Northern Education Trust

Working to fulfil the potential of young people

One Year On Aspirations Programme is Helping Students to Imagine Their Future

28th Sep 2016

One Year On Aspirations Programme is Helping Students to Imagine Their Future

(L to R): Charlotte Bradley, Sally Holt, Beth Scott, Andrew Murphy

One year after its launch, the Aspirations Programme, created by Hartlepool?s Dyke House Sports & Technology College (Dyke House), is already making tremendous progress in helping students to reach out for career success.

To mark the occasion, a celebratory event was recently held at Durham University?s Hatfield College, to reflect on the successful first year of the Aspirations Programme. The programme is led by current research and focuses on students who are most able but least likely to go on to higher education.

The Aspirations Programme was created to provide information, opportunities and support for pupils, parents and staff in order to raise aspiration and achievement throughout Dyke House College and its cluster primary schools. It is co-ordinated by Sally Holt, a former graduate of St Chad?s College, who was inspired to get involved after she witnessed the creative and innovative approach Dyke House has to solving problems. Sally also organised and spoke at the event.

She said, ?We work with pupils, forging coherent progression pathways which enable them to compete with their privately educated and advantaged peers.

?In a society where the most vulnerable are 55 times less likely to progress to Oxbridge, compared to their independent school peers and in an area with one of the greatest progression gaps in the country, our pupils cannot imagine a future career path, for they do not know the opportunities available to them. It is the vision of the Aspirations Programme to imagine for our students - to imagine better for them. By converting that imagination into action, that truly is power.?

The programme has already produced two success stories with former Dyke House pupil Beth Scott, and current pupil Charlotte Bradley.

Beth is the first student to go to medical school from the first cohort of pupils completing their A ? levels at Dyke House?s Sixth Form which opened in 2014 and is due to start at Newcastle University to study medicine. Speaking at the event she explained how the programme exceeded her expectations. ?I decided to get involved because it seemed like an opportunity that was too good to miss. I have been able to develop a much wider variety of skills that I wouldn?t have had access to without the programme. Also, visiting different universities really inspired me to want to be part of it ? hence my ambition to go to medical school!?

Charlotte also speaks of the opportunities the Aspirations Programme provided for her, ?I have had the opportunity to visit so many different universities and have learnt so much about topics I never even knew existed. I have been able to ask questions about my future to people who are experts in their field of work. I plan to finish Dyke House with as many A*s as possible in order to go onto study Law, Psychology, Maths and Politics at Dyke House?s 6th form. I would love to get a place at York or Durham university to study a law course and then go on to become a lawyer?.

The event was introduced by Professor Anthony Bash, Vice Master of Hatfield College. He said:

?I have always believed that by investing in one or two, we can reach the many. It is a privilege to have a partnership with a school like Dyke House and we look forward to what the future may hold?.

This year the Aspirations Programme has engaged with 62% of students from years 7-12 in the Dyke House area, with hopes of increasing this percentage in the future. It is evident that educational disadvantage is not faceless at Dyke House and the Aspirations Programme is determined to pursue its vision to see every child maximise their potential.

Andrew Murphy, Head of Dyke House College added, ?It is only when this truly occurs that students will have the opportunity to be the leaders of the future?.

Dyke House is sponsored by the Northern Education Trust, a multi-academy trust which operates 20 academies throughout the North of England.