First head girl 'terrified' of starting Wembley school gets into Cambridge

Michaela's first head girl Amrutha Vudathu 

Michaela's first head girl Amrutha Vudathu - Credit: Amrutha Vudathu

The first head girl of a community secondary school in Wembley has won a place at Cambridge University.

Amrutha Vudathu was 'terrified' about starting Michaela Community School in 2014 because the school in North End Road was new and untested.

The 18-year-old, who grew up in Neasden, was part of the first cohort to attend year 7 and the first cohort to go through sixth form –  two years largely marked by the pandemic. 

Amrutha has made it to Cambridge after passing through Michaela Community School

Amrutha has made it to Cambridge after passing through Michaela Community School - Credit: Michaela Community School

She is off to St Catharine's College in Cambridge to read theology, religion and the philosophy of religion after achieving A*A*A in her A Levels.

"I joined Michaela in September 2014 and was part of the first cohort which was terrifying because we did not know what the school would be like at all.

"I was lucky that I had quite a few friends from my primary school, Oakington Manor, in the same secondary school as me so it made the transition easier, and I made really great friends throughout my time there," she said.

Michaela built up a reputation for being the "strictest" school in the UK, run by head teacher Katharine Birbalsingh CBE.

One policy is that pupils who do not achieve seven sevens and above at GCSE cannot stay for sixth form

Amrutha added: "It is so different  from other schools and was not anything like what we expected because the school placed a huge emphasis on academics.

"I learned a lot during my time there and having teachers who were so in love with their subject helped foster my own love for theology, a subject that I had not even heard about before I joined.

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"I was set on studying maths and economics for most of my time there but I changed my mind, and took French, economics, and religion and philosophy at A Levels."

She added: "Working through multiple school shut downs in year 12 and then Zoom lessons during the pandemic in year 13 was difficult because the circumstances were unprecedented and there was no real advice to follow as everyone was in the same boat, but we worked with our peers and teachers and managed to get amazing grades."

She said becoming head girl was "incredible" and allowed her to raise students concerns to staff on topics "that were a bit difficult to talk about", such as Black Lives Matter, as well as collaborating on creating the yearbook.