Our University Partnerships - Student Case Studies

As a result of University Schools Trust’s unique relationship with its five leading university Trust Partners, knowledge and resources are shared and a multitude of benefits continue to be provided for both students and staff within our schools.

For example, St Paul’s Way Trust Research Centre replicates the teaching laboratories at Queen Mary University of London’s Mile End campus. This enables students to carry out undergraduate-style investigation work, such as stem cell/DNA research, with academics at the university. Similarly, St Paul’s Way Foundation School has been built with a Science hub, providing rich learning experiences for our primary age students, as well as helping to fulfil our aim to increase the number of students taking STEM based degrees.

University Schools Trust (UST) students also have access to opportunities such as university internships, student learning mentors, subject specific masterclasses and summer schools to gain a deeper insight into their chosen degree subjects. For teaching staff, our university partners provide professional development opportunities and offer support for those wishing to undertake higher education studies.

The following case studies highlight two fantastic students who previously attended St Paul’s Way Trust School (SPWT) and are now studying full time at King’s College London, one of our partner universities.


Course: BA Political Economy

Year: 2

What did you enjoy about your time at St Paul’s Way Trust School?

I enjoyed participating in extra-curricular activities that SPWT had to offer - there was a great number of opportunities. For instance, I participated in the Economics Think Tank, Law Moot, Drapers’ Enterprise Project and I was a mentor to primary school children at Into-University. I truly enjoyed the process of participating in new experiences and challenges, as well as developing skills such as public speaking.

What did you study for A level?

Economics, Government & Politics and Religious Studies.

What made you want to study Political Economy at King’s College London?

Because I enjoyed both Politics and Economics at A level. However, I understood that if I was to study Politics alone, a lot of reading would be involved. I also understood that if I was to study Economics alone, a lot of maths would be involved. Therefore, I decided to choose a course which included a mixture of both so that I would have a balance of reading and maths.

Did you find SPWT’s partnership with King’s helpful for your application to study there?

Yes definitely! The link between SPWT and King’s contributed to my application being considered at a higher level, in comparison to applications from students at other schools. Due to the link that SPWT has with King’s, I was able to participate in the Realising Opportunities programme. This programme provided me with the opportunity to visit King’s regularly throughout the year to gain a deeper understanding of life at university. As part of the Realising Opportunities programme, I had to write an academic assignment and complete a skills test. I successfully completed the programme and as a result my application to King’s was considered at a high level. Therefore, I am so thankful for the opportunities that I was provided with due to SPWT’s partnership with King’s.

What is your favourite thing about University?

The job opportunities that are on offer for students, which are fantastic for students like me to earn an income alongside their studies. They are also very flexible as we get to work when we are available, so we do not need to worry about clashes to our timetable.

I work as a Widening Participation (WP) ambassador at King’s College London. This role requires me to work with students from disadvantaged backgrounds, aged approximately 10-18. I participate in Q&A sessions, conduct campus tours as well as deliver in-school sessions to a group of year 7 and 9 students. My role as a WP ambassador has to be one of the highlights of my time at King’s as I have been able to contribute to beneficial programmes for students all over the country who may soon be at university. The WP scheme truly engages with students from disadvantaged backgrounds to ease the process to higher education and I have been privileged with the opportunity to see the benefits that such programmes bring, particularly because I was a WP student while I was at SPWT. In addition, the role has allowed me to meet other student ambassadors from other campuses and a range of courses. This has been a brilliant way for me to make new friends. I definitely recommend prospective students to apply to be a WP ambassador when you get to university!

Have you joined any societies/do any extra-curricular activities?

I am currently Head of Communications for the First Generation Network, a community of students who are all the first in their family to go to university. We have regular meetings where we discuss issues that we face as first generations students and collectively come up with ideas and solutions to help combat these problems.

I also currently work as a WP ambassador, Debate Mate lead mentor and brand ambassador for the Department for Education and Deloitte. Occasionally, I like to volunteer my time at events hosted by organisations such as RMP Enterprise and Centre for London.

What are the highlights of your studies so far?

