Hisham website pic v2

Hisham El Edrissi Reyahi

Oxford | PPE

The 2018-19 Crowd Scholar


From the Trustees

Hisham has been published in a philosophy journal, tutored refugees, and dreams of one day representing his country and honoring his Moroccan roots as a member of the Civil Service. In his interviews, Hisham sparkled as a determined, mature, and kind young man. As a result of his extraordinary achievements, Hisham has been named The 2018-19 Crowd Scholar.

  Subject Area


 Area of Interest


 Prospective Uni


Career Aspirations

Civil Service

Application Essay

Describe a role model of yours. After you explain who they are and why you look up to them, criticise a decision they have made.

My role model is Akala. Born Kingslee James McLean Daley in London, he is a rapper, activist and public intellectual. I look up to Akala for many reasons: his music is excellent, he is exceptionally knowledgeable, respectful and presents logical, well-researched arguments. 

Yet above all, I look up to Akala because he is a fearless voice; of equality, of heritage, of knowledge. He champions black and ethnic minority history and fights the legacy of colonialism in the erasure of copious amounts of history- my history, my friends’ history, our country’s history. He does it on the biggest stages. He fights bigotry and ignorance daily - whether it is that of Piers Morgan or Tommy Robinson, he exposes their fallacy, malice and lies, while not attacking them personally. He is an unprecedented voice that enriches whoever cares to listen- with exquisite tales, hard facts or thought-provoking dialogue depending on the occasion. 

Furthermore, he does this on stages that are not traditionally accessible to people like me and Akala. I would love nothing more than to emulate his success; to be as intelligent, as influential, as principled. Whether on Question Time, Good Morning Britain or Channel 4 he breaks down barriers, he sets an example that knowledge is powerful, that it’s ‘cool’. That a young man from a poor background can excel, can combat the status quo and can succeed in music while doing this. Akala means ‘immovable’ and he is the same in regard to his principles.

However, I must criticise a decision. On the 29th June 2016, Akala tweeted: “The way these d****** Labour MP's are snaking @jeremycorbyn eediat ting.”

While I recognise what he is doing, being politically active in a way that will engage the youth- especially those that wouldn’t traditionally be involved in politics- I found this a counter-productive way to do so. I have no issue with his use of colloquialisms, but for him to swear on Twitter (which I accept is minor) gives the people looking to discredit him ammunition. It was not a wise, calculated decision, not the dignified response of which I’ve seen him make many a time. Instead, he inadvertently fuelled racism and in the eyes of some, undermined his own credibility. The people who hate him and his ideas could write him off as just another ‘wannabe-gangster’ and similar necessarily racist conclusions.

In my opinion, to fight the system, to change the status quo, you must play the system. Akala is absolutely capable of playing the system- he makes irrefutable points backed up with iron logic, recent academic research and the facts and figures. I feel through his tweet he set himself back a step. 

That is OK. Nobody is perfect. It was not a malicious attack, nor a fatal error, but a slight miscalculation with positive intentions - to engage young, inner city youth by speaking their language. In fact, I respect him more now this question has made me truly realise he is not infallible.

Why Crowd Scholar?

The scholarship is an inestimable opportunity for me to pursue goals which I’m currently unable to. Primarily, it would ease the fear of debt which made me reconsider university. It would open doors I’ve attempted to break down; having previously applied to join the British-Moroccan Society. I was unable to because I couldn’t pay the £50 membership fee. Identity is incredibly close to my heart, in suburban Gateshead I was the only ethnic minority in my primary school. Having struggled with racism, identity and internal conflict for a long time I’m finally making ground. Associating with people like me and helping to bring about closer ties between my two countries would be a privilege.

I recognise my GCSE grades are not exceptional, yet I am proud of what I achieved in context. Following my parents messy divorce at a young age, I moved in with my grandparents for the introductory years of secondary school. This lack of stability and a crowded home was not necessarily conducive to academic success, and I felt myself playing ‘catch-up’ for many subsequent years.

