From Ormiston to Ivy League: Cradley Heath student turns down Cambridge

By David Cosgrove | Cradley | Education | Published:

A student at a Cradley Heath school has turned down a place at Cambridge to join an American Ivy League university instead.

Lee Harding, centre, with Ormiston Forge Key Stage 5 pastoral leader Tracey Beech and principal Andrew Burns

Ormiston Forge Academy student Lee Harding is all set to make the 3,220-mile journey from the Black Country to take up a place at Brown University in Rhode Island in the Autumn.

The 18-year-old, from Rowley Regis, who will be the first in his family to go to university, beat competition from 1,000 other applicants to land the place and a financial aid package to help with living and tuition costs.

The offer came after Lee, who lives with his mother and two brothers, took part in the Sutton Trust US Programme, run in partnership with the US-UK Fulbright Commission.

The aim of the programme is to encourage academically talented British students from low and moderate income homes to consider studying at American universities.

Founded in 1764, Brown University is the seventh-oldest college in the United States.

Graduates include a raft of high-profile politicians, entrepreneurs, including the former CEO of Apple John Sculley, sportsmen and women and even Hollywood stars like Harry Potter star, British actress Emma Watson.

Lee is predicted three A*s in Maths, Chemistry and Physics and an A Grade in Further Maths when he sits his A-levels in the summer.

He said he is still undecided over what he wants to become when he graduates from university.


He said he turned down a place at Magdalene College in Cambridge to study engineering to study the same course in America because he will be able to try different classes before declaring his Major at Brown University.

He added: “The support I’ve had has been invaluable, they’ve broken barriers down and made something happen that I thought would be impossible.”

Andrew Burns, principal of Ormiston Forge Academy, said: “Lee paves the way for the next Forge student who will no longer see a barrier to a place at Oxford, Cambridge, Yale or Harvard.”

David Cosgrove

By David Cosgrove
Chief Reporter - @davidcosgrove_


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