From Sink School to Gordonstoun; It's Going to Be Quite a Change, Says Girl with Scholarship to Charles's Alma Mater

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Byline: JAYA NARAIN

SHE lives in a deprived neighbourhood and her failing comprehensive has some of the worst exam results in the region.

But Leanne McGing can hardly wait for next term - after winning a scholarship to Prince Charles's old school.

The bright 16-year-old will swop the tarmac of Counthill School in Oldham for the rolling lawns of Gordonstoun in North-East Scotland.

The [pounds sterling]7,000a-term public school has awarded her a full scholarship to take her A-levels among some of the most privileged pupils in the land.

'I'm absolutely over the moon and determined to make the best of the chance I have been given,' she said. 'It is a dream come true.

It's going to be quite a change from Counthill but I'm looking forward to it.' Gordonstoun sends out around 2,000 application forms to schools around the UK each year, asking teachers to nominate suitable pupils. It draws up a shortlist and picks around 30 talented pupils for scholarships and bursaries each year. Leanne underwent two days of rigorous tests before the school offered her a 10 per cent scholarship, increasing it to a full scholarship when told she could afford nothing less.

She will study English Literature, Maths, Psychology and Classic Civilisation and is keeping her career options open.

'They don't do Classic Civilisation in Counthill,' she said. 'I don't know whether I want to go into the arts or sciences but Gordonstoun is the perfect place to make that decision.' The contrast between the two schools could not be more pronounced with 430-pupil Gordonstoun boasting every sporting and educational opportunity for pupils while Counthill desperately tries to improve exam results and cut truancy.

Mark Pyper, head of Gordonstoun, said almost all its scholarships went to pupils from state schools. 'Leanne will make a real impact on the school and will leave well prepared to take up her role as a citizen of real merit in her own community and in the wider world. …