Past events – May 2023

27 April – Get Ready for Success

Our annual Special Education Needs, Disability and Neurodiversity conference was a success again this year, delivering to 30 sixth formers, supported by 14 parents and teachers, on subjects ranging from types of support available at university, to a discussion around how to go about disclosing a disability when applying for the Disabled Student Allowance.

This year St Mary’s University hosted the event and featured both presenters and student ambassadors from the university, including Holly Bazely, Outreach Officer at St Mary’s, who spoke about neurodiversity, drawing on her own experience of support at different stages in the student life cycle. Also contributing were student support staff from Roehampton University and City University.

Dr Sarah Hopp, Student Disability and Neurodiversity Manager at City rounded off the day with an interactive session on how to plan an application and to ensure a successful transition from sixth form to higher education.

The students were all provided with a workbook, especially designed for the event, summarising the information from the day, with lots of sources of additional information to supplement what they had learned.

A flavour of the responses on the day:

“I think a lot of them didn’t know what was available for them with regards to support for the DSA and the other support with laptops, wheelchairs etc, I don’t think they realised the level of support that is out there. The day has been really good, I’ve enjoyed it, it’s been very informative.” Teacher from Rise Sixth form

‘I’m here with my daughter who is in year 12 and planning to go to university. I’ve learnt things I didn’t know to do with the DSA and various other things that have made us feel as if we’re not alone. I think it makes the possibility of university more inviting and less daunting. I would recommend this event to other parents, definitely.” Parent.


11 May – UASC Information Day

The first Information Day for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) was held at both Kingston College and Kingston University earlier this month, with 40 participants, 13 college or university staff and five universities collaborating, bringing together an inspiring and practical day for UASC young people exploring their university futures, and their carers, virtual school leads and teachers of UASC to understand the system.

Organised by our Looked After Children working group, we would like to thank Suna Marfe, Kingston College Head of Marketing Recruitment and Admissions, who described her experience as a refugee from the war in Bosnia and Dr Diem-Tu Tran from Bakhita Centre, St Marys who presented their research into the experience of refugees to students, supported by Charlotte Fox from Roehampton University, and Hamid Kahn from Refugee Education UK who both spoke of their journeys and the benefits of going to university.

The day included presentations on routes into university from University of West London, and routes out into work from St Mary’s University for the young people, whilst the carers heard more from Refugee Education UK about the support available to UASC young people at each stage of their journey into higher education.

Our five university partners Kingston College, Kingston University, University of West London, Roehampton, St Mary’s University and Mont Rose College, offered one to one advice and guidance for the students and the day ended with an upbeat presentation from Karim Al-Abbas on amazing memory techniques for everyone to use to keep all the useful information gained during the day to hand!

“There are not enough UASC young people going on to university, its going to really prompt me to do more to support them, to use STAR, Propel, REUK more”. Virtual School staff member

“I was worried about how can I go to university…people helped me so much. I also learnt about the types of university there are and the different kinds of courses” School student

“I got some clues to help me with what I should do and some information about what kind of degrees you have in UK, I have some clues about what new questions to ask” ESOL Student from Kingston College

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