Private education worth hundreds of thousands of pounds has been offered to Newham youngsters free of charge, thanks to Royal Docks Academy.
The school has close links with a number of private schools around the country and each year helps its elite students to successfully apply for sixth form scholarships.
One place each year is reserved at Felsted School, in Essex, for a Royal Docks student, but many others are secured each year due to the school’s close links and experience with applications.
Justin Hopgood, assistant headteacher, said while students have to be academically brilliant to secure a scholarship, it is about more than grades.
He said: “I am always on the look-out for well-rounded students. Private schools are full of children with straight As, so they need to not only have exemplary academic records, but also have a little something about them. It’s about more than just top grades.”
In the last three years, private education to the value of £822,464 has been given to students from Royal Docks at schools including Felsted, Warminster, Christ’s Hospital, Ashford, Luckley House and Colfe’s. While Colfe’s is a day school, the others require students to move away from Newham and board.
In September, Year 11 students Georgie Bristow will head to Felsted School near Chelmsford, while Mahim Chaudery and Milot Dvorani will begin studying at Colfe’s School in London.
Last year’s head girl at Royal Docks, Agne Pasvanskaite, is in her first year at Felsted where she is studying history, English literature and psychology.
She said: “I had some initial reservations about applying to Felsted as it meant moving away from home, but now I’m here I do feel so fortunate to have been given this life-changing opportunity.
“The education I received at Royal Docks was incredible and set me up perfectly for life here. At Felsted, class sizes are very small and I have already been able to network with people who work in the fields I want to pursue a career in, broadly speaking I want to work in the financial sector.”
The Felsted links with this part of east London began 100 years ago when ex Felstedians were so taken aback by the poverty people were living in that they provided regular food parcels to deprived families in the area.
Each of the scholars from Royal Docks who have now completed their private education have gone on to a Russell Group university.
Mr Hopgood said: “For most of our children, this would not have been an option; they would have seen it as beyond them because of the cost involved. It is a big ask of the parents as they have to say goodbye to their child at the age of 16, but it opens young people’s eyes to a different world. We see them grow a couple of inches when they settle in; they carry themselves differently and they glow.
“This is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. It is giving deserving young people a chance to do something that is beyond their wildest dreams.