Plaistow teen who spoke little English four years ago wins a place at Cambridge University

PUBLISHED: 15:30 07 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:59 07 February 2018

Raluca Popan has won a place at Cambridge University. Picture credit: LAE.

Raluca Popan has won a place at Cambridge University. Picture credit: LAE.


A Romanian teenager from Plaistow who barely spoke English when she arrived in the UK just four years ago has won a place at Cambridge University.

Raluca Popan will read French and History at Homerton College in September after passing a rigorous entrance exam and impressing during a series of interviews.

The 18-year-old was offered extra tuition at The Cumberland School in Canning Town, which gained her the skills to go on and study for her A-Levels in History, French and English Literature at London Academy of Excellence (LAE) in Stratford.

She said: “I was shocked, more than shocked. People from my background don’t win places at Oxford or Cambridge, it just doesn’t happen.”

Gillian Dineen, Cumberland headteacher, added: “Raluca is not only an extremely gifted pupil she is also a shining example to others at this school of what can be achieved with the right motivation and support.”

Related articles

Latest Newham Stories


Essex Senior League: Saffron Walden Town 4 Clapton 0

Essex Senior League
34 minutes ago

A young filmmaker has shone a spotlight on an outreach scheme trying to tackle knife crime.

United Kingdom

Councillor Susan Masters, Clare Roche, Head of Fundraising at Richard House and Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz.


The power of sport remains unrivalled in its ability to inspire change, improve lives and unite communities.

Premier League
Yesterday, 18:11

London Lions maintained their lead at the top of the BBL Championship with victory on the road against Worcester Wolves.

Yesterday, 17:00

Imam Haque lives in East Ham, and soon he’ll begin training for his first London Marathon, for Age UK.

European Union
Yesterday, 16:56

Leyton Orient came from behind to beat Bromley and extend their unbeaten run in the National League to six matches, while also returning to the top of the table.

Dean Brill
Yesterday, 16:00

The inexperienced teenager tasked with overseeing West Ham United women’s team will have his journey followed in a new BBC Three series.

United Kingdom


Have you spent time as an unpaid carer? If you are over the age of 25 and living in Newham, the Working for Carers scheme can help you take the first steps back to employment.

Hanson Fernandes’ journey began in 2015 when he arrived in London from Goa, India.

Newsletter Sign Up

Newham Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now