Almost 200 young people recently gathered at Gower College Swansea’s Gorseinon campus to gain specialist advice on applying to top universities.
The talk, given by Dr Jonathan Padley, Fellow and Admissions Tutor at Churchill College Cambridge, focussed on how to put together a strong application when applying to an Oxbridge or Russell Group institution.
A Level students from the College were joined by pupils from Bishop Gore School, Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bryn Tawe, Morriston Comprehensive School, Olchfa Comprehensive School and Ysgol Gyfun Gŵyr.
“To have the chance to speak to so many young people at one event was fantastic,” says Jonathan. “It gave me the opportunity to give advice and encouragement as well as explain in some detail the process to follow when applying to a university where competition to gain admission can be extremely intense.”
Gower College Swansea, at the invitation of and in collaboration with, the University of Cambridge, is the ‘hub’ institution in the Swansea HE+ Consortium, working with the seven state sixth-form schools in the City and County of Swansea.
The Swansea HE+ consortium is supported by the Welsh Government’s Seren Network Programme, which is a series of regional hubs aiming to help Wales’ brightest Year 12 students fulfil their academic potential.
Established in 2010, the University of Cambridge’s HE+ programme encourages and prepares academically high-achieving state school students to make competitive applications to top universities. The programme sees the University and its Colleges working with groups of state schools and colleges in fifteen regions to engage their best students in a sustained year-long programme. This includes academic extension classes, subject masterclasses, information and guidance sessions and visits to the University.
Dr Jonathan Padley has strong links to South Wales. In the 1990s, he studied at Bishop Gore School in Swansea. Earlier in his career, he lectured at Gorseinon College and he’s also worked at Coleg Sir Gâr. In addition to his role at Cambridge, Dr Padley is an Honorary Research Associate at Swansea University and from 2013-15, he was seconded part-time to the Department for Education and Skills at the Welsh Government, working on the Oxbridge Ambassador for Wales project and the subsequent implementation of its key policy recommendation, the Seren Network. In his capacity as Fellow and Admissions Tutor at Churchill College, Cambridge, Dr Padley regularly visits schools in South Wales and welcomes students to Cambridge.
Photo: Chris Costello