A pair of students from one of the most deprived areas in the country have shared their excitement at earning scholarships to Kings College, Wimbledon.

Alexia Kieya and Swatiya Montaha, both 15, will walk in the footsteps of names such as Hollywood star Ben Barnes when they join the school later this year.

Swatiya, a Bangladeshi immigrant, will study A Levels in maths, further maths and economics on a £43,000 scholarship.

She said: “When I visited the school it was like nothing I had seen before; it was like out of a film.

“I am but surprised to have got this scholarship. Yes, I worked hard but sometimes you feel like you don’t deserve it. Because it such a massive opportunity.

Alexia will study A Levels in politics, English literature and philosophy at on a £43,000 scholarship.

She added: "This is just a dream come true for me.

"This school has the most incredible resources and the students get so many opportunities.

“It is going to change my life, there can be no doubt about that.

"My family are so proud of me, I am proud of me. I have done something incredible."

Both girls are coming from The Cumberland School in Plaistow, an area blighted by gangs, run a scholarship programme which helps students win places at top fee-paying schools.

The scheme is exclusively for students from deprived families with most from immigrant backgrounds and surviving on benefits.

The successful students all came through gruelling selection process which included entrance exams, interviews and public debates before being offered places.

Fees will be paid by the private schools.