A Year at Bath Academy
Fresh from her first year studying Geography at the University of Newcastle, Bath Academy alumnus, Freya Wordsworth, has returned to the School but in a very different role. She has transitioned from student to professional as she supports us in a range of school operations: admissions, marketing and much more. It has been wonderful to have here and her insights of student life have been invaluable. As new students are making decisions about their future and enrolling in courses, she has been reflecting on her experience and why she chose to study at Bath Academy.
I have been a local to Bath the majority of my life, studying at various schools in the area. When results day came for me, in 2014, I wasn’t happy with a few of my grades as I was desperate to go to one of the illustrious ‘Russell Group’ universities. At the time, I was teaching in Vietnam, travelling home in a week to prepare for university. When the news came, I decided to defer for the year and make the most of Asia. I continued working, quenching my thirst for travel then, with persuasion from my parents, I returned back to Bath and back down to earth.
I had two options at this point, I could either quickly apply to any university, or I could retake. The thought of going back to a controlled schooling environment felt inconceivable, studying alongside those in the year below me was not even something I wanted to consider. So, when I went to have an interview (in fact a very helpful and directional conversation regarding my module marks) with the Principal, Tim Naylor, I was pleasantly surprised to hear of the variety of options available to me.
The course I decided upon was the January to June resit course, comprising of a few hours of tuition a week, per module. Being situated in Queen Square, in the centre of Bath, I was able to have a part time job whilst also attending lessons throughout the week, thus maintaining a good degree of independence.
I found the teachers to be some of the best I have experienced, being genuinely interested in my work. Once a week we also had a timed assessment, which gave me the all-important skills of exam technique. As the class sizes are so small (usually 3 persons per class at A level) the marking of these assessments was thorough, enabling me to focus on areas that weren’t my strongest. Having just a few other students with me in the classes also meant that under no circumstances could the teacher move onto the next topic without all students knowing the content of the current topic back to front. There was no room to hide in this class, as focus was always on you.
Overall, my experience of Bath Academy was that it is a very flexible education, keen to accommodate a course of study that suits you. The environment is friendly, and helpful, and is an alternative way of studying to the generic schooling system.
Now, with my improved A level results, I am studying Geography at Newcastle University. I enjoyed my time at Bath Academy so much that I now work here during my university holidays and have first-hand experience of the hard work that goes into making this school so unique and accommodating.
Bath Academy Alumnus
Failing your A levels could be the best thing that ever happened!
As students eagerly and fearfully await their A level results this week, it is very easy to feel that everything depends upon the difference between an A or a B grade. Of course, when that fateful day arrives, this could make the difference between that coveted place at university and the dreaded Clearing phonelines.
Having worked with Sixth Form students for 30 years, I have seen tears of joy and sadness on results day. The initial shock of failing to get the hoped-for results can leave students, and parents, feeling embarrassed, ashamed, and that they have failed themselves and others. This is a natural and understandable reaction, but it is not a useful one. Far more often than not, the students who don’t get the results they had hoped for, move forward over time to achieve far more than they thought possible during the hours and days after opening that envelope.
If things do go wrong:
Do consider Clearing.
There are some excellent courses at very good universities still available, and some absolute gems can be gained with grades below the usual entry requirement in the hours and days following the publication of results. Have your Clearing number, UCAS id and statement of results to hand as you make the call and do make the call yourself as the student, as this makes a difference to the person making a quick decision on the other end.
Do consider courses other than the one for which you initially applied.
It may be that, since deciding your courses nearly a year ago, your thinking has shifted a little, and this could be the opportunity to cast the net wider. Often, students and their parents have fixed views about what is considered a ‘good’ university, thereby being in danger of missing out on excellent opportunities for the sake of what sounds good at dinner parties with friends! Also, courses which don’t have obvious titles can be undersubscribed, offering stimulating programmes in fascinating subjects. Don’t jump at just anything, though, as a way to resolve the crisis; an academic and financial decision for at least three years of your life is not something to consider in a mad rush.
Think about a gap year
You may not have planned for a gap year, and sometimes parents are very wary of allowing students to step off the academic treadmill in case they lose momentum. But, in fact, a well-used gap year is far from being a year off; rather, it can create space and time to reconsider priorities without the pressure of exams, to gain valuable work experience which can seriously enhance future applications, and to strengthen the student’s academic profile in order to reapply from a position of real strength. I have seen students fail to get that coveted place in medicine, for example, being highly successful the following year, after gaining that all-important experience in a care setting; this could be in a hospital abroad, adding hugely valuable life experience into the mix. Equally, I have seen students spend some time away (often more than one year) and return with a completely different perspective on what they wish to achieve and reapplying with far more vigour and commitment than they had felt the first time around.
