More Sheffield Park Academy students winning places to study medicine as focus on STEM subjects pays off
A secondary school in Sheffield is thriving thanks to the rise of STEM-inclined students who are attending prestigious universities around the country.
Sheffield Park Academy produced five A-level students who went on to study medicine this year, compared to zero the previous year, and the figure is expected to grow.
Roland Freeman, the school's principal, said the school has become a popular choice for sixth formers who want to pursue their interests in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields because of the programme it offers and the dedication of the teaching team.
The school has also improved year on year, with an average A-level grade of A-, a 100 per cent university success rate, and a higher-than-national percentage of students moving on to study dentistry and medicine.
Mr Freeman said: "We firmly believe we'll be the best school in Sheffield and as part of that we want to have the best sixth form in Sheffield.
"We had five students who went on to study medicine at some of the top universities in the country or Russell Group universities last academic year and one student who went to study maths at Imperial, which is one of the top 10 universities in the world."
Led by Jane Burton, the school's assistant principal, she said the school has taken a comprehensive approach to offering the best possible programme for the sixth form students.
This includes providing them with a strong pastoral team, counselling, one-to-one teaching, and getting them involved in social events that can improve their wellbeing.
Ms Burton said: "The team worked really well together and just provided that passion..some of our teachers, they're not spring chicken. I never worked with such a dedicated team.
"The drive and passion of these teachers contributed to the significant success in sixth form."
Sixth form STEM pathway
Mr Freeman added: "We believe our success is driven by a really strong pastoral team in the sixth form and also a wider senior leadership team which includes several teachers who have come from Ofsted outstanding schools.
"We have the subject knowledge in terms of the Oxford specialists, and we really do take an interest in students by offering one-to-one guidance, mentoring, and interview practise for those students, particularly those going for top universities."
And from next year, he said the school will have a sixth form STEM pathway including the medical experience that is needed to make a strong university application in addition to one-to-one tuition and coaching.
Jah'Siya McGhee, 17, who has been studying at Sheffield Park Academy since Year 7, said he aspires to do economics when he enrols at his university of choice.
He said: "The school is helping me with that choice as well. I've always been a fan of maths, and it feels satisfying when you finally get an answer on maths calculation.
"I hope to go to Oxford university and the school has given me the support by giving me personal statement experience and a target Oxbridge course, which I was fortunate to get on to."
Silvia Sugar, on the other hand, would like to pursue medicine at a top university such as Cardiff University or Nottingham University.
She said: "The school has helped me in a lot of ways. They really have a good support system, especially when doing A-levels is very stressful.
"So they provide one-on-one meetings with teacher's support and to check if our mental health is good, if we're not feeling good or stressed."
Collins Emurerhi, who wants to study medicine at Leicester University, said that without the school’s help he wouldn’t have realised the opportunities of enrolling at top universities.
He said: "I am hoping to study medicine because I have deep pleasure in helping others. I feel like it’d be really nice to use my knowledge and experience to help others.
"Sheffield Park Academy has helped me a lot in realising my options. Without this school’s help, I wouldn’t have realised the opportunities it provides to help less previleged people have an easier way to get to university.
"The school also helps us get extra maths sessions and help us understand the work better and remember more things."
A rewarding experience
Shantel Bradley, who has been at the school since year eight, said she stayed on at the school for sixth form and the experience so far has been rewarding.
She said: "I want to pursue neuroscience at Nottingham University and the school has helped me a lot to get there by helping do a personal statement. We receive so much support and things have been easier with the help from my teachers."
Fred Mougnsasa, who is currently studying biology, maths, and French, said he aspires to study biomedicine or microbiology.
He said: "I want to do these subjects from a young age. I always wanted to do research on the human body and I want to be come an oncologist when I’m older. The school helped me achieve my goal by offering me multiple placements. It also helped me with a research placement to develop my skills in the future and work experience in the lab and to allow me develop my skills further."
For Manzaor Khan, the goal is to go to Bristol University to study medicine.
"Sheffield Park Academy has helped me a lot by introducing me to medicine. With extra sessions for maths on Saturday school and after school sessions, they have helped me a lot to get my grades I want.”
To find out more about the sixth form programme, all are welcome to visit Sheffield Park Academy during its Sixth Form Open Evening on December 1, from 5pm to 6.30pm.