One of my highlights is when I managed to gain the London Experience Award. This award was given to me as I demonstrated I had spent over 30 hours working with people in London. I had to write a 2,000-word assignment on how I had contributed to the welfare of London communities and what I had learnt from the experience. Being given the opportunity to write this assignment allowed me to showcase my experiences as well as receive an award for it. I am grateful to have had this opportunity.

What do you hope to do after University?

My future aspirations include working with organisations that help young people in education. I aspire to work with students from widening participation backgrounds including students from Black, Asian and Minority backgrounds. I believe that many students from such backgrounds recognise barriers to entry when thinking about university. Therefore, I aim to work with such students, to inform them about access to university and create a less blurry idea of university. I believe that all students, regardless of background should be given the opportunity to pursue higher education.

If you could give one piece of advice to a student at SPWT what would it be?

Partake in as many opportunities as possible. Apply for voluntary work and try and gain work experience. You never know where one opportunity may take you and what benefits you can gain from them. Building networks with organisations can be extremely useful in the future. That being said, make sure you study hard! Partake in as many opportunities as possible but do not let these extra-curricular activities lead to the detriment of your education. Your education will always come first. Lastly, believe in yourself and don’t let the idea of ‘I don’t have time’ get to you. There are enough hours in a day for you to study, socialise and partake in extra-curricular activities. So, organise your time, be realistic, be strict and believe in yourself! You got this!


Course: Biomedical Science BSc

Year: 1

What did you enjoy about your time at St Paul’s Way Trust School?

The thing I most enjoyed was the College-like atmosphere. Even though St Paul’s Way sixth form was small, it was really good as everyone knew each other and people were very friendly. One of my highlights was playing football on Friday after school, as it was a great way to let off steam as well as get to know the year below. SPWT also prepared me well for the future, making me more independent and more confident, especially through projects like the Authentic Biology Project and presenting at the symposium, which really helped with my presentation skills. Members of staff were always around when I needed help or when things got a bit stressful. The sixth form team especially were a big help when it came to UCAS and applying to uni. But the main thing I liked about my time at sixth form was the people I was surrounded by, everyone was there to support each other and enjoy our sixth form experience.

What did you study for A level?

Biology, Chemistry, and Maths.

What made you want to study Biomedical Sciences at King’s College London?

Originally I had applied for medicine; unfortunately, I didn't get in, but I was offered a place at King’s to do Biomedical Sciences. After looking at the course online in more detail, I decided to accept their offer, because first of all it is close to home and I was sure I didn’t want to take a gap year, but also because of the wide variety of choice you get especially in second and third year. I liked how in first year you learn the basics of everything and in second year, if you want, you can switch to degrees such as Bio-Chemistry or Neuroscience without having to retake first year, as everyone studied the same things as a large cohort. There are no compulsory modules that you HAVE to do, students can pick and choose their modules based on what they want to do and enjoy for the whole 2 years, without being told you have to do this or that.

What is your favourite thing about University?

The freedom you get. You can find the best study method for you and work your own way. It is also very flexible; for example, if you can’t make it to a group session such as a practical, you can email the module organisers and attend one at a later date so you don't miss out.

Have you joined any societies/do any extra-curricular activities?

I am mainly part of the Islamic society, and they do activities throughout the year such as charity events and football every Friday. I have also been to other societies’ events which are a lot of fun, and some, such as the Biomedical student association, help you if you have any worries or questions.

What are the highlights of your studies so far?

The highlight has to be the getting my first result back. I achieved 95% - seeing my first result that high has boosted my confidence for the rest of the year. Another highlight has been meeting new people.

What do you hope to do after University?

I would either like to stay in education and get into Medicine or go into research related to my field of study. King’s have provided several talks and advice on both options which has been very helpful.  The talks usually include people who have graduated from King’s, either as postgraduate doctors or Biomedical scientists that are now part of research companies.

If you could give one piece of advice to a student at SPWT what would it be?

To not be shy and get involved in as many things as possible, because the skills you pick up will really benefit you. It will make you more confident and make the start of uni, and meeting new people, a whole lot easier. The other thing I would say is to enjoy your time in sixth form and make good use of your time.

Thank you to Sami and Maleka, and keep an eye out for more case studies coming soon!