Esin Akdogan, an Oxford student from Hackney

For children from state schools, the odds are still stacked against them winning a place at Oxbridge. Earlier this year, Professor Les Ebdon, director of the Office for Fair Access, said "Every year that we do not have truly fair access is a year in which yet more talented people are let down by a system that should lift them up". Despite spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on outreach programmes, the universities still have so few students from the most disadvantaged groups, so few students on free school meals, so few students from different ethnic minorities.

But as Esin Akdogan, a student from an immigrant Turkish Kurd family, waits to start her History degree at Oxford, she explains how she overcame the barriers: Oxbridge has always been my ambition. I dreamed of going to Oxbridge from Year 10 [at Skinners’ Academy] when our teachers started to give us information on university, and there were university fairs and talks. That’s when I decided to give it a shot, although I did think it was far-fetched.

I knew there weren’t many people like me at Oxbridge – I’m from a Turkish Kurd family. But I’m the head girl of a school whose motto is ‘to be the best you can’ and which teaches you that you can achieve your ambitions and that background is not a bar to academic success.

At Oxbridge, non-traditional applicants are under-represented by class and ethnicity. Its students are predominantly white and middle class, but I think not being typical applicant was my USP [unique selling point]. 

If Oxford was attracted to me, it’s because I’m different. I’m not a normal Oxbridge student, but Oxbridge needs people like me.

My interview for Pembroke College was very nerve wracking, but the dons were really nice. They seemed so genuine - the exact opposite of what you might expect. I thought they would be intimidating and cold, there to make you scared. But they were really welcoming and nice and made an effort to make me feel comfortable.

I had applied to Pembroke College because I had links with the college through access programmes and school alumni. I was offered a place and needed to get 3 As to meet their entry requirements.

mansfield collegeWhen I got 2 As and a B, Mansfield College accepted me. I am so unbelievable lucky and grateful that they took me. It’s quite rare that people who don’t meet their requirements are accepted. 

I really am ‘over the moon’!

My family are ecstatic. They were literally sobbing when I told them I had got in. They are very proud, particularly because they didn’t get to go to university because of the circumstances they found themselves in. My Dad came to the UK in the late ’80s, my mum in the ’90s.

I have no idea what I want to do after Oxford. Anything but law!

I couldn’t be more thankful to Skinners’ and all the staff: the head of Year 13, the school governors from Skinners’ Livery Company and the company itself who contacted people who could help me and arranged mock interviews.

And they did it purely out of goodwill. If it weren’t for their help I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Esin Akdogan, an Oxford student from Hackney

Esin got A grades in History and Economics and a B for Maths. She will read History at Mansfield College, Oxford. She was a pupil at Skinners’ Academy in Hackney, north London.

You may also be interested in these articles:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel commented on this video 10 hours 17 minutes ago

The College of the Future
UK-Wide Final Report

The College of the Future UK-Wide Final Report

The College of the Future UK-Wide Final Report

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel shared a video in channel. 10 hours 18 minutes ago

The College of the Future UK-Wide Final Report

The College of the Future UK-Wide Final Report

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel The College of the Future
UK-Wide Final Report
10 hours 17 minutes ago
FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 10 hours 19 minutes ago

RT @julia_heap1: Great to read this @YourAAT, started my own #AAT journey in my early 20’s & never looked back! Investment in lifelong lea…
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page