AQA Unlocking Potential returns for its 12th year!

Published: Friday 1 Dec 2023

AQA Unlocking Potential returned for its twelfth year with a week of fantastic launch events.

Over 100 students and their teachers, from all across the country, joined us at our offices in Guildford, Milton Keynes and Manchester for the launch of the 2023/24 programme.

Now bigger than ever, with 30 schools enrolled, AQA Unlocking Potential is a transformational mentoring programme for students from 11–19 years of age, delivered by world class athletes from the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust. It aims to bring out the best in young people so that they can achieve their goals.

The launch events give students the chance to meet the athlete mentors they will be working with and the other young people on the programme. It also gives them the opportunity to find out what they will be doing over the next eight months.

After introductions from the athletes, the day began with some interactive games to inject some energy into the room and get everyone moving. This was followed by group challenges, where students were mixed into teams with those from other schools, to develop teamwork and problem-solving skills.

Unlocking Potential students taking part in icebreaker games

Students taking part in icebreaker games

They were also joined by the AQA volunteers, AQA staff that had given up their time to assist with these events, and Dame Kelly Holmes Trust staff.

In the afternoon sessions, the athlete mentors shared their own stories of overcoming adversity and challenges they faced in sport and in their personal lives.

Hannah Beharry, former GB Boxer, European boxing champion and athlete mentor, shared her inspiring and harrowing journey to become a champion boxer. From her troubled youth to the prejudices she faced to become one of the first professional female boxers and one of the first women to represent their country.

The athlete mentors will visit the schools to work with their students over the next eight months, to develop their confidence, improve their self-belief and help them to reach their full potential.

And in four months, in March next year, we will welcome them back for the mid-point events. They will present the plans for their social action projects to a Dragon’s Den style panel made up of AQA executives, as well as executives and trustees from the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust.

Bryony Bailey, English Teacher and EAL Coordinator at Chorlton High School, said:

“The AQA Unlocking Potential programme has been such a positive experience for some of our most vulnerable children. The opportunity to work closely with inspirational mentors and to achieve success in areas that seemed unattainable before is a game-changer.

“Watching these young people step up to the best versions of themselves is one of the highlights of my job!

“Thank you so much to the team. You are enabling our students to change their entire outlook and prospects for the future.”

AQA Customer Services Adviser Lena Marshall, who was one of the AQA volunteers, said:

“It was a fantastic opportunity to volunteer at the AQA Unlocking Potential launch event. It’s such a rewarding experience to see the interaction between the athletes and the students. The launch was a great success, and I’m happy to have been a part of such an event.”

You can follow the progress of the 2023/24 programme on X using the hashtag #AQAUnlockingPotential

Students in Manchester for the Unlocking Potential launch 2023/24

Manchester Unlocking Potential launch 2023/24

Students in Manchester for the Unlocking Potential launch 2023/24

Manchester Unlocking Potential launch 2023/24

Students in Guildford for the Unlocking Potential launch 2023/24

Guildford Unlocking Potential launch 2023/24

Students in Milton Keynes for the Unlocking Potential launch 2023/24

Milton Keynes Unlocking Potential launch 2023/24

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