comes as no surprise to the Headmaster at Repton, Mark Semmence, who commented: “Our warmest congratulations go to these Reptonians. Competition for places at Oxford and Cambridge is more intense than ever and their achievement is down to sustained hard work, along with the support of their teachers. We are really delighted for them.”

Both universities are considered to be amongst the most competitive in the world – known for offering first-class teaching, access to ground-breaking research and also a strong alumni network to set the students up for post-graduation success.

Undergraduate admissions over the last decade have remained highly competitive as an increasing number of candidates from all over the world apply. An undergraduate study conducted by Oxford noted that in 2018 there were 21,515 applications, with the University only making 3,840 offers and only 3,309 students being admitted – a 17.8% admission rate. Cambridge, similarly, reported that their general admission rate was approximately 20% of applicants in 2018, with exact numbers varying depending on the areas of study.

The pupils that have received offers are:

  • William Whitten: to read Ancient History and Classical Archaeology at St Hilda’s, Oxford
  • Ollie Whittingham: to read Biochemistry at St Anne’s, Oxford
  • Charlie Furniss: to read Law at St Edmund’s Hall, Oxford
  • Callum Inman: to read Engineering at Keble, Oxford
  • Sarah Murphy: to read Veterinary Medicine at Girton, Cambridge
  • Jacob Davies: to read Linguistics at St John’s, Cambridge

Oxford and Cambridge are amongst the earliest universities to respond to applications but others in the year group have already received plenty of offers from their chosen institutions, including a high proportion from the Russell Group universities and prestigious institutions in the US.

The strong academic programme that Repton offers is what provided the path for these students’ success. In 2019 Repton reported that their academic results were significantly above the national average and with positive value-added scores

*- 11.8% of A Level grades were A* and 34% A*/A, with 80% A*-C.  In 2018 Reptonians achieved 15.9% at A*/A and 92.3% A*-C. 45.3% A*.  At GCSE over a quarter of the grades achieved in 2019 were at the very highest level of A*/9 and 43% of all grades were A*/9/8 and over 84% were A*/A/9/8/7/6.

(* Pupils take nationally-accredited baseline tests on their entry to school and the resulting data is then processed by an external body (CEM).  This produces a prediction of likely achievement in public examinations, against which actual performance can be compared and measured against the cohort nationally and in independent schools.)

This achievement is thanks to the School’s emphasis on identifying and supporting individuals’ potential and development. Their staff say: “Academic work is at the heart of what we do at Repton School. Our aim is to allow each pupil to develop his or her potential to the maximum. This means setting the highest academic expectations for each Reptonian, and then developing the systems to monitor and support each pupil’s individual progress. We believe that this allows pupils to achieve more than they could have imagined.”

But in addition to the work that goes on in classrooms and study areas, students at Repton are also encouraged to develop both skillsets and mindsets that distinguish them from the competition, and they receive plenty of guidance and support to ensure that they can make well-informed decisions about their academic and professional futures.

Pupils in the Lower Sixth level follow the ‘Future Learning, Future Skills’ (FLFS) programme – compulsory part of the curriculum sitting alongside their A-Level specialisms. The course is spread over the course of the academic year and students are taught in three specific areas:

  1. Public Speaking: This course assists pupils in developing the skills necessary for effective oral communication and public presentation, focusing on aspects such as speech delivery and use of vocabulary, audibility and diction, the use of visual aids, and how to engage with an audience.  They then have the opportunity to take the LAMDA Level 2 qualification in Public Speaking.
  2. Economics and Personal Finance: This course develops students’ awareness of economic issues and gives them a framework to think about the challenges of personal finance.  They tackle practical questions such as: ‘Banks: what do they do and why does it matter?’; ‘How do I get a job?’; and ‘Life: how much does it cost?’
  3. The Wider World: Science, Politics, and Geopolitics: This course reviews aspects of the United Kingdom’s politics, geopolitics, medical science, the environment, and AI.

All pupils within the Sixth Form follow an extensive programme of Higher Education guidance.  A series of talks help students determine the best path for their future, with varied topics including choice of courses and university, student finance, graduate employability, international applications, applications for medicine, dentistry or veterinary science, and entry to Oxbridge. To guide them through the application process, pupils work with their personal tutor, who introduces them to a range of research resources and supports them through their application and decision-making process.  This ensures that pupils make a well-thought-out and informed choice for Higher Education, one which will have a successful outcome and which then allows them to meet their full potential as undergraduates and beyond.


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