Stepping stone to specialist degrees

Emmanuel’s Sixth Form is proving the perfect stepping stone to degree courses in subjects not offered at A Level.

Last year, more than 40 students progressed on to university in new subjects, including highly competitive courses like Biomedical Sciences, Dentistry and Law.

Jack McGuiness, Anna Coffell and Kushi Lai are just three of the students who embarked on courses in non-A Level subjects: Jack in Accounting and Finance at Manchester University, Anna in Adult Nursing Practice at Sunderland, and Kushi in Architecture and Urban Planning at Newcastle.

Building on a solid foundation of As and A*s at GCSE, Jack chose A Levels in Economics, Maths and Chemistry. “I’ve always enjoyed the Sciences, as well as Maths – that has been one of my best subjects throughout school,” he said. “I developed a strong interest in Economics during my GCSE studies, and this had led to my choice of degree course.” The Economics Department is rich in co-curricular activities which include students’ participation in national economics competitions, guest speakers addressing the Economics Society, study visits, university links (particularly with the Newcastle Business School), industry links (especially with Virgin Money and Brewin Dolphin – both of whom sponsor an award at our presentation evening), regional resource links (particularly the North East Institute of Business Ethics), and alumni reunions.

Yet the help and support of the staff extends well beyond academic studies. “The teachers gave me good advice towards the right choice,” Jack affirms. “They helped a lot with university applications.” Not only that, Jack feels that his character has developed thanks to the opportunities at Emmanuel. “I’ve developed self-confidence and assertiveness through my role as a prefect. And it was a real honour to be recognised by winning the Principal’s Award at the recent Leavers’ Dinner,” he added.

For aspiring nurse Anna, the road to university was particularly challenging. Faced with an emergency operation after suffering back pain during her GCSEs, she had to persevere through a long period of recovery, right in the middle of her exams. Yet what better preparation for a career in Nursing, which Anna chose over Medicine because of its “person-centred nature”.

Anna chose four subjects for A Level. “Maths was my favourite subject, and RE was my best subject; I’m a Christian, so I had a real interest in it,” she said. “Then I added Biology and Chemistry – they’re a good choice for Nursing, although not essential.”

Budding architect Kushi joined Emmanuel in Year 12 and chose a range of subjects relevant to his dream career: Maths, Technology, Physics and Art. “Art was time consuming, but the challenge is most definitely rewarding,” he concluded. “It’s also a hobby – I really enjoy Art, as well as Maths. And my hard work even paid off literally – I have sold some of my pieces for £40!”

Kushi admitted that Emmanuel has prepared him well for university, getting him used to the greater workload and offering longer school days – 8.25 am to 4.00 pm Monday-Thursday, and 8.25 am to 2.30 pm on Friday. “You are surrounded by people who want to do well, which urges you to keep going,” he explained. And alongside this hard work and determination, he juggled a whole raft of hobbies, including cycling – which he hopes to participate in competitively in the future – table-tennis and reading sci-fi and non-fiction.

Head of Sixth Form, Mr Sims, said: “It is very rewarding and a great privilege to see young people develop the character and skills here in the Emmanuel Sixth Form to take them to the next step of their life.”