‘It feels like a dream’: Plaistow pupil earns £63k boarding school bursary

The Cumberland School pupil Kira Maiberg with assistant headteacher Amy Brown. Picture: Tom Barnes

The Cumberland School pupil Kira Maiberg with assistant headteacher Amy Brown. Picture: Tom Barnes - Credit: Tom Barnes

A bright teenager whose school launched a crowdfunding bid after she narrowly missed out on a scholarship has been handed a £63,000 bursary to attend a Devon boarding school.

Kira Maiberg was disappointed not to receive a £22,000-a-year scholarship to Highgate School in north London, despite impressing tutors.

Staff at The Cumberland School were so keen for the youngster to study her A-levels at the independent school that, in February, they stepped in to help her raise the money to attend.

Five of her peers had succeeded in securing scholarships to other independent schools but Kira’s parents, both from Lithuania, are on a low income and were not able to afford the fees.

But four months later, the 16-year-old has received a separate offer from Mount Kelly, an independent boarding school just outside Dartmoor, after headteacher Guy Ayling read of her plight in the paper.

He said: “I first read about the five students winning scholarship places in the newspaper and was really impressed by the ambition and aspiration the school had for its students.

“When I later read about Kira, I felt it presented the perfect opportunity for us to offer our support and become involved with the programme.”

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After travelling to east London to meet Kira for an interview, the youngster was offered an all expenses paid boarding place to study her A-levels at the school from September.

Kira said: “I count myself to be an incredibly lucky person at this moment.

“Despite working really hard, I truly thought my chance had gone. Even when the school said they would fundraise to pay for my tuition I realised it was a long shot because it was a huge amount of money.

“The offer from Mount Kelly has come completely out of the blue. It honestly feels like a dream. I cannot thank them and my own school enough for what they have done.”

The Cumberland School headteacher Omar Deria added: “We are extremely grateful to Guy and Mount Kelly for their incredible generosity and support.

“Kira is an exceptional student who would flourish in any environment but will find the perfect home for her academic gifts in the picturesque surrounds of Mount Kelly.”