A teenager with a lifelong passion for ancient artefacts has been offered her dream place at Cambridge University.
Sixth former Laura Barber,17, is starting the new year with a spring in her step after receiving an offer to study Archaeology at Christ’s College.
Currently studying for her A levels in Classical Civilisation; Chemistry and Biology, at Durham School, Laura will need to achieve an A* and two As in order to take up the offer from one of the world’s leading seats of learning, later this year.
A former pupil at Castle View Academy in Sunderland, Laura joined Durham School - one of England’s oldest and most prestigious independent schools - in September 2018 on a Burkitt Scholarship, which makes a substantial contribution to the recipient’s school fees and will also offer a financial contribution to her studies at Cambridge.
The partnership between the two schools meant Laura could study the Classics – enabling her to apply for the degree course she’s had designs on for a long time.
She said: “I’m so happy I got the offer from Cambridge – I don’t think I believed I would get it! It was pretty stressful waiting to find out.
“I’ve known I wanted to study Archaeology for quite a while now and the course at Cambridge was definitely my first choice. I don’t think it has quite sunk in yet.”
Laura’s interest in and passion for history dates back to regular trips to National Trust and English Heritage properties and sites with her parents when she was a child.
She said: “It captured me from a very young age and then I began widening my interest into Ancient Greek and Egyptian history – and I started dragging my parents around museums!
“I think they’re pretty pleased about it now though… they were really excited and proud when we got the news.”
It was the option to study Classical Civilisation at Durham School, which particularly appealed to Laura when she was looking at her A level study plans.
She said: “That subject wasn’t available to me at Castle View, and Durham School was so close to home – it was certainly at the top of the list, so I was really pleased to be able to study here – and now to get an offer from Cambridge is amazing.”
The all-important letter came following two interviews and admission assessments in mid-December.
“It turns out Friday the 13th was pretty lucky for me!” said Laura, who lives in the Town End Farm area of Sunderland.
Although she achieved three grade As in her mock exams last year – and is predicted an A* in Classics, Laura isn’t taking anything for granted.
“There’s lots of hard work to come this year, and now I know what I have to achieve in order to take up the place.”
Durham School Headmaster, Kieran McLaughlin, said: “We are incredibly proud of Laura and are delighted she has been given the chance to realise her ambitions to study Archaeology at Cambridge.
“She has worked incredibly hard since joining Durham School and we have every confidence in her gaining the grades she needs. Laura is a real asset to the School and we’re thrilled for her.”
Durham School and Castle View Academy have built a close working relationship with the two schools supporting one another and opening up wider opportunities for pupils.
The partnership has seen 9 pupils from Castle View Academy join Durham School for their 6th form studies via the Burkitt Scholarship.
Laura, who has ambitions to become an archaeologist, is following in the footsteps of fellow Burkitt Scholar Elise Hunter who took up her place to study Law at Cambridge last term after achieving two A* and an A in her A-levels.