Plaistow school celebrating as five pupils secure scholarships worth combined £240k

The Cumberland School pupils Pijus Dragunas, Swatiya Montaha, Alexia Kieya, Maleehah Khan and Waez A

The Cumberland School pupils Pijus Dragunas, Swatiya Montaha, Alexia Kieya, Maleehah Khan and Waez Amin have all won scholarships to top fee-paying schools. Picture: Tom Barnes - Credit: Tom Barnes

Five pupils from a Plaistow school are set to study at top independent schools after winning scholarships worth a combined £240,000.

The Cumberland School has helped five talented teenagers trade its classrooms for the hallowed halls of some of the country's top fee-paying colleges.

Waez Amin has secured a £76,000 scholarship to study at Eton from September - following in the footsteps of former Cumberland pupil Maheraj Ahemed, who joined the prestigious school last year.

Waez, 15, said: "I have been very determined from a young age that I want to go into the field of medical scientific research so I can help people who are sick, like my mum.

"It was just a dream as a child, certainly it is for someone from my background but now, thanks to my school, I am going to Eton. I can maybe realise that dream."

Fellow Cumberland pupil Pijus Dragunas will be heading to Bancroft's School in Woodford Green for his A-levels - less than a decade after living in a friend's loft when he and his mum first moved to the UK from his native Lithuania.

The 16-year-old likened his scholarship to a game of snakes and ladders, adding: "I have just shot all the way up the ladder in one go. You could say I have come a long way from my mum's friend's loft."

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Swatiya Montaha and Alexia Kieya, both 15, have won £43,000 scholarships to study at King's College, Wimbledon.

Alexia described it as "a dream come true" while Swatiya said that she had worked hard for the "massive opportunity" the top school will give her.

Maleehah Khan, 16, will be going to University College School, Hampstead, on a £40,000 scholarship.

She said: "I was hopeful of getting in but did not think it would actually happen."

All five had to go through a gruelling selection process at their respective colleges, including entrance exams, interviews and public debates.

Cumberland's executive headteacher Simon Elliott said: "Last year I said Maheraj had set the bar for others to follow, I did not realise some students would take my comments quite so literally.

"These are truly inspirational stories of young people who have faced challenge in their lives rising above to create for themselves life changing opportunities."