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Higher Education Conference and Information Evening 2024


Students in a workshop during the 2024 Higher Education Conference

This year’s two-day Higher Education conference gave students in the Lower Sixth the chance to find out more about the opportunities available to them after they leave Stockport Grammar.

The conference is organised to help students with their forthcoming applications for University, Higher and Degree level apprenticeships and the world of work.

Speakers from the universities of Nottingham, Manchester and Lancaster gave the Sixth Formers an insight into the world of student finance, provided tips on how to improve their prospects in the employment market and encouraged them to consider approaches to the completion of their personal statements.

Educational consultant Tom Whittaker, from The University Guys, also made them aware of the possibility of studying abroad.

A number of Old Stopfordians returned to school to speak about their experiences.

Craig Parsons (OS 2017) and Ben Haigh (OS 2014) headed to a Physics lab to talk about engineering.

Craig, who studied Aerospace Engineering at the University of Nottingham, now works at Solid Solutions whilst Ben, who is a Materials Scientist at Renishaw Additive Manufacturing, studied Materials Engineering at Swansea University.

Software Engineer and Durham University graduate Sam Arrowsmith (OS 2013) talked about Mathematics, Katie Hicks (OS 2020) spoke to students in Woodsmoor about her time studying Classical Civilisation at the University of Warwick, and Megan Callaghan (OS 2021) was in the Sports and Technology Centre to speak about apprenticeships having taken part in a Project Management Degree Apprenticeship with Siemens via University of Cumbria.

Solicitor Daisy Clear, Physiotherapist Ady Bevan, Architect Joe Ingham and University of Lancaster medical student Zainab Kolia also spoke about their chosen study and career paths.

SGS teaching staff were again willing to step share their insights through talks on their experience of the application process, their subjects of study, gap years and what the pupils have to look forward to at university. This enabled pupils to ask lots of questions about life beyond school.

Alongside the support given by departments and form tutors, each pupil works closely on an individual basis with their UCAS Adviser; a member of the teaching staff who, using their expertise and experience of the Higher Education application process, is able to offer pupils personalised support from the start of the process to pressing the button to send their application! The personalised support on offer also extends to those looking to study abroad, apply to Higher or Degree level apprenticeships or follow other pathways beyond school.

Specialist support for students aiming to apply to study at Oxford or Cambridge, or study Medicine, Veterinary Science or Dentistry continues with teacher-led sessions on a weekly basis.

These started in January to give the many students with these ambitions the very best preparation ahead of the start of the Apply 2025 application cycle in their preparations for admissions tests, the completion of written work and the challenge of interviews. This will continue for the remainder of this term and into the Autumn.

This year, for the first time since the pandemic, parents were invited into school at the end of day two for an evening of staff-led presentations linked to the conference sessions delivered to the students. Student finance, admissions tests and succeeding in the EPQ were just some of the topics addressed, alongside parents having the opportunity to meet and discuss with their son or daughter’s UCAS Adviser.

Reflecting on the 2024 conference, Head of Sixth Form Mr David Stone said: “The Higher Education conference is invaluable in assisting the students to get their head around what they can do once they receive their A-level results. Parents also had an important opportunity to consider how to best support their sons and daughters in looking ahead to life beyond school.

“The tips and advice that the Old Stops, visiting speakers, university representatives, and SGS staff members gave were really useful and mean that students and parents can approach their plans for life beyond SGS with confidence. Thank you to everyone involved over both days.”