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Higher Education conference provides invaluable insight

Lower Sixth pupils attended a two-day Higher Education conference held at the school to assist them with their forthcoming applications for University, Higher and Degree level apprenticeships and the world of work.

A series of talks, workshops and seminars led by our partners at leading universities, school staff and recent Old Stopfordians were organised to provide pupils with all the information they need in preparation for the application process.

Pupils were given information on details such as completing UCAS forms, personal statements and interview techniques and also met with their personal UCAS Advisors. In addition to the support given by departments and form tutors, each pupil works closely on an individual basis with their UCAS Advisor; 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.

Guest speakers included social entrepreneur Duncan McCombe, founder of Network Young, who addressed pupils on the theme of ‘Personal Branding and Reverse Engineering’; Jose Puello from the University of Manchester, who gave an insight on choosing the right subject and university; Matt Leigh from the Greater Manchester Learning Provider Network, who ran a workshop session introducing pupils to Higher and Degree level apprenticeships; Ania Partyka, from Liverpool John Moores University discussed student life; and Jonathan Bailey from the University of Nottingham ran a workshop on what universities are looking for from personal statements.

Alongside our guest speakers, our 2017 leavers also joined pupils to give talks on their experience of the application process, their subjects of study, gap years and the joys of university life. This enabled pupils to ask lots of questions about life beyond school.

The final part of the conference involved a number of workshops covering a wide range of issues with sessions on the likes of Oxbridge, Medical applications, Law, applying for overseas study and gap years.


Parents too were given the opportunity to find out more about the challenges that lie ahead during a Higher Education Information Evening, which included a comprehensive overview of student finance from Katie Muscat at the University of Manchester.

In reflecting on the success of this year’s conference, Head of Sixth Form Mr David Stone, said: “The conference changes slightly every year in response to the evolving nature of the Higher Education market and, thanks to the valued contributions of our guests, the positive engagement of the pupils, and expertise of the staff involved, our pupils are well set to move forward with confidence to the next stages of preparing for life after school.”