Plantsbrook celebrates as star student Dan gets Cambridge offer

A Plantsbrook School student is celebrating after his hard work was rewarded with an offer to study at Cambridge University.

Daniel Walton, 18, has been offered a place to study English Literature at Downing College, and says he is ‘excited’ at the prospect of furthering his education at the historic seat of learning.

“It is very exciting,” he said, “When I first opened up the email it wasn’t immediately clear whether or not I’d been offered a place – because I hadn’t got into my first choice of college, which was Magdelene – but then it said that I had been offered a place at Downing. It was a great feeling.”

Alumni of Downing College, which was founded in 1800, include John Cleese, Thandie Newton and Quentin Blake.

Daniel, who lives with dad Graham, mum Lynne and brother Matthew in New Oscott, had to take part in an interview with Cambridge academics as part of the application process.

He said: “On the morning of the interview, it was nerve-wracking beforehand, but because it was being held online once we got into it, it was very nice and friendly – they were very engaging and interested in what I had to say.”

Daniel said he was more prepared for the interview as a result of the support he has received from Plantsbrook.

“Plantsbrook have been supportive throughout the whole process. The school organised three practice interviews for me; one with the careers advisor, one with the headteacher and another one from my English teacher, which helped me to prepare and made me feel very supported.”

“Plantsbrook have been supportive throughout the whole process. The school organised three practice interviews for me; one with the careers advisor, one with the headteacher and another one from my English teacher, which helped me to prepare and made me feel very supported,”
– DAN WALTON

And as someone who had always been a keen reader, Daniel is now looking forward to exploring the course’s reading list.

“It is a subject that I’m very passionate about and I’m looking forward to the challenge of studying there,” he said.

Daniel’s dad, Graeme, said: “We’re delighted – obviously, we don’t want to count our chickens too soon as he still has to get the grades which, as you would expect are challenging, but it was great news when Daniel received the offer.

“He has worked so hard to get to this point. Daniel has always been a keen reader, ever since he was small, and is extremely committed to his work and assiduous in his studies. We’re very proud of him.”

Downing College, Cambridge was founded in 1800.
Downing College, Cambridge was founded in 1800.

English teacher Anna Prosser taught Daniel as far back as Year 7 and quipped: “I could see the genius in him back then!

“Daniel is remarkable – he’s so humble and genuinely has no understanding of just how brilliant he is. He is just amazing to teach.

“During lockdown last year I encouraged Daniel to enter an essay writing competition run by Trinity College, Cambridge and he just went for it – he chose his own novel, his own question, and got a highly commended. That’s a great example of his commitment.”

Head of Sixth Form Lisa Proctor said: “He’s a quiet, unassuming and professional student who always does everything to the best of his abilities. Daniel has always had a very mature attitude towards learning.

“We really encouraged him to apply for Cambridge, and as soon as he said he was going to go for it we knew he was in with a great chance, because he is such a star student. He really deserves his success.”

Headteacher Jason Farr added: “We are so proud of Daniel. We work hard here to help every student reach their true potential and Dan is a great example of what can be achieved when a student works diligently to make the most of his gifts.

“He’s a student who has gone through from Year 7 to Year 13 always striving to conform to the school motto of ‘be the best that you can be’ and ultimately has shown what can be done.”

“We work hard here to help every student reach their true potential and Dan is a great example of what can be achieved when a student works diligently to make the most of his gifts,”
– HEADTEACHER JASON FARR

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