Openings for the outstanding to get INTO A levels at UEA
- Credit: Archant
'It's an exciting place to work. You mix with many nationalities and so get used to hearing lots of languages when you're walking around the centre,' says Mike Gavin.
Mike is head of recruitment at INTO University of East Anglia, a joint venture which offers a wide variety of academic programmes and English language courses to prepare international students for university life.
Additionally the INTO UEA centre also runs a highly successful fee paying A level course, called the Newton Programme which could be one of Norfolk's best kept educational secrets.
Small and selective, the Newton Programme caters for aspirational students who want to go on to study degrees such as medicine, engineering, law, psychology and economics at top universities like UEA, Cambridge, LSE, Imperial and UCL and is the only university campus-based A level programme in the country.
INTO University of East Anglia is run by centre director Debbie Price, with Dr Bethan Gulliver managing the A level programme.
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Up until now most students on the Newton Programme have come from overseas – and they've travelled from all over the world to study in Norwich. Students originate from many countries including Russia, Iran, Malaysia, Singapore and Nigeria.
But, as Bethan explains, the centre is also able to accept a small number of local A level students, with scholarships on offer.
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'The international Newton students have a very positive approach to their studies, enjoying their lessons and fully engaging with their teachers with an enthusiastic and enquiring attitude. All our students are very motivated and have a genuine interest in learning, but UK students are sometimes more confident in questioning, debating and relating classroom learning to the outside world. Having a mix of both home and international students really does benefit both.'
Newton students also develop a great network of international friends as Bethan explains: 'The small class sizes, friendly approach to learning and emphasis on team work foster strong bonds between students which I think will last for life. Our old students all keep in touch with each other and me and are frequently organising reunions all over the world.'
Only 50 to 60 students are enrolled on the Newton Programme, meaning that the average class sizes are less than eight and the individual attention the students receive certainly pays off.
This year 99 per cent of all grades were A* to B, with 85 per cent being grades A* and A.
A levels on offer include maths (which is compulsory for all at AS level), further maths, chemistry, physics, biology, accounting, economics and psychology.
Facilities inside the purpose-built INTO University of East Anglia centre, which opened almost 10 years ago, are also impressive, with state-of-the art equipment, bright, modern laboratories, secure halls of residence, common rooms, and a hugely popular restaurant serving cuisine from around the world.
Students also benefit from all that the partnership with the University of East Anglia brings - access to the campus teaching facilities and university staff, plus they can use amenities such as the Sportspark and library.
'For example, staff from the various university schools such as Law, Mathematics, Economics, Biology and the Medical School come and give workshops and seminars to our students. Here we have resources that are just not available to schools,' says Bethan.
In addition to their studies, students also receive help with university application forms and preparing for entrance exams and interviews with UEA staff assisting with the interview preparation process.
The courses they will be applying for will be hugely competitive, with demand far outstripping the number of places, so the team at INTO University of East Anglia ensures that students are given opportunities such as entering competitions and internships from respected county employers such as the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, John Innes Centre and Barclays and all students are encouraged to volunteer with local organisations.
'Top universities and medical schools are looking for more than just good grades. We spend a lot of time with each student building up a portfolio of experiences that will allow them to succeed and progress to university,' says Bethan.
There is a real buzz to the place, with students clearly loving being there.
'What always impresses me is how focussed and dedicated our students are. From their very first day, many students know what they want to achieve in the future and what career path they want to take. I'm extremely proud to be associated with the Newton Programme and of the great achievements our A-level students have made. It is thanks to the hard work that the students put in and the expertise and dedication of their teachers that we can maintain our status as a world-class A-level provider' says centre director, Debbie Price.
To find out more about INTO University of East Anglia's Newton A level programme, come along to the open afternoon at the INTO centre on the university campus tomorrow, Wednesday October 14, from 3.30-5.30pm or email for individual appointments: Newton@uea.ac.uk, visit www.intohigher.com/newton or follow the centre on Twitter @into_uea
To watch a taster video about INTO University of East Anglia's Newton A level programme, go to www.youtube.com and search 'Newton Programme A levels at university'.