Alexander Walls webAlexander, 17, of Whickham, who does not come from a musical family but holds an Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music diploma in piano and grade eights in cello and music theory, has secured a place at Oriel College to read music.

He said: “The interviews went well but I thought it could go either way so securing a place is wonderful news. As well as music I am interested in the history of music, which is why I chose Oxford.”

Alexander, a student at Emmanuel College, in Gateshead, started learning the piano when he was six.

“My father thought it would be a good idea to have lessons. Soon after I started cello because there was a cello teacher at my primary school,” he said.

“I enjoyed playing so I practised, then I got interested in the theory and history of music. I think you need a genuine interest and be dedicated enough to practice, but I find it enjoyable.

“I’m still not sure about the future; I might try and join an orchestra or become an academic and go into teaching,” added Alexander, who has played in Gateshead Youth Orchestra and the North East Regional Symphony Orchestra.

He has joined Matthew Fairhurst, Lauren Johnson and Andrew Sundin in securing an Oxbridge place.

Lauren, who has an offer to read theology at Cambridge University, said: “It was a bit daunting so I was really surprised when the offer came through and delighted, of course. I am so excited about the thought of going to university and hope one day to work in education.”

Physicist Andrew, 18, of Gateshead, wants to go into research and knew that securing a post would be dependent on a degree from a top university, like Cambridge.

He explained: “I want to do theoretical or quantum research so the reputation of the university where you do your degree is really important.”

Head of school at Emmanuel College Matt Waterfield said: “We are delighted for all our students who have secured places on their chosen courses at some of the country’s best universities, including those who are staying in the North East.

“All their teachers are focused now on supporting them right up to and through their exams to ensure they achieve the grades they need.”

Lauren Johnson - web* Emmanuel College is holding a Sixth Form Information Evening on Wednesday, February 3 at 7.30pm. For more information, contact the college on 0191 460 2099.