Sandy, Stratton and Samual Whitbread upper schools sign up to project to help get more students into top universities

Partners include the University of Bedfordshire – as well as Oxford and Cambridge

By Lynn Hughes
Wednesday, 3rd August 2022, 1:04 pm

Upper schools in Chronicle Country have signed up to a project to help students gain university places.

Sandy Secondary School, Stratton Upper in Biggleswade and Samuel Whitbread Academy in Clifton are among a dozen schools across the county to take part.

The project, Raising Sixth Form Aspirations, aims to increase the number of young people securing places at some of the country’s top universities and improve the chances of students going to both traditional and modern universities.

Students throw their caps in the air ahead of their graduation ceremony. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

It also hopes to increase the number gaining places on top medical and veterinary science courses and higher-level degree apprenticeship schemes.

The three-year project is the brainchild of Professor Lee Hubbard, Head of Academia at Samuel Whitbread Academy, which is part of the Bedfordshire Schools Trust (BEST).

He will be leading on the project alongside Yvonne Ashby, Head of Careers at the Wootton Academy Trust, and Nigel Croft, Education Consultant and formerly Head Teacher of Redborne Upper School.

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Professor Hubbard said: “The project is based on my work over the last three years at Samuel Whitbread. The aim is to help to raise the aspirations of our young people, improve their personal statements and interview skills, as well as their communication, organisation and problem-solving techniques.”

Sponsored by the Connolly Foundation – which will be distributing grants of £3,000 per year to schools involved, in order for them to lead on the project in-house – partner institutions include the University of Bedfordshire, Oxford and Cambridge Universities, Cranfield University and Cranfield’s MK:U platform. Further support and resources will be provided by BEST and the Meridian Trust.

The project was officially launched at a special event held at the University of Bedfordshire earlier this month, attended by head teachers and sixth form leaders from participating schools. Work will get under way in earnest in the new academic year in September.

David Seaton, Assistant Director of Student Recruitment & Admissions at the University of Bedfordshire, commented: “We’re extremely proud to be supporting our local schools and colleges through this collaboration. It will give prospective students the opportunity to access higher education in their home region and inform them of the variety of learning and apprenticeship paths they can choose to experience, which will all help towards their future careers.”