Coleg y Cymoedd have recently hosted a meeting of the Rhondda Cynon Taff More Able and Talented Committee, with special guest Paul Murphy, MP for Torfaen, former Secretary of State for Wales, and current Oxbridge Ambassador for the Welsh Government.
Mr Murphy met with some of the colleges More Able and Talented A-Level learners studying in the dedicated Sixth Form Centre at the State-of-the art Nantgarw campus, who are hoping to apply for Oxbridge next year. One of the lucky students was Shannon Britton, current A-Level student who recently became the first student from the College to be given a conditional offer to read English Literature at Oxford.
The Torfaen MP was appointed to the position of Oxbridge Ambassador by former Education Minister Leighton Andrews in March 2013. He has spent the last year visiting schools and colleges across Wales looking at the reasons behind the proportionally low numbers of Welsh students applying to and gaining places at the two universities, and at what can be done to reverse this trend.
Representatives from a number of RCT schools and colleges met with Mr Murphy and Dr Jonathan Padley, Schools Liaison Officer for Churchill College, Cambridge, to review progress and to discuss future strategy.
Head of A-Levels at the Coleg y Cymoedd Sixth Form Centre Ian Rees said: "The RCT More Able and Talented programme has been of significant benefit to our most able students in our first ever cohort of A-Level students, with three students being given interviews at Oxford/Cambridge University, and one being given a conditional offer of a place. We also have a very promising group of AS students coming through, who we will hope will be even more successful. Paul Murphy's visit will hopefully give fresh impetus to the drive to raise learner aspiration in Coleg y Cymoedd, helping students to aim high and have the self-belief to go for it!"
Paul Murphy said: “It was great to visit Coleg y Cymoedd and hear about the work of the Rhondda Cynon Taff More Able and Talented Committee. They are doing some excellent work to support their more able students and have achieved a great deal in only a few years. I hope that schemes like theirs can be replicated in other parts of Wales, ensuring that our students have the confidence and support to aim for the very top.”