New Student Advisory Group members welcomed at parliamentary reception

Published: Friday 13 Jan 2023

We held a parliamentary reception this week to welcome new members of AQA’s Student Advisory Group and celebrate the student voice.

The event was attended by new and past members of the group, guests from across the education sector, AQA colleagues and parliamentarians, and an opportunity for the young people to meet face to face with those they’ll be working with over the next year.

The Student Advisory Group was created by AQA four years ago to give students a voice in our work and ensure they are fully represented in all that we do.

Kim Johnson, MP for Liverpool Riverside and member of the education select committee, sponsored the reception and opened the event. She welcomed everyone to parliament, and reflected on the importance of the student voice in education, particularly following the last few years, where there has been so much disruption to learning for young people.

Colin Hughes, AQA’s Chief Executive, then spoke briefly about the work of the group and the invaluable input they provide to AQA, not only from themselves but the network of students from their own schools, on a range of topics. In the last year they’ve been consulted on a number of projects and work streams including on screen examinations, equality and diversity issues and modernising and reforming assessment.

It was then the turn of the co-chairs of the group, AQA Trustee Elizabeth Kitcatt and Alison Chang, student chair, to address the room. Elizabeth said how impressed AQA’s trustees have been with the Student Advisory Group and the insights they have shared – and how she hoped that some of them may even end up back in parliament in the years to come, before handing over to Alison to welcome the new members and share a little about her own experiences of the past year and what the group had been working on.

Following the speeches, the students and their guests were free to mingle with each other, enjoy some light refreshments and chat with parliamentarians and a range of people from across the education industry, who joined us for this special occasion.

Alison Chang, co-chair of the Student Advisory Group, said:

“It was exhilarating to speak at the Houses of Parliament – it’s not an opportunity that comes by often, let alone the prospect of networking with such important people within the education sector, and rekindling with Trustees and friends on the board.

“I have always been exceedingly proud and privileged to be a part of this organisation, and this event simply reinforced that. This year, I’m looking forward to working with the advisory board on new piloting projects and discussing plans for the future of education and assessment.”

Elizabeth Kitcatt, AQA Trustee and co-chair, said:

“Working with the Student Advisory Group is great, and for AQA’s trustees, they are immensely helpful to us in understanding what students are experiencing and what’s going on for them.

“AQA is an outward looking organisation, keen to always move forward and listen to young people. We’ve had some fantastic discussions with the group, covering all the things students think about, from the environmental impact of exams to mental health issues.”

“We have a very interesting and exciting year ahead and I’m very much looking forward to it.”

Kim Johnson, MP for Liverpool Riverside and sponsor of the reception, said:

“I was grateful to host this year’s AQA parliamentary reception and welcome to Westminster their Student Advisory Group. The students were a pleasure to talk to, full of many bright ideas for how to maintain and improve AQA’s excellent standards in education and examinations.

“It’s vital that student voices are placed firmly at the heart of developing our examination systems, and the work of the Student Advisory Group is certainly reflected in the quality of AQA’s service. Despite a tumultuous couple of years coping with the impact of the pandemic, the Student Advisory Group has gone from strength to strength and I have enjoyed working with them over the past few years.

“I look forward to continuing our conversations around how to get the best out of our examination systems, ensuring that students are supported in their progression through their education journey and into the world of work, working alongside strengthened careers guidance services to ensure that every child has equal opportunities to fulfil their true potential.”

Members of the AQA Student Advisory Group for 2023 gathered outside at a parliamentary reception in London.

– AQA’s Student Advisory Group for 2023

See all updates