Joanna Clayden (31)
Alevel PE - Grade A
GCSE PE - A*
Member of England National teams: Under-16, U-18 and U-21. Along with playing for her high school, Lytham St. Annes, Joanna also swam, played tennis, netball, cricket, field hockey and ran track. She went on to study at Auburn University in Alabama where she played for the college basketball team the Auburn Tigers.
Kieran Brookes (26)
Studied GCSE P.E at LSA. Although born in England, he played at many underage levels for Ireland, including U-18, U-19 and U-20. He has committed himself to the England rugby team, playing for England in an uncapped match against the Barbarians and for the England Saxons in their successful Churchill Cup campaign in the summer of 2011. In May 2014 he was called up to Englands training squad for the tour of New Zealand. Currently plays for the Newcastle Falcons but announced he'll be joining the Northampton Saints at the end of the 2014-15 season. @kbrookes3
Ali Barrett (24)
Studied GCSE and A level PE at LSA. Has been kitesurfing since 2003 and is currently one of the best kitesurfers in the world. His rankings include 3x SKA National Champion,Uniwake Winter Jam 1st, Wakeboarding Nationals 3rd, Head BKSA Freestyle Judge & European Freestyle Judge. @alibarrett10 alibarrett.co.uk
George Tanner (Third from right, bottom row)
Started to study GCSE PE but left LSA to commit to a full time contract at Manchester United U-15 squad.
"During year 10 I took a wide range of subjects, however now wish I had taken the more in depth science as this subject supports a wide range of jobs and looks fantastic for university. Once I completed my GCSE exams I gained all C and above grades I was ecstatic. By gaining these grades means I haven’t had to repeat them as nearly all jobs and also courses require a C or above in at least maths and English. These grades also helped me to get onto the courses I wanted to at A level. During sixth form year one I did my CCLD level 3 and Photography too, this was fantastic as alongside each other it allowed me to gain a wide range of experience and knowledge. In Year two I gained a B as level in photography and I decided to concentrate solely on my level 3 as this was something I was very passionate about and was the career path I wanted to take. I finally achieved my level 3 at distinction which was amazing. Due to having various placements during my training I was then offered a job in one of the nursery settings holiday cover, this helped me in getting my foot in the door, after two months I was then offered a job based in the 2-3’s room with specific key children this was great and really helped my knowledge grow. A year later I then gained a higher role at one of their sister nurseries to be a room co-ordinator within the 2-3’s this was an amazing opportunity and really helped me in getting where I am today. I am now deputy manager within a childcare setting and also have a mortgage with my partner too. In this job role I have gained such a wide range of training which has supported my learning such as paediatric first aid, safeguarding children level 2, hanen speech and language, moving and handling, food hygiene, food dude and also gained further training alongside a fantastic social worker in training to safeguard children in the workplace. All the qualifications are fantastic to help me gain further and get to where I would like to be which is to work as a social worker. I have gained all this and I am still only 19 years of age!"
I started LSATPAC in 2007 and left in 2013, I continued on at the high school for sixth form as I wanted to do a combination of BTEC's and ALevels and the sixth form was the most practical for me as it was close to home and I already knew teachers there. In sixth form I studied;
- BTEC Children's Care Learning and Development (equivalent to 2 ALevels)
- English Language
- Philosophy and Ethics
When I left in 2013 I had managed to get A-C in all of the GCSE's which I studied including Maths, English and Science.
In terms of my ALevels I got 2 Distinction's in my BTEC, a C in Philosophy and Ethics and a D in English Language.
Prior to sitting my final exams I had applied to 5 universities including Edge Hill which was my first choice, I had applied to do Primary Education with QTS. I had to attend an interview where I had to prepare a presentation and had to present to the rest of the group and then This was a very difficult course to get onto and I needed to get 320 UCAS points in my ALevels.
Due to my results I got into my first choice at Edge Hill University where I am now currently studying. I have recently finished my first teaching practice and got graded 'good' in all lesson observations and overall.
