HIGHFLYING youngsters took part in a new scheme designed to get state school pupils into top universities.

Pupils as young as 12 from Castle View School took part in the Cambridge University tutorial programme organised by education charity the Brilliant Club.

24 pupils from the school in Foksville Road, Canvey, worked with tutors and completed essays on topics including neuroscience and modernist literature.

Caroline Ebden, teacher at Castle View School, said: “It’s about creating the opportunities for students to get to these top universities.

“Twenty four students went to Kings College, London for the launch day and met their tutors and worked in groups of six.

“The tutors then came into school every week for six weeks and worked through some fairly highbrow stuff.

“The older students looked into genetically modified crops being the answer to solving world hunger and the younger students studied myths and legends and how stories are built.

“Over the summer that had to submit a 2,000-word essay that was graded a key stage above where they are now.”

12 pupils were invited to Emmanuel College at Cambridge University for a graduation ceremony to celebrate their achievements.

Mrs Ebden said: “It was a fantastic day and the students all really enjoyed the experience.

We are all really proud of our graduates, particularly those who achieved the highest possible grades in the programme.”

Castle View School’s able and ambitious programme encouraged children in years 7, 8, 9 and 10 to take part.

PhD tutors came into school weekly to work in small groups and pupils were also given a tour around Emmanuel College’s grounds.

Steph Hamilton, The Brilliant Club’s East of England Regional Director, said: “We are delighted to see Castle View School’s students at the University of Cambridge to congratulate them on their success on our Scholars Programme.

“They have done tremendously well, studying with a researcher over the course of six weeks and addressing challenging questions in their extended final assignments.

“As part of the programme, they have also been able to visit highly-selective universities, where they met undergraduates, toured the campus, heard from university representatives, and thought about their choices for the future.

“I hope they are proud of the work that they have produced, and that the experience of the Scholars Programme inspires them to consider applying for a highly-selective university.”