Eight students from across Rhondda Cynon Taf have gained offers from two of the country’s most prestigious universities.
Six offers have been received from Oxford University and two from Cambridge University, with around one-quarter of those applicants applying being successful.
A regional launch of the Welsh Government’s nationwide Seren Network Hub in 2015 was hosted by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council at the University of South Wales Conference Centre at Treforest.
The initiative aims to offer support and guidance to those students who are seeking top university places in a bid to fulfil their academic potential.
More than 20 schools and colleges in Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil currently make up the Hub, supported by Welsh Government, local government and leading universities.
Cllr Eudine Hanagan, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “I am delighted with the offer of eight places at both Cambridge and Oxford universities, thanks to the hard work of each young person involved and our teachers and lecturers.
“I hope this is just the beginning for our highest-achieving students across the County Borough and that it acts as inspiration for more young people across RCT.
“The Seren Network Hub involves our schools and colleges working together with partners, sharing resources and experience, to develop a programme of support.
“Teachers and lecturers are united in their ambition to deliver a co-ordinated programme of activity for high-achievers, designed to strengthen and challenge individuals beyond the A-Level curriculum.
“The Seren Network Hub is already providing results as our students are able to enhance their knowledge and skills alongside a keen group of high achieving students.
“They have access to information about leading UK universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, to ensure that they are provided with the most up-to-date information, advice and support, along with lectures from some of the country’s leading academics in order to make their university and course choices.”
Stephen Parry-Jones, who co-ordinates the Seren Network Hub for pupils in Rhondda Cynon Taf, said: “For some years, a dedicated group of teachers and lecturers involved in university admissions have worked hard to encourage more of our students to apply to the most competitive universities, and this work is now coming to fruition.
“‘We are not yet where we want to be, but these eight offers are taking us in the right direction.”