Ambition among young people in South Yorkshire shows no sign of wavering despite the growing cost of higher education, an academy’s new head of sixth form has revealed.
Matthew Holgate recently joined Trinity Academy, in Thorne, and says that students remain focused on going to university or into professional careers.
Trinity Academy has been praised by Ofsted for raising aspirations among young people in the former mining town, highlighted by the growth of its sixth form which this year has close to 300 students with a quarter coming from outside Thorne and Moorends.
Mr Holgate, who has moved to Thorne after ten years at Blue Coat Church of England School in Coventry, said he was attracted to Trinity for its ethos and the work already done to encourage students to aspire.
Many students from Trinity have become the first member of their family to go to university with a high proportion securing places at the country’s top institutions.
Mr Holgate explained: “As well as excellent teaching and pastoral support, outstanding facilities and superb enrichment activities, sixth form at Trinity aims to help students finish their time at school on a high note and to prepare them so they’re in a position to continue flourishing.
“To me, that’s the exciting thing about sixth form: it’s a launch pad for the future.”
He added: “The full impact of the rise in tuition fees is still to be seen, but students here remain very aspirational. The academy sets high targets and consequently students ‘think big’ and believe in themselves, so they’re not put off by any perceived barriers.”
Among new plans for the sixth form is a rewards programme that will recognise effort. Weekly meetings with Mr Holgate when sixth form representatives can share issues have already been introduced.
Extra enrichment activities including Japanese, motor vehicle maintenance and drama are on offer and, from September 2013, A level politics will be on the curriculum.
* Trinity Academy is hosting a sixth form open evening on Thursday, October 18 at 6pm and open mornings on December 1, January 26 and March 2 next year. For more information, tel: 01405 813000.