In 2022, 484 learners from state schools in Wales applied to study at Oxford or Cambridge Universities. 87 received offers, compared with 65 the previous year, a 33% rise and part of a rising trajectory.
The increase in applications to top universities and top university schools in Wales, the UK and abroad has been significant in recent years. That success has been powerfully influenced by our ‘Seren Academy’, which helps more able learners from across Wales from any background, economic status or personal situation, to fulfil their academic potential.
Funded by Welsh Government, ‘Seren’ works with partners to provide an extensive programme that goes beyond the curriculum, helping learners widen their horizons, and develop a passion for their chosen field of study at no cost to the learner. It is open to years 8 to 13.
One of the most exciting and life-changing activities run by ‘Seren’ are the residential summer schools, which give learners a sense of what studying and life will be like at university. The schools also aim to develop learners’ critical thinking and academic skills to support their GCSE and A level studies. They’re underway now, and Seren would like to share some great examples below:
Cardiff University School of Medicine summer school
In July, 55 year 12 learners from across Wales had first-hand experience of a career in medicine and what it’s like to be a medical student, by participating in case-based learning and communication skills workshops based on year one medical student teaching.
The highlight of the summer school was ‘Hope Hospital’, where the university set up wards for learners to manage where they had to assess and treat ‘patients’ (actors with ‘symptoms’) with the support of clinical staff and medical students.
Learner comments: ‘all of the activities were much more engaging and immersive than I ever thought they would be’…’ one of the male actors genuinely made me tear up’.