“The most important factor of this new scheme is that it is telling the state school children that studying at Oxbridge is an option if you work hard enough to get the grades.“It makes it more realistic for them. It’s giving them that piece of knowledge that, although Oxbridge is difficult to get into, it’s difficult based on your academic performance. “It’s not elitist in the sense that your background will determine whether you get in or not. What will determine it is your work ethic and your results. I think that’s something sport and rowing can help teach them.”Mr O’Connor added: “I think sport is a wholesome and true thing that people can unite around and people can show interest in. Being fast at rowing isn’t determined about the background you come from.“Rowing is the vehicle we can use break down all those perceived social barriers.” Pictured rowing on the world famous Dorney Lake, Schuyler started Eton College in SeptemberCredit:Geoff Pugh for the Telegraph Now the charity’s CEO, Steve O’Connor, has launched a new scheme that pairs up some of the UK’s most challenged schools with individual Oxford and Cambridge colleges in an effort to “demystify Oxbridge” and encourage more state school students to apply.Burlington Academy in White City and Trinity College Oxford are the first pair in the club’s new project.Students aged 13 to 16 visit the College three times a year for residential weekends and day trips where they have are coached in rowing by Trinity students, get application advice from Oxford tutors and go on tours of the world famous campus. “There wasn’t much diversity in the outreach for rowing. So it never seemed like something I would or could do. I think that’s because, coming from my background, there is not as much of an outreach for it.“I am so glad I found rowing. It has helped me massively in terms of focus and my confidence. It has also opened so many doors for me. I never expected to get anywhere like Eton – it wasn’t even in the corner of my mind.“I would absolutely love to go to Oxbridge and I definitely think rowing could help me get there.” Students from Burlington Academy in White City pictured visiting Trinity College at Oxford University last yearCredit:Fulham Reach Boat Club Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Students from Burlington Academy visiting the library at Trinity College Oxford whilst going to the university on a rowing residential Credit:Fulham Reach Boat Club Mr O’Connor said: “Rowing as a sport is perceived as very elitist and we started our whole charity because there are real barriers of entry at the junior level. We want to open up access for state school students and get them rowing. Schuyler now has his sights set on attending Oxbridge and believes rowing can help him get there Credit:Geoff Pugh for the Telegraph A 12-year-old who was denied a place at a state school won an Eton College scholarship after learning how to row.The charity that introduced him to the sport is now aiming to get more working class children into Oxbridge.Schuyler Audley-Williams, now 14, grew up on the White City Estate in Hammersmith and failed to get into any state secondary schools of his choice due to oversubscription.After the council eventually offered him a place at a school that was deemed to be failing by Ofsted, his parents were then left little choice but to homeschool him.It was during this time that his father, Harry Audley-Williams, took him to visit Fulham Reach Boat Club, a charity based in west London that was set up four years ago to challenge the “very elitist” perception of rowing by offering free lessons to local state school children.Within one year of getting in one of their boats, Schuyler broke two under-12 British rowing records and secured a full sports scholarship to Eton College. Schuyler, now a full-time boarder at the top private school, told the Telegraph: “I found out about rowing after my dad saw an advert for Fulham Reach Boat Club. I really didn’t know anything about rowing at that point.