TEENAGERS keen to test their intellect at an esteemed Oxford school have been gifted two years of education through a special bursary.

Earlier this year St Edward's School in Summertown announced the new Oxford Times IB 50th Anniversary Bursary, in partnership with this paper, providing two Oxfordshire state pupils a free place as a day pupil in its sixth form.

The bursary covered the cost of studying the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme from next September, as a rigorous alternative to A-Levels.

Candidates proved to be so impressive that the school selected three students rather than two, and told the trio the good news last week.

Rowan Bisp, from Witney, is among the winners.

The 15-year-old, who is currently at the Henry Box School, said: "I feel incredibly fortunate to have been chosen for the award.

"The IB is going to develop a wide expanse of knowledge and skills and I cannot wait to begin my journey.

"I am really looking forward to getting involved with all of the extracurricular opportunities at St Edward's and becoming a part of their community."

Her parents Karen and Matthew Bisp said: "We feel St Edward's School will open many doors, especially as there are so many subjects Rowan enjoys.

"Rowan enjoys challenges and the chance of joining a new school where discussing, debating and developing her learning, as well as diverse extracurricular activities, will provide a wonderful opportunity we never thought would be possible."

Also joining Teddies via the bursary next year will be Archie Bailey, from Thame.

The 16-year-old, currently a pupil at Lord Williams's School, said: "I am looking forward to studying the IB as it will enable me to focus on my favourite subjects while still developing my Maths and English skills.

"The other aspects of the IB sound really challenging and will develop useful qualities for university."

His parents Lindsay and Julian Bailey added: "We are really excited about the experience St Edward's sixth form will offer Archie.

"We know he will make the most of the amazing opportunity he has been given."

The other successful candidate is Pippa Patterson, a pupil at The Marlborough School in Woodstock.

Woodstock resident Pippa, 16, said: "I am very excited to be joining St Edward’s in September and delighted to be awarded the scholarship.

"The IB will be both interesting and a great opportunity, allowing me to achieve my dream of attending university and studying to become a vet."

Her parents Gary and Samantha Brock said they are 'exceptionally proud', adding: "We know she will enjoy the amazing opportunities and academic experiences offered by the school and are looking forward to sharing her academic development over the next two years.

"We greatly appreciate the opportunity."

Applications launched in March and pupils had to meet criteria including a cap on family income.

St Edward's warden (headmaster) Stephen Jones said: "One thing the final three have in common is extraordinary enthusiasm.

"If you study the IB and work at it, really plug away at it, you will get an outstanding outcome."

The bursary was launched in March to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the IB, and entries closed in October.