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Seren Conference shines a light on supporting Wales’ brightest students

This press release was published under the 2011 - 2016 Welsh government

Teachers and lecturers from across Wales will join prominent individuals from the worlds of academia, government and industry today to share their experiences of supporting Wales’ brightest students.
Thursday 03 December 2015

The Seren Network has identified Wales’ top 1000 academically gifted year 12 students and aims to help them fulfil their potential and assist them in gaining access to the world’s leading universities.

At today’s first Seren Network annual conference, teachers and lecturers will receive an invaluable insight from Bath, Oxford and King’s College University representatives on the admissions process and how our brightest students should be preparing for their specialist areas.  

Joining them on the speakers’ podium will be two inspirational young Welsh people who showed tenacity and determination to beat the odds and go on to study at two of the world’s most prestigious universities.

Jacob Lewis from Cardiff overcame homelessness to study at the University of Cambridge and Shelby Holmes, a Travelling Showman from Towyn, swapped the fairground for Oxford University, where she recently completed her BA in English Literature and Language.

Shelby said:

"For gifted and able students it can be a struggle to remain enthusiastic about regularly attending lessons.  For children from travelling communities to take time out of school leaves them vulnerable to being left out of higher education opportunities as teachers are often reluctant to take on students with poor attendance records. With support and understanding from teachers, gifted and able children from travelling backgrounds can have the same access to higher education opportunities as their peers ".

Jacob added:

“I am proud to support the Seren Network in any way I can; it is an incredibly positive step towards helping young people in Wales realise their potential. This could be a real game-changer in increasing the number of Welsh students going to elite Universities which can only be a good thing not just for our students but Wales as a whole”.

Business leaders from some of Wales’ most successful and dynamic companies will also be present to help identify future career paths and recruitment opportunities within Welsh industry. They will provide guidance and career advice to the teachers representing Wales’ brightest students to encourage them back to Wales when they graduate.

Education Minister Huw Lewis will open the conference. He said:

“Since the Seren Network launched less than a year ago remarkable progress has been made. We now have five partnership hubs offering activities to high achieving sixth formers and additional hubs are in the process of being established.

“This impressive progress has been made because of the huge efforts of schools, colleges and others are making to work in partnership and combine resources and expertise.

“Jacob and Shelby have proved that if Welsh learners have the ability, they can go on and fulfil their potential, regardless of their background or circumstances.
“The Seren Network has been established to offer our high achievers the guidance, support and confidence to enable them to follow in Jacob and Shelby’s footsteps. But going to university is just the first step; we want to make our highest achievers aware of the fantastic career opportunities that exist in Wales so they come back home when they graduate”.

For more information on the Seren Network click on the hyperlink below:



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Education and skills 03 December 2015 Schools Universities and colleges Mid Wales North Wales South East Wales South West Wales

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