Students and teachers from across the country attended AQA’s Guildford and Manchester offices for the launch of this year's AQA Unlocking Potential.
AQA Unlocking Potential is a mentoring programme we run in partnership with the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust. The programme, led by world-class athletes, is for students aged 11–19 years old, and is targeted at young people facing challenging personal circumstances whose teachers believe they would benefit considerably from additional support.
The 2019/20 programme began with a day of activity at our Guildford and Manchester sites. The events were run by the athletes and staff from the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, assisted by the very willing and enthusiastic AQA volunteers.
The day started with a short presentation for the students and teachers. This was followed by a series of ice-breaker games led by the athlete mentors, designed to get everyone active and the students engaging with each other and the AQA volunteers right from the start.
In the afternoon session, the students had the opportunity to sit down with their mentors and hear more about how the challenges they have faced in their own careers have helped them to overcome adversity and deal with difficult situations.
Janice Norman, a teacher from Park Community School in Portsmouth, said:
"We had such an amazing day. The students loved it and we are raring to go!"
And one student commented "I’ve had the best day ever" and "I can't believe I've been selected. Thank you so much!"
AQA volunteer Jenny Weaver, who was volunteering for the first time, added:
"I joined AQA in the summer and this was my first experience of Unlocking Potential. It was a fun day, we played games to help the students get to know each other and it was lovely to see them gain confidence over time.
"I had the chance to listen to former UK boxing champion Hannah Beharry speak with students in the afternoon and she really is inspiring. I hope they’ll get a lot out of the mentoring programme. I loved their energy and I’m looking forward to seeing what they achieve over the coming months."
The students will be on their own journey over the next eight months. They will receive regular mentoring from the athletes and work towards a community social action project, culminating in a celebration of their achievements at an event at London Zoo next July.
Visit the AQA Unlocking Potential webpage for more information on the programme.