More than a handful of the pupils who attend Eton College hail from estates of the palatial variety, but few will have visited the inner-city Newcastle estate that Tyrese George calls home. He doesn’t have the might of the old boy network behind him but he has earned a full scholarship to the £34,434-a-year school nevertheless.
How did he do that?
Tyrese, 11, from Byker – the area made famous by BBC children’s soap Byker Grove – impressed masters at the school with his all-round ability – and his talent for rapping.
What does Tyrese have that other boys don’t?
The youngster became desperate to attend the Berkshire school after watching a TV programme about it. “He sent off for a brochure himself [and] went to Eton at the end of May to sit lots of exams and have interviews,” said Linda Bradley, headteacher of Byker Primary School, which Tyrese currently attends. “He’s a rapper so he did some of that as well,” she added.
Was the school suitably impressed?
Well, scholarships don’t get handed out to just anyone. He will begin boarding aged 13. He must take and pass an entrance exam in 2017, but his school and mother have been told this is a formality.
Is Tyrese ready to say goodbye to Byker?
“Windsor will be different from Byker, but I am sure I will be able to fit in,” said Tyrese, who wants to be a lawyer when he grows up. He added: “I will miss Byker a lot, and I will miss my mum and my brother… But I know that I will have lots of opportunities at Eton.”
What does his family make of his ambitions?
His mother Tammy Bate, 38, said: “Tyrese has always done well at school, and when he told me he wanted to go to Eton I never doubted him. I just knew he had what it takes.” The care worker added: “I am going to miss him like crazy, he is my little man, but I know what he wants. I am very proud of him.”