27 students secure coveted places at Oxbridge Universities

We are thrilled to reveal that 27 students have secured offers to study at the prestigious Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

This is an exceptional achievement following a rigorous application process, involving admissions tests and multiple interviews, competing for coveted places against a worldwide field of applicants.

Offers have been made in a range of disciplines including Computer Science, Law, English, Chemistry Biological Natural Sciences, Economics, History, Modern Languages, Mathematics, Archaeology, Experimental Psychology, Physics and more.

Bella Craig, who came to Greenhead College from Salendine Nook High School, secured her offer to study French and Spanish at Oxford University said:

“For future applicants, I’d say to believe in yourself, believe that anything is possible and be open and honest on your personal statement.”

Laura Verdina, who came to Greenhead College from Dixon’s City Academy, secured her offer for Cambridge University to study Biological Natural Sciences said:

“The support at College is really great, I had a mock interview for my subject before my actual interview and that really helped me be prepared and understand what it might feel like to go through an academic interview.”

Greenhead College remains to be the leading state educational institution in the North of England for Oxbridge success. Aspiring students benefit from a dedicated Oxbridge Support Enrichment Programme, comprising of masterclasses, mock interview workshops, dedicated Oxbridge admissions tutors, residential visits, and practice admissions tests.

Richard Pember, Oxbridge Coordinator at Greenhead College commented:

“I’d like to offer my congratulations on behalf of the Oxbridge Team at Greenhead. We have an incredibly talented team who support the students in small group sessions to help them through the application process. We’re immensely proud of the 27 students who received offers; it’s an amazing achievement. Competition becomes more acute year on year, and for Greenhead to remain the most successful school or college outside the South East is a reflection on our wonderful students and staff.”

Congratulations to the following students:

NameUniversityDisciplinePrevious School
Aaron CrosbieCambridgeComputer scienceRoyds hall
Abdullah AzizOxfordLaw Halifax Academy
Akshat KothariCambridgeEngineering Trinity Academy Halifax
Anna BenthamCambridgeHSPSThornhill Community Academy 
Bella CraigOxfordModern LanguagesSalendine Nook High School Academy 
Ben CooperCambridgeEngineering Beckfoot School Bingley
Brook SeedCambridgeNatural Sciences BioKing James’s School
Elizabeth KayCambridgeHistory and Modern Languages (French)Horizon Community College
Emily OliverCambridgeLawHolmfirth High School
Emma NelsonCambridgeEnglishHolmfirth 
Esther BoutleOxfordLawOssett Academy
George SelbyCambridgeArchitectureWhitcliffe Mount 
Harry CrossCambridgeHistory Netherhall Learning Campus Highschool
Haydn CliftonCambridgeArchaeology Penistone Grammar School 
Izzy RouseOxfordPhysics Horbury Academy 
Jacob LordCambridgeBiological Natural SciencesHolmfirth high 
Jeremy StocksCambridgeMathematicsHonley High School
Julia MillingtonCambridgeEconomicsHeckmondwike Grammar School
Laura VerdinaCambridgeBiological Natural SciencesDixons City Academy
Leela Beth GuhaCambridgeHistory Calder high school 
Megan ColemanOxfordChemistry Whitcliffe Mount
Mia YatesOxfordBiochemistry The Mirfield Free Grammar 
Miriam LomasCambridgeHistoryHolmfirth High School
Nina RainbowOxfordBiochemistry North Halifax Grammar School
Rowan Harrison-WalkerOxfordMathematicsRyburn Valley High School
Sam FranksOxfordPhilosophy, Politics and EconomicsRastrick High School

Philosophy Trip to London

“Civilisation is not to kill human beings, not to destroy things, not to make war.  Civilisation is to hold mutual affection and to respect each other.” —The Most Venerable Nichidatsu Fuji.

One of the highlights of this year’s trip to London was our visit to the Battersea Peace Pagoda. In a turbulent world, where war sadly is a tragic reality for many. The Peace Pagoda serves as a beacon of hope and a stark reminder of the need, more than ever before, for world harmony and peace.

As part of the 1984 Greater London Council Peace Year, the Pagoda was offered to the people of London by Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Order by its founder the Venerable Nichidatsu Fujii, a close friend of Mahatma Gandhi.  Nipponzan Myohoji is a relatively small and unknown peace movement with a few thousand followers worldwide, of monastics and lay people, that emerged from the Nichiren sect of Japanese Buddhism. Since 1947, the movement has been constructing Peace Pagodas all around the world including Europe, Asia, and the United States to promote world peace.

