• Friday, December 09, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

Mossbourne Federation helps many pupils to secure places in medicine courses

By: Pramod Thomas

THE Mossbourne Federation in Hackney has helped as many pupils on to medicine courses as some leading private schools in London, reported The Times.

Seven out of the ten teenagers that applied at the Federation have won places.

According to the report, it matches the performance of independent schools including Charterhouse where six leavers started medical degrees last year. St Paul’s School had seven successful applicants and this year Roedean had five.

Mossbourne spends about £1,000 per head on pupils from poorer backgrounds selected for a bespoke medicine programme and gives intensive support to encourage pupils to apply for the course, The Times report said.

The 18-month intervention package exposes pupils to simulated medical scenarios and also works on their personal statements, entrance exams and interview techniques, using some of the same experts as Eton College.

“Our students are up against a system that has historically recruited from a select minority of schools, many of them private, and that has put off excellent science students in the past,” the Federation said.

Salma Abdullahi, who gained her place at Barts Medical School at the Queen Mary University of London, chose medicine as a career path after caring for a sibling through her illness and watching her progress through NHS treatment.

Another successful candidate Khateja Begum was inspired to pursue medicine after her own experience of having an operation in 2016 and seeing how the various professions worked with her and the other patients.

Sonia Cherid said that work experience with a surgeon and anaesthetist at Imperial College Healthcare just before lockdown inspired her. She has a place at Anglia Ruskin University medical school.

Hackney is disproportionately disadvantaged compared with the rest of England. Last year 36.6 per cent of pupils in the borough claimed free school meals. In England 20.8 per cent of pupils were entitled to the support, the newspaper report said.

The Harris Federation, which has schools in many deprived parts of London, has 39 pupils leaving to study medicine this year.

This includes 23 from the highly selective Harris Westminster Sixth Form.

A spokesman told The Times: “Some of our medicine cohort have overcome huge obstacles in their personal lives in order to succeed in their A-levels, including chronic health conditions of their own, caring responsibilities and economic deprivation and homelessness.”

According to The Times report, competition for medicine was already tough but applications increased this year by 21 per cent to 28,690. There are more than three times as many candidates for medicine as places initially available this autumn and hundreds of school-leavers have deferred, it added.

Though the government said that the cap on medical seats would be lifted to accommodate extra students, it is not yet known by how much.

Eastern Eye

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