For Leicester High School for Girls student Natasha Bhogaita, the world is her oyster. Having received her A-level results at the end of the 2015/16 academic year, she now has a selection of universities to choose from as she chases her dream career – a story that the Leicester-based Sir Thomas White Loan Charity is proud to have played a part in.
Thanks to a £20,000 grant provided by the Sir Thomas White Loan Charity, Natasha was able to study for her A-levels at Leicester High School for Girls – an opportunity that she would not have had otherwise.
Although the Charity is best known for providing interest-free business and education loans to people within Leicestershire, its dedication to maximising young people’s potential has extended to a small number of education grants in recent years – something that Natasha was delighted to earn.
Every year, the Sir Thomas White Loan Charity writes to schools across Leicestershire, inviting them to nominate a promising candidate for an education grant to allow pupils to study at an independent school for a two-year period. These nominees are presented to the Charity, who interview candidates ahead of naming the deserving recipient or, recipients in some cases, of the grants.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Natasha, as she explained her emotion upon receiving her grant in 2014.
“I saw it as a huge blessing, almost as a reward for my hard work and commitment to my studies at secondary school following my GCSEs. I saw it as a chance to grow as a person and to reach my full potential at an independent school recognised for its academic prowess.
“There were so many advantages of attending Leicester High School for Girls. The small class sizes enable the teachers to get to know new students on a personal level and I felt I was able to ask plenty of questions in order to get to grips with syllabus content until I was comfortable with what I was learning. The common room gave me the chance to mingle with peers in my year group and exchange notes. We felt more like adults in the staff room. I was also able to take part in a range of extra-curricular activities, including a debate club, maths aid and self-defence. I was also able to gain a CSLA Award in PE, which helped me adapt a healthy work/life balance.”
Also citing the support available from the school in applying for places at university as beneficial, Natasha is currently enjoying a gap year as she plans for her next step in her studies.
“During my gap year, I will be applying to medical school, so that hopefully I can move onto the next step in my education in 2017. The gap year will provide me with the opportunity to work and save up, which will help towards university fees in addition to travelling, so that I can take part in the International Citizenship Service; a volunteering programme based abroad. I also plan to continue volunteering at a local home for the elderly blind, and hope to gain more hospital and GP work experience for extended periods of time. I’m keen to get a realistic sense of life working as a GP or hospital doctor.
“It’s been a great journey so far and I’m looking forward to what the coming year brings. I have so many great memories of my time at Leicester High School for Girls, with the staff making my transition from a mixed comprehensive school to an all-girls independent school as smooth as possible.
I’ve made lifelong friends and I can’t thank the Sir Thomas White Loan Charity enough – not only for the opportunities their grant provided, but the lasting impact that the experiences and qualifications the grant helped me obtain.”
David Howard, Chair of Trustees at the Sir Thomas White Loan Charity, commented: “We are incredibly proud of Natasha’s achievements, and delighted to see the positive effects that being able to study at Leicester High School for Girls has had, both as a person and on her education, which has in turn enhanced her prospects with regard to further education. Helping young people within Leicestershire reach their full potential is a key aim of the Sir Thomas White Loan Charity and we’re delighted that the provision of these education grants is extending that further. As a Charity, we are looking forward to awarding our next education grant and witnessing the development of another gifted student from Leicestershire.”