A Peace Pagoda is a Buddhist stupa, which in Indian means ‘heap’ and contains relics of the Buddha, resembling in shape an upturned begging bowl and folded monastic robes and a stick. The Battersea Peace Pagoda is a two-roofed structure, made of concrete and wood and has on each of its four sides four large gilded bronze sculptures of the Buddha depicting a key event in his life.

On our visit we met up with Reverend Gyoro Nagase who helped to construct the Pagoda and who the serves the Pagoda daily, living close by in his temple in Battersea Park itself. Reverend Gyoro kindly gave us a brief talk on the movement which primarily involves its followers chanting a mantra; Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō and beating hand drums while whilst undertaking peace walks throughout the world promoting peace and non-violence. On 9 August, Nagasaki Day, Reverend Nagase will go on a Peace walk from Westminster Abbey to the Battersea Pagoda to commemorate all the victims of war. As we left, we reflected on the words of Mahatma Gandhi:

 “The moral to be legitimately drawn from the supreme tragedy of the bomb is that it will not be destroyed by counter-bombs, even as violence cannot by counter-violence. Mankind has to get out of violence only through non-violence. Hatred can be overcome only by love.”

Students comment about the trip.

“Great experience not only for learning but socialising with classmates.”

“Really fun and educational.”

“Helpful in consolidating knowledge and very enjoyable.”

“Very interesting people and places.”

Congratulations to Emily Brierly – our ‘Student of the Year’

Greenhead College has an excellent record of success at the British Education Awards, winning the ‘A Level Student of the Year’ category for the north of England three years in succession.

We were hugely disappointed to hear that this year’s awards ceremony had been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially as we had nominated a superb candidate in Emily Brierley, who we hoped would win us the award for the fourth year in a row!

Undeterred, we decided to present Emily with our own ‘Student of the Year’ award. 

Emily left Greenhead in the summer of 2020 with A Levels in Philosophy, Religion & Ethics, Psychology and Sociology.  She is a Youth Ambassador for the Mindfulness in Schools Project and has used this as a platform to promote mindfulness to young people.  During her time in College, Emily devoted her time and energy to developing and delivering mindfulness to College students.

Emily said:

“I have always been passionate about helping others by using the tools which have helped me so much. Mindfulness is something that is so important, especially for young people and so to bring this into Greenhead College was an exciting opportunity for me.

“It’s an absolute honour to receive this award and it means a lot to me that I was able to make an impact upon the College and the students there.”

College Principal Simon Lett said:

“As the British Education Awards aren’t running this year, we thought we should find a way to commemorate Emily’s impressive achievements.  This award is richly deserved and Emily has an amazing future ahead of her.”

Emily is currently studying Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester.  

Philosophy students treated to revision session by Dr Greg Barker

On February 5th around 70 A Level Philosophy, Religion and Ethics students from both A1 and A2 year groups benefitted enormously from a revision session focussing on Philosophy and Ethics run by Dr Greg Barker, published author and research fellow at the University of Winchester and now a full time educator and coach with plaudits from across academia for his engaging and informative relaxed style.

Greg delivered sessions on several areas of the Religious Studies course covering work on two ethical theories , Euthanasia , the Problem of Evil and the Design Argument. In addition, he offered many revision tips and essay writing strategies that all our students who fed back afterwards, found extremely helpful and easy to follow. This was a most worthwhile day that we hope to replicate in the future!

Philosophy trip to London 2019 – A reflection on living in harmony with others


Early morning, as the sun was rising, 33 students, set off from Huddersfield, in high spirits, if not a little sleepy, for our sixth annual residential visit to London. They were about to embark on a whistle-stop tour of various Buddhist groups, from different cultural traditions practising across the capital: Tibetan, Thai and Japanese, as well as visiting some other well-known popular landmarks, such as the Battersea Peace Pagoda.

One of the many highlights this year was our visit to Tibetan Peace Garden, Samten Kyil, a ‘Garden of Contemplation’, formally opened by the Dalai Lama back in 1999; himself awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, to promote a message of peace and non-violence. This is especially poignant given its location next to the Imperial War Museum, a stark reminder of the horrors of violent conflict.

The Peace Garden, with its imaginative design, contemporary sculptors and monuments, and fragrant flowers and plants from Tibet and Himalayan regions is one of the unique Buddhist landmarks in the UK.  In 2002, it featured in “Time Out” magazine as one of the best gardens in London. On our arrival, the Executive Director of the Tibet Foundation, Dhondrup Samten, gave us a very warm welcome.  He went on to give an inspiring talk on the aid work that his organisation was doing to help relieve poverty, to raise standards of education and health care in Tibetan communities around the world, and to preserve Tibetan culture and the way of life.


