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Derby Pride Trust makes choices easier for A-Level Students

With the hefty price increases for Universities across England and demand for apprenticeships and jobs for 18-25 year olds ever increasing, it would be easy to assume that this year’s A-Level students receiving their results earlier this month were under far more pressure to make the right choices about their future than in recent years.

Naturally, receiving effective help and support from colleges and sixth forms following students’ results is vital.  However, students studying within Derby Pride Trust are provided with strong and focused support long before their exams even took place; from as early as when they were in primary school.

Derby Pride Trust

Made up of 10 Derby schools, and businesses across the city including Derby County Football Club, the University of Derby, NHS Derby City and Derby City Sport and Leisure; Derby Pride Trust works together with the shared aim of ensuring that a well-rounded education is provided for all students; from primary school all the way to being post-graduates starting in the world of work.

Providing activities such as careers focused visits to the University of Derby for Year 5 students to taking part in Athletics Festivals at secondary school whilst in Year 6; students are encouraged to explore options for their future and to feel comfortable in different surroundings from a very early age.

These types of events, which are regularly coordinated through Trust partners, ultimately help students to understand the consequences of their decisions and the opportunities available to them later on in their studying.  By the time that students receive their A-Level results they will have already been exploring different educational and working environments for the majority of their lives.

Regular linking from Trust partners Derby University and Derby Moor Community Sports College in particular has had an impact on how many of this year’s A-Level students chose to apply to the University of Derby to further their education.  Out of 160 Year 13 sixth form students from Derby Moor, 12 have chosen to study at Derby University; secure in the knowledge that whilst the university offers an excellent standard of higher education through a vast range of courses, it also has outstanding links with local schools and businesses that students within Derby Pride Trust are already familiar with. 

Linking with local businesses and schools is well known as being beneficial to students’ studies and job prospects, but by being familiar with opportunities from an early age, students within Derby Pride Trust are more confident when participating in these experiences and are far happier to engage in linking opportunities when they are presented.

Rachel's Story

One student who has benefited from attending a university that is part of a specialist Trust is Rachel Salmon.  Originally from Derby, Rachel went to the University of Lincoln after her A-Levels but found that the lack of support available prevented her from getting the most out of her degree.  One month into her course, Rachel was encouraged to get in contact with the University of Derby, after speaking with both a friend who was studying there and a teacher from Derby Moor who she had kept in touch with.

Telling her story, Rachel says:

I feel that I have benefited hugely from attending a school and university that formed part of the Derby Pride Trust.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Derby Moor, both at school and sixth form, and look back with fondness and with a lot of happy memories of the school, teachers and fellow pupils.

My GCSE and A Level results of 13 A*-B and 4 A-C grades respectively provided me with the basis for a successful future career.  For most schools that would have been enough and contact would have ceased when I moved away to university.  However, after a very difficult time whilst at Lincoln and an even harder decision to decide to move home, I went to see my former history teacher at Derby Moor.  She reminded me of my own ability, spoke of her confidence in me and gave me the impetus I needed to attend a University of Derby open day; the rest as they say is history.

From then on, I loved my time at the University of Derby, studying for my history degree and my links with Derby Moor did not stop there as I worked as an exams invigilator for two summers and also volunteered in the Humanities Department.  I have also kept in contact with Mrs Whelan, Michelle Osborne (the history teacher who gave me my confidence back) and other staff at Derby Moor and will also keep in touch with the history lecturers at the University of Derby. 

I have no doubt that without the help and support of the Derby Pride Trust I would not have achieved my first class degree or many of the skills that I will take forward into my career.  They developed me from a shy eleven year old into a twenty-one year old taking her first steps into the world of work and I will always be grateful for all they have done for me.

Similar to Rachel’s experience, with constant support and access to regular, invaluable insights and experiences through Derby Pride Trust, this year’s A-Level students can perhaps make the most informed decisions about their futures than would ever have been previously possible in Derby.  Whether they decide on University, an apprenticeship or entering into the world of work, Derby Pride Trust students know that their decision is not only one that they will be supported with, but more importantly they can be confident it will be a decision that is best for them.