Durham Sixth Form Centre

The Aspire Programme

What is the Aspire Programme? 

The Aspire Programme brings together a diverse offer of experiences and activities to ensure that all academically talented students are given every opportunity to excel in whichever area they choose. We encourage students to set their sights as high as they can and strive to reach their full potential. 

What makes an Aspire Student? 

Students are selected for the Aspire Programme if they are studying 3 or more A-level qualifications (regardless of subject) and achieve a minimum of two A grades at key assessment points within the year. In addition, students can opt into the Aspire Programme if they intend to make applications to Oxbridge or to study medicine, dentistry or veterinary medicine at university. 

Who runs the Aspire Programme?  

The Aspire Programme is lead by a dedicated team of specialists, each with expert knowledge and a wealth of experience in their area. Mrs Packer, Assistant Headteacher, oversees the whole programme and ensures students are able to access as many opportunities as possible. 

What is AspireExtra?  

Mr Miller, Aspirations Lead, runs AspireExtra, a programme of extra-curricular sessions aimed to increase confidence, develop critical thinking and higher level transferable skills, perfect public speaking and interview techniques and work towards the applications and admissions processes which begin in the summer term of Year 12.

Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Medicine?

Mrs Kirkpatrick, Careers, Progression and Aspirations Team Lead, works closely with students aspiring to study medicine, dentistry or veterinary medicine at university and has extensive knowledge of the application and assessment process, alternative pathways and academic and vocational opportunities available.

We have extensive experience of supporting our students through the different medicine routes and are proud of their success stories over the past few years.

Medicine Success:

Katie, who has now progressed to her second year of medicine at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, took the standard undergraduate route, whereas Jess opted for the first year of the foundation medicine programme at the University of Nottingham.  Last year Haris initially planned his medicine pathway via the graduate route by completing the 4 year Foundation Clinical Science degree at the University of Bradford, however, following his success at the end of the first year, he has been successful in securing a place to join Katie at Brighton and Sussex. This year 6 out of 7 students have secured an offer to read medicine at Sunderland, Leeds and Lancaster medical schools. 

Veterinary Success:

In veterinary science, Amy was extremely successful in converting her 6 year gateway degree offer to the standard 5 year course when she achieved higher grades in her levels than predicted.  

Aspire Progression Pathway 

In the second part of the summer term, Aspire students switch onto the Aspire Tutor Support Programme, to give them a head start on competitive applications working with a specialist tutor. 

For more information, download our “Aspire Student Programme” here.



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