Do get advice
Your school will be happy to offer advice and so will other local institutions such as Sixth Form colleges. We are happy to offer free no-commitment advice on any aspect of study. Our expert staff have many years’ experience of supporting students to plan for resits, alternative courses or other pathways to achieve your ambitions.
Personalised Education, Abundant Care
This summer we have been joined in the office by Oliver Au Yeung, a Politics student studying at the University of Bath. Oliver has been supporting our Admissions staff, and his enthusiasm and eye for detail has made him an excellent addition to the team. He has written a blog about what it is like to work in Admissions and his experience of Bath Academy.
I joined Bath Academy in May 2016 as Admissions Assistant. Whilst supporting both domestic and international students through their application and registration processes, I have been impressed by some unique features which the educational experience at Bath Academy has to offer, from which students are truly able to benefit.
With the average A Levels class size as small as three students, Bath Academy takes a genuine small-group tuition approach towards looking after students’ learning needs. Teachers give sufficient attention to all students within the class, and supply course materials specifically tailored to suit their individual academic abilities. This ensures that all special demands students might have are well accommodated, so that all are enabled to freely progress at their optimal pace.
It is clear to me that Bath Academy is not only interested in the academic achievements, but also in an all-rounded development of its students. This is why an ample amount of support services is provided from the very beginning until after they graduate. Overseas students are given a Welcome Pack which contains all they need to know about arriving in the UK, their course, daily living, the British culture and etc. Upon enrolment, everyone is assigned a Personal Tutor who they would frequently meet to discuss their progress and address any concerns that may arise. Teachers as well as the management team are friendly, informative and experienced in the education sector, and are ready to assist students in all ways possible. All those students who live in college-owned residences are also cared for by a Warden and a Student Welfare Officer. Even after finishing their studies and leaving the college, our young alumni have access to Futurewise career planning services up to the age of 23.
Situated at the centre of a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage city, Bath Academy provides a very pleasant environment for studying. During their leisure time, students can roam around the rich collection of Georgian architecture, museums and galleries in the city and deepen their appreciation of the local culture. Every year the Academy organizes a thrilling programme of social activities ranging from parties, sports and trips, for students to enjoy an unforgettable time and make a multicultural group of friends.
If a student would benefit from a personalized education in a picturesque, historical city, I would definitely recommend Bath Academy.
Oliver Au Yeung
Oliver is a Politics student at the University of Bath who joined Bath Academy as an intern in Summer 2016. Being an international student himself, Oliver aspires to contribute to education development and to ensure a fruitful study experience for students around the world. Outside of work, Oliver has a strong interest in Western Classical music, and is also a performer of traditional Chinese music.
University successes at Bath Academy
‘The UFP has been so good for me, because now I have made my first choice university, which I never thought was going to be possible.’ Louise, UFP 2015/2016
Our University Foundation Programme students have secured their university places and are eagerly looking forward to student life in September. Having completed the challenging programme of three major modules and three minor modules they already have their places confirmed at top UK universities.
Our success stories include:
Jack returned to the UK after several years in various international schools and was able to make his academic profile more coherent by completing the UFP so that he can now move on to Bath University to fulfil his dream of studying Mechanical Engineering.
After having to withdraw from her high school course in Portugal through ill health, Ines is now set fair to enjoy her place at Bath University to study Biochemistry: ‘Bath Academy has enabled me to get back on track and fulfil my ambitions. I am so happy!’ she said as she picked up her certificate.
After losing confidence in his ability to secure a good university place following very disappointing AS level results, Khalil worked exceptionally hard during his foundation year and has been rewarded with a place at Leeds University to study Law. Naomi is also off to Leeds to study Economics and Politics, having joined us after AS from her school in Gibraltar.
Louise had a very interrupted education prior to starting the UFP, with health issues meaning that her academic results suffered: ‘the UFP has been so good for me,’ she told us, ‘because now I have made my first choice university, which I never thought was going to be possible.’ She is off to Sussex to study Business Management.
Other UFP students are off to Nottingham, Kent, Brunel, and CASS Business School, among others, with the vast majority achieving their first choice of university.
Staff at Bath Academy are experts in providing focused, personalised support from experienced teachers, so that students can achieve their full potential, even when life events have disrupted their previous education experience. University advice and guidance is at the heart of what we do, with our unique University Foundation Programme opening doors to over 100 UK universities. We are not tied to any specific universities, meaning that our tutors can offer the very best advice for each individual student.
The University Foundation Programme is a one year course that offers students an alternative route to British University degree courses. Bath Academy offers two intakes, September to June and January to August, and works in partnership with its sister school Bath Academy of English so that students receive a rounded education in preparation for a successful education pathway.