At the centre of the  Peace Garden is the “Wheel of Time” mandala; this reminds all who visit, to reflect deeply on the preciousness or the ‘oneness’ of life, and in our short human existence for each of us to work for peace and unity in the world.

The Peace Garden offers a retreat from our busy and hectic lives; and we took a few moments to reflect on the Dalai Lama’s central message: that genuine peace comes through dialogue, mutual respect and trust, and for this to take place there needs to be some kind of inner disarmament to develop love and compassion.  After a long, tiring first day, if not feeling a little more ‘awake’, with the sun now high in the sky, we left the Peace Garden contemplating the following thought before the sun finally sets:

“Machines cannot generate the inner peace we require, nor can peace be bought in a shop. Peace is something that has to come from inside, through transforming our hearts and minds.”  The Dalai Lama 

Student comments on the trip

“Overall, the London Buddhism trip met all my expectations in that it was a jam-packed few days full of relevant subject-centred visits which brought our lessons in class to life. I would say the real benefit of the trip was the wide range of people we met.” 

– Nancy Tupling

“On reflection, I enjoyed the experience as a whole, as although it enabled me to gain more of an understanding of Buddhism in the real world, it also allowed me to be more independent and make memories that I will never forget! It goes without saying that I would definitely recommend the trip to next year’s students because there is only so much you can learn from a booklet.”

–  Eleanor Hannah

“I would definitely recommend the trip to next year’s students because it is a fantastic opportunity to consolidate knowledge as well as gain further insight into a vast number of Buddhist traditions and practices. All the places visited on the trip have made me feel more confident in my knowledge of Buddhism.” 

– Carla Stanley

A day out at the Philosophy Gym

The Philosophy department recently held a Philosophy conference delivered by Dr Stephen Law, Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts and Commerce, Provost of the Centre for Inquiry UK,  and  author of several books on Philosophy, including ‘The Philosophy Files’ and ‘The Philosophy Gym’. He also edits ‘Think’, published by the Royal Institute of Philosophy, aimed at the general public.

The 70 students that participated in the conference, benefitted enormously from his engaging style, clear explanation and excellent study notes. A range of Philosophy topics were covered including a house debate on the problem of evil. Dr Law congratulated our students on their debating skills, and was generally very impressed with their enthusiasm and ability to wrestle with challenging philosophical problems. 

Student Comments

“The Stephen Law revision conference was an opportunity to go over old material from a new viewpoint in an enjoyable way, particularly the debate on the problem of evil. It was all presented in a very accessible way that makes a lot of tricky concepts such as the Ontological Argument for God a lot less daunting.”

– Charlie Mackintosh-Simpson

“Picture this… A lecture… Led by a top philosopher… Kant, the Problem of Evil and Plato… What could be better? Saying that I learned a lot is perhaps an understatement. Stephen Law was able to not only able to help me revise but he introduced me to new philosophical concepts that I am certainly going to follow up and bring to philosophy cafe! I thoroughly enjoyed the debate at the end that brought the formidable mental power of A1s and A2s together ! Overall, I feel somewhat enlightened and ready for what the exams can throw at me.”

– Roshni Parmar-Hill

A Brilliant Day of Buddhism

On Wednesday 14th November, 50 Greenhead Philosophy, Religion & Ethics students visited the Triratna Buddhist Centre in Sheffield for a great day recapping central tenets of their A Level Buddhist Course, with established Buddhist practitioners.

A fresh look at the Four Noble Truths including lectures, discussion, reflection and poster making followed by Meditation and ending with a Q and A session was very well received by the A1 students. It has really made a difference to their understanding of the topic and they all had a brilliant day.

Practitioners of the Buddhist Centre said

‘It was such a pleasure to work with such fantastic students’

Thank you to all students who took part for representing the college so well.

Students visit London for annual Buddhism trip


32 Religious Studies and Philosophy students recently went on the annual Buddhism trip to London.

They visited several traditions including Japanese, Thai and Tibetan and their temples, and asked searching questions about how compassion can be put into action. A really interesting visit to Battersea Peace Pagoda allowed students to meet members of a Japanese tradition that undertake peace marches, to raise awareness about oppression and injustice.
They also visited popular London landmarks such as the Diana Memorial in Hyde Park, the London Eye and Primrose Hill, the latter being particularly memorable as they huddled round a phone to watch England score the winning penalty beating Colombia!

The speakers were excellent, as was the weather, and of course, our student cohort were outstanding ambassadors for college!