Two Oundle pupils receive top awards in 2014 Pre-U Exam series
1st October 2014

Malayandi Palaniappan and Ellie Cook from Oundle School have received awards from Cambridge International Examinations, acknowledging their outstanding performances in achieving the highest mark in the country for Cambridge Pre-U Economics (Malayandi) and Chemistry (Eleanor) in the June 2014 public examinations.


The two pupils were amongst 28 pupils who achieved the highest marks in their Pre-U subjects. All award winners were rewarded with an official certificate from Cambridge recognising their achievement. These awards celebrate the fifth examination series of Cambridge Pre-U and recognise the exceptional performance of those learners who excelled.

Oundle has offered the Cambridge Pre-U since its inception in 2008 and 2014 marked the School’s largest-ever Pre-U cohort. Each year there are around 200 entries for the qualification in nine academic subjects; Chemistry, Chinese, Economics, English Literature, German, History, History of Art, Italian and Physics.

In some cases it is offered alongside the A-level course and in other cases, as an alternative. In addition to both A Levels and the Pre-U, all Lower Sixth pupils are required to choose from a range of Extension Courses, designed to encourage intellectual curiosity and develop independent research skills. Around half of the year group usually submit an Extended Project. 

Director of Studies at Oundle School, Benjamin Evans commented, “These achievements recognise the talent, dedication and commitment of both pupils and staff.

 Our philosophy of education in the Sixth Form is driven by learning rather than by assessment. We believe that in general, pupils are best placed to be successful in examinations at the end of two years of study, by which time they will have gained a thorough appreciation, understanding and interest in their chosen subjects. 

While some subjects are emphatically more ‘modular’ than others, we feel that compartmentalisation of knowledge can be unhelpful in some cases. Links between certain subject areas are best made via a clear build-up of ideas and this is achieved more effectively with a linear approach.

Elements of the Pre-U school pupils particularly well in the skills of independent research and thus prepare them well for university work. The Pre-U also offers pupils a chance to secure a ‘D1’ grade, which is above the A* at A Level.  Over twenty D1 grades have been achieved at Oundle in both 2013 and 2014; these pupils would not have been recognised in this manner were they to be assessed via an A- level.”

Ellie achieved the equivalent of 5A*s at A level in Chemistry, English, Maths, Further Maths and Physics and Malayandi achieved the equivalent of 4A*s at A Level in Economics, Maths, Further Maths and Physics; he also achieved an A* for his Extended Project. 

Michael O’Sullivan, Chief Executive, Cambridge International Examinations said:

“Congratulations to the two Oundle pupils who have worked so hard to achieve this success in their Cambridge examinations.  Topping the list of excellent candidates in a Cambridge Pre-U subject is a performance of the very highest calibre. On behalf of Cambridge International Examinations I offer sincere congratulations for these outstanding achievements.”


160 UK independent and state schools now teach Cambridge Pre-U, which is recognised by universities in the UK and a growing number in the US, including all Ivy League colleges.

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