TWO Wharfedale students who have been at school together since the age of three are heading their separate ways for the first time in 15 years after receiving offers from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

Gemma Timmons, from Ilkley, and Emily Boggs, from Weston, were friends even before they started their schooling at Westville House School, Ilkley, and are now in the upper sixth at The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL). Gemma has an offer to read philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) at Magdalen College, Oxford, and Emily has an offer for medicine at Jesus College, Cambridge.

The girls are among 11 current and former students from GSAL, who have their sights on the Oxbridge experience. Nine upper sixth students are holding conditional offers to study at Oxford or Cambridge, while two former students who achieved three straight A* grades in last year’s A-levels have secured places.

Gemma said: “I chose PPE because the three subjects are so relevant to the world we live in today – they are so interconnected and intellectually stimulating. It was a daunting interview process but a most enjoyable experience, speaking with the pre-eminent minds in the country. I can’t wait – it’s a place of opportunities and I’ll give everything a go and see where it takes me!”

Emily said: “The academic and pastoral support from school made such a difference through the application process. It was a challenge but I especially enjoyed meeting people and staying in college for the interviews.

“While the goal of being a medic is ultimately what’s important to me, Cambridge will be a lovely way to do it!”