Year 12 pupils at Kingsbury Green Academy have received specialist workshops from the Wessex Inspiration Network in order to develop their skills, confidence and independence in readiness for university and their following careers.

The programme, Four Steps to Higher Education, helps pupils understand what life is like at university through introducing them to a variety of student ambassadors, as well as giving them the opportunity to develop and apply critical thinking skills.  They are also supported to see how their own personality traits, skills and interests can help them choose the right Higher Education course for them, as well as their future career.


The ability to think critically is a sought-after skill for many employers, as well as one of the attributes that smooths the transition from school learning to the more analytical and independent learning required at university.  The interactive workshops delivered in the programme, accessing technology through their mobile phones, taught them to slow down their thinking to be able to introduce reflections and improve their understanding and so what they might do as a result.  It taught them to challenge assumptions and use critical thinking as a way to solve problems.


Year 12 pupil Niall attended the programme, he explained: “The programme was good, it cleared up a lot of things, like the concept of critical thinking.  I thought it was just something to use at school rather than in life but now I can see how it applies to social situations and jobs too.  The session with the ambassadors really helped as it made me understand better about how to apply for university and so it took away some of the anxiety I had.”


Principal of Kingsbury Green Academy, Jason Tudor, said: “The idea of applying to university, as well as potentially moving away to live and learn independently can be a very daunting concept at 16 and 17 years of age.  By taking part in programmes such as Steps into HE our pupils have the opportunity to find out more directly from current university students who understand how they might be thinking and feeling.  Through this, we hope to empower pupils to see higher education opportunities as attainable for them.


“By teaching them skills like critical thinking, pupils are much better prepared not only for their own study, now and at university, but they also understand and can demonstrate valuable skills that employers look for and that will put them ahead of their peers when it comes to securing jobs in the future.”


The Wessex Inspiration Network works with schools and universities across Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset, and North Somerset to increase social mobility by raising awareness of Higher Education opportunities and progression pathways for young people.  Four Steps to HE Project Officer Rachel Lillywhite added: “Our programme aims to equip young people to adapt to the future demands of an ever-changing world.  We were blown away by the talent and engagement students at Kingsbury Green Academy and have no doubt in their future successes.”


Kingsbury Green Academy is part of the Ascend Learning Trust, for more information visit