- A 16-year-old from inner city Liverpool has been offered at scholarship to the £38,000-a-year Eton College.
- The private school was attended by the likes of Princes William and Harry and former Prime Minister David Cameron.
16-year-old Stephen Geddes from Liverpool has been offered a scholarship to Eton College, the £38,000-a-year private school which is the most prestigious in the country — and possibly the world.
Geddes, a student from the inner-city Toxteth area of Liverpool who attended King’s Leadership Academy, will join the Windsor-based college in September to study his A Levels in maths, biology, chemistry, and physics.
According to Eton, only nine sixth form scholarships are awarded annually to candidates from UK state schools.
Geddes joins royals and world leaders — such as Princes William and Harry and former Prime Minister David Cameron — who have attended the prestigious school before him.
Here's a young Prince William on his first day there:
Eton is notoriously competitive, with around 23% of applicants earning a place among 1,300 students.
Geddes said the process involved exams and two interviews — one with the head of department and one with the headmaster.
"King’s really prepared me for them because a lot of what they do is about giving you confidence and I was confident when I met them," he said.
According to MailOnline, Geddes is the youngest of four children, and lives in a council-owned property with his 54-year-old carer mother, Brenda, and 50-year-old father, Stephen, who works in the frozen food department at Tesco.
"When they came to our house to tell me I was in shock. It was hard to take on board," Geddes said.
He added that his mum "hasn’t stopped crying since."
When he told his teacher Mr Crosby, who helped him prepare for the interviews, "he took off his glasses and there were tears in his eyes," according to Geddes.
Crosby, who was privately educated himself, and is helping five pupils from King’s gain sixth-form places at some of the country’s top public schools, confirmed Geddes' comments.
"I had what some would call a privileged education – I have been to Eton to play them at Eton Fives, which is like squash played with your hand, Crosby said. "One of the reasons I came to teach at King’s was that I wanted kids here to have some of the choices I enjoyed.
"I was in tears when I found out that Eton wanted to take him. I imagined Stephen in the future, filling out his CV. When he comes to the section marked 'education' he would write: 'King’s Leadership Academy, Liverpool' and then 'Eton College.'"
Geddes earned the place at Eton thanks to a partnership King’s Leadership Academy has with the SpringBoard Bursary Foundation and the Hope Opportunity Trust.
Mark O’Hagan, principal of King’s Leadership Academy, said: "What is so important about this scheme is not just that some of our pupils will be given life-changing opportunities but that it will affect the people around them.
"They may not want to go to Eton but they might see what Stephen has done and tell themselves that they might want to make the best of their education here at King’s through good grades or sporting excellence. This will have an impact on everyone around Stephen."
According to Eton's website, around a fifth of its 1,300 or so students receive some level of means-tested reduction in fees, and 72 pay nothing at all. On top of that, external organisations like SpringBoard fund applicants as well.
The site also states that up to nine sixth form scholarships are awarded annually to candidates from UK state schools.
Geddes called his experience visiting Eton for his interviews "unbelievable."
"The facilities were amazing," he said. "It had three theatres, two chapels and a sports fields that seemed to stretch for miles."
He added: "I know the uniform is a bit strange – they have tailcoats and everything – but I don’t mind wearing it because I think it looks quite smart."
"Going to a place like Eton is something I’d love to be part of," Geddes said. "I know that it will change my life."