‘I did a BTEC – now I’m heading to a Russell Group uni!’

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A SOUTH London sixth-former is heading to one of Britain’s most prestigious universities to study a subject normally dominated by men.

Sarah Oluwapelumi Babs-Apata will start a course in civil engineering with architecture at Leeds University after achieving a triple-starred distinction in her engineering BTEC.

But The Christ the King Sixth Form College pupil was initially dissuaded from pursuing a BTEC, believing it would not lead to a top university place.

Sarah said: “A lot of people, especially my family, thought that as I’m a very academic person I should do A-levels in sciences or the law…but BTECs are really under-rated. People don’t know how beneficial the course is.

‘In my BTEC I studied physics, maths and further maths along with engineering. The course gave me the foundation of knowledge to really progress in this field of engineering.”

The star pupil admitted that she was initially worried she would be overlooked by top universities, but her own fears were unfounded after getting the nod from Leeds.

Sarah added: “I felt universities were going to be prejudiced against BTECs – and I think some of them still are. At first I was in the anti-BTEC mindset but now I’m going to a Russell Group university!’

The teenager’s sixth form was celebrating A-level pass rates about the national average for the 18th consecutive year.

Its 600-plus A-level students have a pass rate of 98.3 per cent against a national average of 98.1 per cent.

In addition, 360 students achieved a BTEC pass rate of 99.7 per cent.

Principal Dr Jane Overbury said she was delighted with the results and was particularly proud that the majority of students got their first-choice university.

She said: “We had over 600 students doing A-levels. This is a really phenomenal achievement and I salute our young people for their hard work and dedication, and of course our fantastic teaching staff, too.”

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