How staff helped Plaistow pupils win £1m of top college scholarships

Students from the Cumberland School in Newham, London who have earned scholarships

Careers manager Maruf Deen (centre) and careers and aspirations lead Ricardo Green (far right) with pupils from The Cumberland School who have earned scholarships. - Credit: Nick Obank

Two staff members at a Plaistow school have been praised for helping pupils secure £1million of scholarships to top fee-paying schools.

The Cumberland School’s prestigious colleges programme helps pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds win fully-funded places at sixth form private schools.

It is run by careers and aspirations lead Ricardo Green and careers manager Maruf Deen, who supported 12 pupils to win places this year - up from seven last year.

The Cumberland School pupil Ella Wellingbrook, 15, from Canning Town

The Cumberland School pupil Ella Wellingbrook, 15, from Canning Town will be attending the prestigious Francis Holland School. - Credit: Tom Barnes

One of them is 15-year-old Ella Wellingbrook from Canning Town, who will be attending Chelsea school Francis Holland.

“Mr Green and Mr Deen are really rocks behind this programme. They keep it all going and keep us all motivated," Ella said.

“Some have had to deal with rejection, not getting accepted to a certain school, but they have always been there to pick us up. 

“There is a real sense that we are in this all together and everyone is cheering the rest on to do well and get into a great school."

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It is hoped the programme can help 20 pupils secure prestigious places next year. 

Mr Green said: “I am passionate about this programme because I also went to an independent school through a bursary scheme and I know the transformative impact that attending such schools can have on a young person.

“These pupils are inspiring the rest of the pupils within the school. They are changing the culture with regard to aspirations.”

Mr Green coordinates the programme, including selecting pupils, assigning mentors, and helping with entrance exams and personal statements.

He also has weekly meetings with all the pupils on the programme and liaises with the partner schools.

Mr Deen runs the career coaching and administration of the project, including identifying colleges and application deadlines, delivering careers advice and supporting with interviews and exam preparation. 

Mr Green added: “Our mantra as the careers and aspirations team is to develop in young people the skills and aspirations to go into the world and become successful.

“These young people are bright and I have no doubt will go far in life. Going to one of these colleges will just increase their chances of success.”