From Oriel to Tiffin: meet the two boys admitted to prestigious grammar school

One loves Alex Rider books and consistently scores top marks on his maths tests, the other read The Hobbit when he was just 10 and also has a passion for numbers.

Now the academic prowess of Siddarth Nair and Ishaan Thakur has earned them both places at the prestigious Tiffin School.

The 11-year-old boys applied to the outstanding grammar school earlier this year, after sitting and passing entrance examinations and will start this September.

The youngsters and their families are the first to credit Oriel Academy in Feltham, west London, for nurturing their academic ability and allowing them to succeed.

Although both are exceptionally able and talented pupils, the academy, which is part of the Aspirations Academies Trust, ensured the boys were challenged during lessons and provided with exciting extra-curricular clubs and stimulating homework tasks.

Ishaan has attended Oriel since Year 1, when his family relocated to the area. His mother, Monika, who is an accountant said: “From a very early age, he has always been very keen about mathematics. And now, he is even teaching me a lot of things!

“He has always performed well and is quick to learn things, so I have always told him to learn more things, and now he is very keen to work.

“He used to want to be an engineer. But because of the coronavirus, he now wants to become a doctor so that he can help people and serve the community.”

This notable growth in confidence has been echoed in Siddarth’s Oriel Academy journey, since he joined the academy in 2018.

His mother, Mahalakshmi, was the first to notice a dramatic improvement in his confidence and self-belief.

She said: “Because of the encouragement that Siddarth has received at Oriel, his confidence has grown and he is extremely happy.”

Siddarth also read impressive and complex texts from an early age, including conquering The Hobbit when he was just 10.

His mother, who is a software engineer, said: “He was quick with numbers and he used to read from an early age. That came from his sister, because she loved to read and he would follow her.

“The children enjoy reading because we have a habit of going to the library every week. That is one favourite pastime that we share as a family” she added.

Outside of school, Siddarth enjoys all varieties of sports, including football, cricket, badminton, tennis and cycling, and has thoroughly enjoyed the sports clubs that pupils are able to enjoy at Oriel Academy.

Mahalakshmi added: “It is important that children have discipline to study every day. He completes a few hours of work when he gets in from school each day, and then he is free to play or do whatever he wants to do afterwards.”

Sam Webb, Ishaan’s Year 6 Class Teacher, said: “Ishaan is great with numbers, he would regularly get 40/40 on his arithmetic test. He would always finish them with time to spare as well, fastest in the class.

“Throughout lessons, we embed challenging tasks which target and extend our gifted and talented students, whilst encouraging them to develop independence.

“Programmes such as Accelerated Reader have allowed us to improve our gifted and talented pupils’ reading ages, whilst exposing them to more difficult reading materials so that they are excelling in their reading skills.

“For example, Ishaan has been reading the Alex Rider series, which is targeted at teens and young adults.

“Our homework is differentiated so that our more able students were provided with more ambitious tasks for them to complete at home.

“Oriel offers a wide range of extra-curricular activities such as sports, music and STEM which support students in widening their skill set.”

Ms Webb added: “All of us at Oriel are so proud of Ishaan and Sid’s achievement. I admit I was not surprised by this accomplishment due to their continuous commitment to their learning attitude, it is well deserved!”

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