Ambitious Futures


Russell Group Universities


Ambitious Futures

Apprenticeship self development tool


In order to make a competitive application to a Russell Group University, year 11 students need to achieve 5 grade 8 or 9 at GCSE and these should include English and Mathematics.  The remaining grade 8 or 9s should come from the following subjects: Physics, Chemistry, Biology, History or Geography. In order to prepare students for the application process, year 11 students are invited to attend a presentation from the Oxbridge Schools Liaison Officer who regularly visits Purbeck School.  At the end of year 11, students are supported with applying for places at the summer schools held at Russell Group Universities through July and August.

During term time we offer the students the opportunity to join the school debating society.  This activity can really enhance students’ confidence and promote personal growth. In the past, our students have had enormous success competing against a number of schools across the south west region on numerous occasions beating both private and grammar school students.

Students need to research their A Level choices very carefully.  It may be surprising to learn that the correct A Level to choose for a particular career path is not always obvious. For example most Russell Group Universities do not require A Level Law to study Law, likewise Economics.  We advise our academically able students to consider the most academically rigorous A Level choices such as Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, English, History or Geography.  We also make it clear to students that it is advisable to research the course they are interested in and see what the entry requirements are, prior to opting for their A Level courses. All Russell Group universities have excellent websites and admissions tutors that are able to help students with their enquiries.

Students who have a keen interest in more creative subjects should consider following these as a hobby which they could do in enrichment time or taking an EPQ.

EPQ Extended Personal Project.
This is an independent project that students can choose to do in year 12 and 13. Many Universities make it clear that these courses are desirable additions to any C.V. Southampton University are currently offering a reduced offer for students who obtain an A grade in an EPQ. The offer would be ABB. Typical offers from Russell Group Universities are A*AA or AAA.

Sixth Form

It is important in year 12 that you start to build up experiences that can enhance your personal statement when you are beginning the process of applying for university.  Attending clubs and trips offered by teachers at the Purbeck School can enhance a student’s personal statement.

In Year 12 students are encouraged to apply for Oxbridge summer schools as well as Sutton Trust summer schools.  Cambridge University student union invites a small number of students to apply for a ‘students shadowing opportunity’.  Cambridge University also takes a small number of our students on a residential open day event in the summer.

Year 12 students with Oxbridge aspirations are invited to attend the South West annual Oxbridge conference.  The conference is attended by the schools’ liaison officers from Oxford and Cambridge Universities and admission tutors from science and humanities.

Students who are have an interest in Law and have achieved highly at GCSE (five grade 8 or 9 in academic subjects) may apply for the Exeter Scholars programme run by Exeter University. They will need to take the LNAT which can be supported by Shelley Cranshaw (a school governor & retired High Court Prosecutor).  There is also a Cambridge Sixth Form Law Conference which students can apply to.  The Exeter Scholars Programme is the opportunity to find out more about university in your chosen subject.

Academically able students who have career aspirations to join the medical or veterinary profession can join our ‘How Do We Know Club’ run by a retired Fellow and admissions tutor from Oriel College Oxford.
Students applying for medicine and veterinary courses will need to take the UKCAT and or the BMAT. The BMAT can be taken at Purbeck School. Students need to register for this with our Examinations Officer Mrs C Lyons. UKCAT is taken at driving test centres. Applications to take this test are made on line. Support is given to students for these tests by an eye surgeon from Bournemouth Hospital.

A STEM club runs every Wednesday after school. (Currently on hold due to COVID)

Those applying to Oxbridge for Maths or Physics will also be required to take additional tests.  Support for these tests is available online and in the Mathematics and Science Departments.

The Oxbridge Schools Liaison Officer will do a parent presentation in the Autumn Term.

It is advisable to start researching your university choices and attend open days early on in year 12 so that you are fully prepared in year 13.

It is important for veterinary, medicine and Oxbridge candidates to be fully prepared to complete their personal statement and apply to university by the start of the Autumn Term of year 13 as closing date for UCAS applications is 15th October.

Students taking Medicine will be required to take UCAT or BMAT exams prior to submitting UCAS applications.  These exams usually take place between August and November, students will be required to organise this independently.


A significant amount of support is given to students to assist with:
Personal Statements
Interview techniques – including Mock Interviews
Preparation for tests as closing date for UCAS applications is 15th October.


Although work experience can be useful, top universities will be more interested in exam grades and other interests. Students can take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme at the Purbeck School.  They can also volunteer to do outreach work in our Primary Schools.  Volunteering in the community can be useful too.

Students aspiring to join the medical or veterinary professions will require work experience.  Local hospitals and care homes can offer some interesting placements.

Top universities are interested to see if you have taken an active part in school life and supported your school and community.


Useful websites:

Emmanuel College, Cambridge – mock admission interviews –

Sutton Trust & Headstart run summer schools:

Small Piece Engineering: