Gareth Butler Trust Scholars 2019
Matthew Gursky (Hall Cross Academy, Doncaster)
Matthew is devoted to History and Politics. He has applied to Cambridge (Trinity College), Edinburgh, Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds.
No one in Matthew’s family has ever been to a university. He comes from a part of Doncaster which, in the 2018 Index of Multiple Deprivation, was in the UK’s bottom 20%.
In the ‘Education and Skills’ list, it is in the bottom 10%.
Amazingly, Matthew this year won Trinity College’s RA Butler Prize for Politics - open to the most able VIth formers across the world. He beat 168 other entries.
Matthew is the first student from northern England ever to win the prize, which has historically been dominated by public schools, notably Westminster and Winchester.
To anyone with a knowledge of our education system, seeing Hall Cross Academy join those schools on this list is an emotionally charged moment.
That RA Butler’s legacy was to provide free education in the 1944 Act makes Matthew’s winning of this prize especially poignant.
This was made possible by the generosity of the Gareth Butler History Trust. You paid for every element of Matthew’s participation on the 2019 Linacre programme.
I have always been interested in history while growing up, and since discovering a fascination with politics, going on to study both subjects has been something of a given.
While I have always sought to go to university, it has been the Linacre programme that has given me the confidence and support to apply for competitive universities like Cambridge.
Both of my parents are from low-paid, low-skilled professions and neither attended university themselves, nor did their parents. Being from a family with little academic history has meant that I have been strongly encouraged to go to university, but that applying has been quite daunting.
The support I have received from Linacre has been invaluable, and it has been great to meet like-minded people in similar positions to myself on the residentials.
After studying History and Politics at university, I hope to pursue a career in education, although I am open to exploring any other possibilities and opportunities.
Gareth Butler Trust Scholars 2019
Harry Horsfield (Hall Cross Academy, Doncaster)
Harry is the most talented Philosophy, Politics and Economics student we have seen in six years of operating. He has applied to Oxford (Mansfield College), Warwick, Exeter, York and Lancaster.
Like Matthew, Harry was a genuine delight to spend much of the summer with, and will be an ornament to any university he ends up at.
He too comes from Doncaster - one of the UK’s worst social mobility cold spots. A poor child in London is almost three times as likely to go to university as an equivalent one in Doncaster.
Growing up in Doncaster, with both my parents working low-skilled jobs (window cleaner and secretary), university has always been presented to me as a key to unlocking to opportunities they didn’t have.
As a result, despite no one in my family having attended university, I have always been encouraged to aim for this. Linacre, and the opportunities it has offered is what has motivated me to aim higher than what I originally thought possible.
Spending a week at Cambridge, and getting to talk to former Linacre students who are now attending top universities, has inspired me by making me realise that I don’t have to be constrained by my background.
Because of this, I have opted to apply for top institutions such as Oxford, Warwick and Exeter.
A highlight for me from the Linacre experience was meeting, and getting to question a current peer in the House of Lords. Exploring my subjects outside the curriculum during my stay in both Westminster and Cambridge gave me greater confidence and I’d like to work either for the Foreign and Commonwealth office or alternatively a think tank after university.