I have settled into Sixth-Form life seamlessly; this didn’t occur in the years preceding my GCSEs. I discovered the power, the buzz, that learning can bring, and I am truly in love with it. Having applied to Oxford I was delighted to be offered a place. I was in the top 15% of admissions test scores. The scholarship would back me to devote time in holidays to research and writing. I have achieved great success, having an article published in ‘The Philosopher’- the Philosophical Society of England’s official journal. 

To win a scholarship would mean something I have seldom felt. To feel someone is behind you, believing in you, supporting you is both inspiring and reassuring.

Sociology - A*

A Level (Predicted)

Economics - A*

A Level (Predicted)

Biology - A

A Level (Predicted)

Biology - A*


Religious Studies - A*


English Literature - 8


German - A


History - A


Chemistry - A


Physical Education - B


Physics - B


Maths - 6


English Language - 6


Teacher Recommendation

I have known Hisham for two years. I taught him Year 12 and Year 13 Sociology. The first words that come to mind to describe Hisham are focused, determined, reflective, empathetic, passionate, humble, honest, gifted.  

Having taught Hisham Advanced Sociology, it is my pleasure to recommend him for the Crowd Scholarship to support his study of PPE at the University of Oxford.  Hisham is one of the most brilliant and dedicated students I have encountered in over twenty years of teaching. I have not known other students with the breadth of talent equivalent to Hisham, achieving so much academically outside his chosen courses. Hisham’s cohort ranking is first in both Economics and Sociology, and within the top three in Biology.  He consistently achieves A*/A grades across all three disciplines. Hisham epitomises the ideal student: native intelligence combined with superb work habits; an excellent listener and thoughtful speaker; and an original thinker. 

Hisham’s intellectual hunger for PPE is evident in his UCAS personal statement. He is proactive and driven. Hisham immerses himself in areas relating to his chosen academic field, voluntarily attending lectures and summer schools, entering academic competitions and submitting work for publication.  This is all of his own volition. His published work in “The Philosopher” sat alongside university lecturers and journalists. Hisham is humble about his achievements, and recently came second in the Jack Grassby Essay prize in public philosophy. Hisham pursues academic understanding beyond what is taught in the classroom and the syllabus’ he covers. 

Hisham’s work experience with a local MP, and as a trainee market analyst at Reeves Independent financial advisors demonstrates his commitment and determination. Hisham is reflective, willing to listen and engage with any theory or concept he is presented with. He enjoys a challenge and isn’t fixed or dogmatic in his approach.  

While there is logic and purpose in his intellectual ability, there is evidence of analysis and evaluation.  Hisham has outstanding memory and excellent recall skills. He enjoys applying theory to contemporary issues and his understanding of current affairs is refreshing. For example, within a module on Belief, Hisham analysed how religion inhibits change, yet also inspires rebellion.  He skilfully referenced historical examples including the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and more recently the paradox of fundamentalist extremism encouraging change, yet maintaining traditionalism. He expertly applied sociological theory to contemporary references. In addition, his study of Weber, evaluated the role of belief in shaping capitalist principles.

Hisham is amiable and popular among his colleagues. He shows great consideration and deep respect for others.  There is humility and self-awareness in Hisham, illustrating great emotional intelligence. In addition to his academic pursuits, Hisham plays for West Jesmond FC and was a key member of the title winning team. He is a natural, yet understated leader. Hisham’s evidence in support of his Crowd Scholarship application demonstrates his intellectual hunger, determination and ambition. Hisham is proud of his heritage and one of the finest students within sixth form in recent memory.  Hisham’s potential for the future is exciting. This opportunity will undoubtedly benefit Hisham, allowing him the space to pursue areas highlighted within his supporting statement. I give Hisham my highest recommendation and couldn’t think of a more suitable candidate.


Teacher, Heaton Manor School

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