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Inspiring Blaenau Gwent Learners to Think Big and Attend Top UK Universities

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As one of Wales’ top performing colleges with A Level pass rates consistently above the Welsh and national average, Coleg Gwent learners are given a multitude of opportunities to inspire their future hopes and dreams, like the Think Big event with Jesus College, Oxford University.

Coleg Gwent’s expert A Level Teachers and dedicated Personal Tutors help learners to achieve their potential and exceed expectations, believing that all their learners are made for greatness. Opportunities extend far beyond the classroom, with subject-specific field trips to support your learning, as well as opportunities to attend inspirational events at top UK universities. So, whether you’re looking for a hands-on vocational course or A Level courses to get you into university, you can make it at Coleg Gwent.

A Level learners from Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone recently attended the Think Big event on 3rd March, organised by Head of School, Suzanna Thomas. The event was designed to encourage future dreams in young learners from the Blaenau Gwent region and inspire them to ‘Think Big’ and make successful applications to the UK's top university – Oxford.

Taking place annually, the Think Big event is open to college learners and school students in the Blaenau Gwent region. Attended by over 80 young bright learners, which included first year A Level learners from Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone, along with year 10/11 pupils and teachers from local secondary schools, (including Brynmawr Foundation School, Tredegar Comprehensive and Abertillery Learning Community), this year’s event went virtual so that learners didn’t miss out due to COVID.

A live, interactive presentation was delivered by Dr Matthew Williams, Access Fellow at Jesus College, Oxford University. The talk centred around encouraging bright young students to think BIG, believe in themselves, and prepare to apply to top universities.

Dr Williams said:

“It was fantastic to see such great numbers of young people pulled together to attend this event. It is always a pleasure to work with the college and schools in this region, and thank you to students for posing some very interesting questions.”

The event was a huge success, with learners engaging well and lots of thoughtful questions posed to Dr Matthew by young Blaenau Gwent learners. Suzanna Thomas, Head of School at Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone, explained: “It was an excellent and well attended presentation encouraging our bright and talented young people across Blaenau Gwent to raise their aspirations and ambitions, widen their horizons, and develop a passion for studying in order to reach their academic potential.”

The event has left many learners feeling inspired to think big and aim high, setting their sights on prestigious universities such as Oxford and Cambridge. Each year, Coleg Gwent’s A Level learners exceed expectations and achieve pass rates above 98%, going on to study at Sutton Trust and Russell Group universities in the UK. This year, the college anticipates the same fantastic results with students following in the footsteps of previous year groups, despite the challenges of COVID.

Last year, Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone A Level learner, Alicia Powell, secured a place at Cambridge University to study English Literature. With outstanding grades in all subjects – an A* and 3 As – she’s excited for what her future holds.

For Alicia, “the best thing about Coleg Gwent has been the opportunity for individual learning as it has prepared me for my next step after college.”

Meanwhile, Hannah James from Ebbw Vale, worked extremely hard to achieve brilliant results – 2 A*s – securing a place to study an integrated Master’s Degree in Mathematics at St Andrews University. College helped Hannah grow in many ways.

She said: “Studying at Coleg Gwent has provided me with the opportunity to develop my independent study skills and confidence which will be essential in my future prospects as a university student and a future employee.”

So, if you have big dreams of studying at a top university like Oxford or Cambridge, discover the range of A Level programmes on offer at Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone, Crosskeys Campus and Torfaen Learning Zone, and apply for courses starting in September to begin your journey at Coleg Gwent. Even if you think university isn’t for you, there’s something for everyone at Coleg Gwent.