Students at the London Academy of Excellence Tottenham (LAET) have been visited by an international football star, in a bid to help them take the step into higher education.
Ben Davies, the Wales and Tottenham Hotspur left-back, joined Year 13 students in a session designed to ready them for the high-pressure environment of a university interview.
Situated on the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium campus, LAET is a state-funded sixth form sponsored by both the football club and a nearby school, Highgate, one of eight independents delivering expert teaching to young people in one of the capital’s most underprivileged areas.
Stephen Bovey, assistant head (partnerships) at Highgate helped give the masterclass.
“We’re pleased to support students at our partner school, LAET, as they prepare for higher education,” he said.
“We hope the session will help them approach their upcoming interviews with confidence and positivity, and we’re excited to hear about what they go on to achieve at university.”
The session included a practical element, focused on avoiding common pitfalls, and a mock Q&A helping demonstrate the students’ strengths and attributes.
Besides helping with the mock interview, Davies shared his personal experience of balancing studies with a burgeoning career at Swansea City.
Students asked him questions about a variety of subjects, such as maintaining motivation, demonstrating confidence and overcoming setbacks.
“The drive and determination of the young people I’ve met today has been inspiring,” said Davies.
“Combined with their obvious talent and passion for learning, I’m sure they’ll go on to achieve great things at university.”
Pupils are hoping to mirror the achievements of LAET’s first cohort of A-Level graduates, who achieved outstanding exam results in the summer. More than half claimed places at Russell Group universities (compared to just 1% of all school leavers in the district when LAET opened in 2017), with one student becoming the school’s first to win a place at Oxbridge.