Gower College Swansea has welcomed over 250 learners to the Gorseinon campus for the launch of the HE+ programme* for 2017/18.
Gower College Swansea, at the invitation of and in collaboration with, the University of Cambridge, is the ‘hub’ institution in the Swansea HE+ Consortium, working with the seven state sixth-form schools in the City and County of Swansea.
This year’s launch event saw students from the college and the schools attend a talk given by Nick Williams, Chief Education Officer for Swansea, and Dr Jonathan Padley, Widening Participation Officer at Churchill College Cambridge**.
The students were then able to look around the campus facilities and meet the teaching staff from a range of subject areas including English, geography, history, law, politics, economics, business, psychology, science and maths.
“HE+, which is now in its sixth year at Gower College Swansea, aims to develop students’ academic skills and inspire them to aim as high as possible when making their university choices,” says the college’s Oxbridge Tutor Felicity Padley.
“Students on the HE+ programme attend monthly extension classes on post-syllabus academic content and have the chance to visit the University of Cambridge and its constituent colleges.”
“The numbers of students progressing from Gower College Swansea to Russell Group Universities - these being 24 of the leading universities in the UK - has steadily increased, from 136 in 2014 to 175 in 2017. This year alone, our students are moving on to no less than 19 of these 24 universities, including four going to Cambridge and two to Oxford.”
The Swansea HE+ consortium is supported by the Welsh Government’s Seren Network Programme, which is a series of regional hubs aiming to help Wales’ brightest Year 12 students fulfil their academic potential.
Dr Padley will return to the College later in the week to provide a further session on behalf of the Seren Network – giving advice and guidance to students on making competitive applications to universities, how to prepare for interviews and how to put together a strategy for successful progression to a top HE institution.
* Established in 2010, the University of Cambridge’s HE+ programme encourages and prepares academically high-achieving state school students to make competitive applications to top universities. The programme sees the University and its Colleges working with groups of state schools and colleges in fifteen regions to engage their best students in a sustained year-long programme. This includes academic extension classes, subject masterclasses, information and guidance sessions, and visits to the University.
** Dr Jonathan Padley has strong links to South Wales. In the 1990s, he studied at Bishop Gore School in Swansea. Earlier in his career, he lectured at Gorseinon College and he’s also worked at Coleg Sir Gâr. In addition to his role at Cambridge, Dr Padley is an Honorary Research Associate at Swansea University and from 2013-15, he was seconded part-time to the Department for Education and Skills at the Welsh Government, working on the Oxbridge Ambassador for Wales project and the subsequent implementation of its key policy recommendation, the Seren Network. In his capacity as Widening Participation Officer at Churchill College, Cambridge, Dr Padley regularly visits schools in South Wales and welcomes students to Cambridge.