PUPILS from state schools and colleges in Manchester are being encouraged to apply for free tuition from the independent Manchester Grammar school to help them get into Oxford and Cambridge universities.
They will be interviewed between now and the New Year for places on the scheme, which will provide after-hours tuition in a range of subjects.
Fellows from King's College, Cambridge and Brasenose College, Oxford, will visit the school to talk to pupils and it is hoped that pupils on the scheme will visit summer schools at both universities.
The cost of the scheme, like that of the summer schools, is being met by the millionaire philanthropist Peter Lampl through his Sutton Trust.
But the teachers at Manchester Grammar School have agreed to take no extra money for the extra teaching: the tuition fees charged (Pounds 35-50 per hour) will be paid directly into the school's Pounds 10m appeal fund by which the school hopes to be able to help future pupils with the school's Pounds 4,750 fees. Manchester Grammar School has agreed to take no public credit for the success of any pupils on the scheme.
This would be down, in large measure, to their own personalities and the quality of their own schools, Martin Stephen, the high master, said.
The pupils will be getting help from one of the most successful schools in the business.
Last year, 60 out of 190 sixth-formers at the school won Oxbridge places.
The 500-year-old independent school has agreed to waive one central tradition: that, in the words of its founder, Bishop Hugh Oldham, the pupils should be "man-chylde". The Oxbridge Access Scheme will be open to both boys and girls.