Oldham’s brightest students have completed a year-long scheme aimed at "stretching and challenging" some of the town’s youngest minds.

Oldham Sixth Form College launched the Varsity Academy one year ago, with the initiative including extra support from academics at Oxford University.

A total of 200 bright students, with 20 from 10 of the borough’s schools, took part in the initiative.

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Pupils from Failsworth Academy, Hathershaw College, Blessed John Henry Newman College, Leesbrook Academy, Oasis Academy, The Radclyffe School, Oldham Academy North, Royton & Crompton Academy, Waterhead Academy, and Saddleworth School all took part.

Oldham Sixth Form College held two celebration evening events to celebrate the completion of the Varsity Academy programme earlier this month, with the second year of the programme launching this week.

The Oldham Times: Suzannah Reeves, Associate Principal, OSFC, handing out awardsSuzannah Reeves, Associate Principal, OSFC, handing out awards (Image: Pinnacle Learning Trust)

Over the last year, the students visited Oldham Sixth Form College four times to attend sessions in Science, Maths, English and Humanities.

Alongside the in-person sessions, the students also had the opportunity to enter competitions.

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On the celebration evenings, the students attended an applicant interview before celebrating with a graduation ceremony and certificates.

The students were also photographed with their friends and family to mark their achievements.

Saddleworth School English teacher Sarah Deardan said: “The Varsity Academy has provided our pupils with an invaluable opportunity to work collaboratively with all other Oldham schools.

“In each session students have been challenged to think beyond their current understanding in core subjects, developing them academically.

“The course has also helped students focus more acutely on their next steps and begin to formulate ambitious plans for the future. I can only thank OSFC for coordinating such a wonderful course for our pupils.”

Oldham Sixth Form College assistant principal and Varsity Academy coordinator Richard Lee said he was proud of the success of the programme.

He added: “Our college mission is to transform students’ lives through academic excellence and outstanding support and the Varsity Academy epitomizes our philosophy.

“Students aspiring to the most competitive universities and courses need to start thinking about, and working towards, that goal before sixth form.

“We are delighted with the achievements of the first cohort of students and are very grateful for the support of their schools.”

If you have a story, I cover the whole borough of Oldham. Please email me at jack.fifield@newsquest.co.uk.