Canning Town teenager wins independent school scholarship

Teniola Akinola Picture: Tom Barnes

Teniola Akinola Picture: Tom Barnes - Credit: Tom Barnes

A teenager from Canning Town has won a £30, 000-a-year scholarship to a top independent school.

Teniola Akinola, 16, will study A-levels in history, physics and chemistry at City of London Freemen’s School, Surrey, in September.

She was awarded the scholarship having been recommended for a place by youth charity Eastside Young Leader Academy.

She follows in the footsteps of Iyanuoluwa Agbedejobi, 16, who left the Pretoria Road, Canning Town school last year to study on a £76,000 scholarship at Wellington College.

City of London Freemen’s School counts Clash singer Joe Strummer, BAFTA award-winning actor Andrew Garfield and artist Gavin Turk among its alumni.


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Teniola said: “It is going to be a big adjustment. East London is a very different place to Surrey. Yes, I want to fit in but I have to be true to myself, and that is what I will be.

“It is an amazing opportunity for me because I will get to meet and mix with different sorts of people.

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“I can’t thank Eastlea School and Eastside enough for the help they have given me.”

Teniola has set her sights on a place at a top university and after hopes to work as a human rights lawyer.

She added: “I have not accepted a place at the school just to be bottom of the heap. I am very competitive.

“When I get there, I want to be the best and prove I am there on merit.

“This opportunity is the kind of springboard I hope will be the first step towards the career I want.

“There is so much injustice in the world where people are not treated fairly. I think the place where you can make a difference is in human rights and the law.”

Eastlea’s headteacher Stephen Gillatt said: “We are very fortunate that we have such a strong relationship with the Eastside Young Leader Academy.

“Following on from last’s years success, we now have yet another pupil leaving us for a top independent school.

“The message this sends to our pupils is that if you have the right attitude at this school there is no limit to what you can achieve.”

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