Castlemilk teenager beats odds to get place at Oxford University

A teenager from one of Scotland’s most deprived areas has accepted a place at Oxford University – and will be the first person in her family to go to uni.

Megan McCloskey, 17, from Castlemilk, Glasgow, is one of just six people out of 350 to be accepted to study chemistry at the university’s Queen’s College.

Proud mum-of-one Irene, 38, said Megan has always had a keen interest in in the science - and used to ask for chemistry sets when she was younger.

Megan achieved straight As in her eight Highers and two Advanced Highers at St Margaret Mary’s secondary school – where she is one of youngest students in her year.

Ellie with her mum Irene and dad Kevin.

Megan is the first member of her family to go to university, with her mum Irene and dad Kevin, 38, having attended the same high school.

The youngster is working at Greggs part time to help her save up for the move.

Irene, who is studying patisserie at college, said after tuition fees, loans and the cost of living, Megan’s degree could leave her in up to £80,000 of debt.

Megan was also offered a place at the University of St Andrews, University of Edinburgh and University of Glasgow – but has always dreamed of going to Oxford.

Megan said: “I am absolutely buzzing.

“My parents were over the moon.

“It was such a relief when my results came through because I honestly didn’t expect it, the exams were so hard.

“Getting into Oxford always felt like a dream, not something I would be able to reach.

“I had in my head all along I would be going to St Andrews.

“I never thought I would actually be able to get into Oxford growing up, but when I got offered an interview I started to think maybe it would be achievable.

“It’s nerve wracking but I am looking forward to meeting new people, getting to know a new area and studying.

“The finical aspect is daunting, but I am working part time and putting money away in my savings to help.

“I hope other people will see this and realise they can do it too if they want to.

“I would say just take your chance and go for it.”

Megan achieved As in Advanced High Chemistry and Maths, as well as Highers in Physics, English, Spanish, Human Biology and Chemistry.

Mum Irene hopes Megan’s story encourages other kids from deprived areas to apply for prestigious universities.

Irene said: “It was such a proud moment for us, it’s a mixture of nerves and excitement.

“Of course it’s bittersweet because she will be leaving home but she has done amazing to achieve everything she has.

“Chemistry is always something she has been interested in, she would ask for chemistry sets when she was younger.

“But she really got into it in fourth year, she gelled really well with her teacher.

“I think she would like to do something chemistry related after uni, maybe even do her PhD.

“I hope other people will see Megan’s story and that’s it’s possible for anyone if you put the work in.

“It’s always been a dream if hers to go to Oxford.

“She is the first person in our family to go to uni and the first from her school to get into Oxford.”