Stretch & Challenge 2019

High achieving students at The Sixth Form College, Solihull attended a Stretch & Challenge Summer School this week, as they prepare to apply for some of the most competitive university courses in the country.

Students highlighted as likely to achieve the highest grades were invited to attend this two-day event aimed at stretching their learning and getting them thinking about their future.

Subject sessions ran in Psychology, Physics, Economics, Politics, Sociology, Criminology, Music, Visual Arts, Business, Media, IT, Geography, Geology, History, Biology, Chemistry, Languages, Maths, Sport, Health & Social Care, RS and Philosophy. There were guest speakers from Higher Education and industry present to highlight careers and progression and to stretch the students’ thinking beyond the classroom.

Aston Martin talk

Among the visitors were Abi Pacaud from Mott MacDonald and Sam Holgate from Aston Martin, who talked to students about Civil Engineering and Mechanical & Design Engineering respectively. Abi also spoke about studying at Oxford University, while Sam spoke about his work on the car used in the James Bond film “Spectre”. Students also got a taste of Oxford, as Dr Lucinda Rumsey (who recently received an MBE for services to social mobility) from Mansfield College, Oxford attended to talk about applying to Oxford. She also delivered a separate session to English students about the ELAT tests. Kevin Hoffin from Birmingham City University delivered a workshop that challenged Sociology and Criminology students to question how crime is portrayed in the media, but in particular in comics. Meanwhile, Dr Steve Hewitt from the History Department at Birmingham University talked about ‘Terrorising History. The Long History of Terrorism’.

Test sessions ran for students applying for course that require them to sit addition entrance exams, including in History, English, Medicine, Law and Mathematics. Students also attended a lecture on selecting the right course and the right university with the College Careers Co-ordinator Emma Podmore.

Feedback from students was overwhelmingly positive, including the following comments from student Iqra:

“The test sessions were enjoyable and stimulating, showing the different topics that I could pursue. The subject sessions allowed me to experience how that specific subject would be like at university.”

“I feel more comfortable and confident to apply to university and I am more excited to do so. I am grateful that I was included on this Stretch and Challenge course and wish there were more in the future. I enjoyed it very much and it made it clearer for me to understand what I am aiming for.”

Assistant Principal Zoe Bereza commented:

“We had approximately 70 students in attendance at the Summer School this year. Most of them are contemplating very competitive courses at prestigious Russell Group universities and this event was aimed at giving them a head start on their applications. We hope that this is the beginning of preparing them to make the best applications they can so they can achieve their potential and move onto the right destination for them.”

21 June 2019