Bede excels in raising aspirations of local school students

Posted: 18-12-2019 - 74 view(s)


Bede Sixth Form College is raising the aspirations of local school students with a new extra-curricular programme.

Year 9 students from St Michael’s Catholic Academy, Ian Ramsey CE Academy, and Northfield School and Sports College in Billingham, and North Shore Academy in Stockton, attended the first two sessions of the new ‘Inspire and Excel Programme’ this term.

They kicked off the new venture with sessions exploring debating, with fun activities like icebreaker bingo (which got everybody talking and learning interesting facts about each other, like “Do you like Brussel sprouts?”), the Balloon Debate, and debating randomly chosen topics (Kim Kardashian for president and replacing teachers with robots were some of the favourites!).

Rebecca Henderson, Careers and Progression Advisor at Bede Sixth Form, said: “We wanted to create something for students at our local schools, to offer them the opportunity to engage in higher level study, and to also get an idea of what college life is like.

“The overall ethos of Inspire and Excel is to help these students develop useful and transferrable skills and to improve their confidence, preparing them for whichever direction they may choose in the future.”

The aims of the programme are to help students; develop good critical thinking skills; improve their research and communication skills; be confident and independent learners; be able to construct a persuasive argument; and to be able to work effectively and learn from others.

Rebecca said: “These are all skills and qualities that employers and universities look for. Whilst entering the world of work is still far off for these students, taking part in something like our programme now will mean that they are that bit more confident and comfortable in their abilities when they do get to that point.”

It’s not just the younger students who are benefitting from the programme – our own students here at the College are getting involved too, acting as mentors and positive role models for our visitors.

“Being an Inspire and Excel Mentor gives students the opportunity to act as a positive role model and share their first-hand experience of college life. This is a great experience, especially for those students who are considering careers such as teaching, as they will develop a range of key skills that will greatly benefit them and enhance their CV and personal statement.”


Bede student James has been helping out as a mentor on the programme: “I have found that being an Inspire and Excel Mentor has been a very good experience. It is nice to be able to have a positive influence on the Year 9 students, some of whom went to my old secondary school. It has been interesting to see them debate and raise strong arguments against each other.”

Natalie, Gifted and Talented Coordinator at Northfield School, said: “The Inspire and Excel Programme for Year 9 has been a fantastic way to encourage and motivate our most able students at Northfield School! From the outset, students have been enthusiastic towards the range of subjects on offer, especially subjects such as criminology and photography. I strongly believe that this programme will contribute to setting students up for life after secondary school by developing a range of critical thinking skills, boosting confidence and offering a flavour of what college life will be like.”

Ben, Campus Principal of Bede Sixth Form, said: “I am delighted that we are working so closely with our partner schools and are able to help equip these young people, many of whom may be students of Bede in years to come, with the skills they need to be successful learners. It’s a pleasure to support such a talented and enthusiastic cohort and I am looking forward to seeing the programme grow and the impact it will have on the students in achieving their ambitions.”

The students from our local schools taking part in the programme will make their way to Bede Sixth Form once a month, attending the subject strand of their choice out of STEM, The Business World, Literature and Culture, Health and Social Sciences, Sport and Public Services, and the Creative Industries.

We look forward to welcoming our visitors back in the New Year.






If you’d like to find out more about partnerships and working with Bede Sixth Form, please get in touch: 01642 373250 or  

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