SIX students from County Durham have been accepted on to a prestigious course run by one of the UK’s leading universities.

The Year 12 students from St Bede’s Catholic Comprehensive School and Byron Sixth Form College in Peterlee, will join the Oxnet course, which is administered by Pembroke College, one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford.

There are only 25 places available for students in the North East of England.

Martin Old, St Bede’s Oxnet coordinator, said, “We are delighted that our students performed so well. This year was the most competitive in the ten-year history of Oxnet.

“Winning prizes and scholarships such as this can transform someone’s life and can instil the belief and confidence to strive for the very best.

“Peterlee and East Durham are often on the wrong end of harsh judgements but this success is an accolade which proves that the children in our area and in this school are as just as clever and just as talented as children in the leafy suburbs of Surrey and Windsor.

“Oxnet success is only the tip of the iceberg of excellence in this school.”

Felix Slade, of Pembroke College, Oxford, said: “Oxnet is an unashamedly academic year 12 education programme designed to help more students from state schools gain access to Oxford, Cambridge and Russell Group Universities i.e. institutions which are highly prestigious and for which there is intense competition for places.

“The course is in its tenth year and to be accepted, students had to write an essay demonstrating Originality of Thought and Intellectual Curiosity.”

The successful students from Peterlee are Erin White, Anya Gilfoyle, Hollie Akers, Isobel Marshall, Tom Hilton and Amy Wilkinson.

Isobel said:“Oxnet allows you to break barriers in your learning, giving you an advantage in education that goes beyond the curriculum.”

Amy said: “I think Oxnet is a brilliant opportunity for me to develop new skills and experience what university is like first hand. It’s great that the seminars will be led by some of those at the top of their field.”

Student Anya Gilfoyle said: “Oxnet allows you to develop sets of arguments and provide you with a set of skills that prepare you for university.”