When I leave university I plan on moving back to the Lytham, St Annes area and finding a teaching job in a local school.
From an early age I remember playing with my friends at “being a teacher”! When it came to choosing my options at LSA High School, I knew I wanted to work with children but not sure exactly which career path to follow.
I chose BTEC Children’s Care and Learning Development as an option together with my GCSEs. Whilst this was a lot of work with placements and assignments I thoroughly enjoyed the subject I had chosen and had an excellent, encouraging teacher.
Having passed my GCSEs and gaining 2A Grades in Children’s Care Learning and Development I was undecided what to study next but I had a desire for primary school teaching.
I wasn’t too keen to commit to A levels initially and did look at Blackpool & Fylde College for other routes to gain entry to university. I was informed that there may be an A level equivalent at LSA.
The A level equivalent was Children’s Care & Learning Development and this gave me the opportunity to have placements within Nurseries, Special Needs Schools & Mainstream schools. During my time at Sixth Form I also found part time employment with children’s play settings at weekends. One of my nursery placements even offered me full time work in the school holidays to cover staff annual leave which I only secured because the staff knew my capabilities from placement.
I visited both Edge Hill University & University of Cumbria on their Open Days and decided to apply for a BA Hons in Primary Education with my first choice being Cumbria. I was successful in gaining an interview, which was intense with group work/discussions and a formal interview. The feedback I received was how my passion for working with children came across and was offered a place subject to my results. I continued to work at the nursery and play areas throughout my time at university which gave me experience and confidence in dealing with children and their parents.
I graduated in July 2015 but securing an NQT post was difficult with huge numbers of applicants for each post and some of the applicants were already in temporary posts within the schools. I interviewed for a post but was unsuccessful. This was disheartening as the feedback from the interview and my teaching observation was positive. I continued to apply for other teaching posts and was offered an interview at Anchorsholme Academy. The interview consisted of teaching a class lesson, an interview with School Governors and an interview with the Head Teacher and deputy Head Teacher; again another intense experience. I was successful is gaining a one year NQT contract and I am currently teaching Year 3, enjoying the experience of my first teaching post. I have recently had a further interview and successfully been appointed to a permanent post within the school.
I am extremely proud of my achievements to have been successful with such competition for jobs. I know the practical placement work experience has been vital in helping me throughout my journey. Teaching has always been my passion and this has given me the drive to keep working through the stages to achieve my ultimate goal.
Veterinary medicine is competitive to gain entry to. Currently there are 10 applications for every place, and there are only seven universities in the UK currently offering the degree. The most important thing to remember is that you may have to take a year or two out before getting a place, and not to get disheartened. I know some great vets, who’ve gone on to become European specialists in their fields, who didn’t get in first time round.
To study as an undergraduate, you will require top A level grades in at least two sciences, one of which will need to be Chemistry. Several universities also require the BMAT exam. A strong personal statement with some good work experience is necessary too. Each university has different minimum requirements, so check their prospective websites. It’s important to start doing this early, as Vet applications on UCAS are earlier than for general subjects. It’s not necessarily the quantity, but quality of experience that is important. You need to critically analyse and discuss what you learnt from your placements in both your statement and interview. Don’t be swayed too much by what you read on student forums. There’ll be people on there who reel off months and months of experience, but most of the vet students I know, myself included, did around 10 weeks or so.
The first two years of the course are general science based, with some animal handling and basic clinical skills. It isn’t until the last two years that you really start to get your hand in at ‘playing vet’. You need to be patient and appreciate that the first few years will give you a good grounding for the rest of your career. Similarly, the workload is massive compared to other degree subjects. The RCVS require 12 weeks of Extra Mural Studies on farms in the first 2 years holidays, and then a minimum of 26 weeks during clinical school. Don’t expect to have long summers off, you’ll be on placement for most of it!
It’s important to realise that being a vet isn’t always as people imagine it to be. You’ll spend a lot of your time putting animals to sleep and there are often financial and other constraints which means treatments which are available aren’t always feasible. Although paid well, relatively, compared to other similar training lengths such as Medicine and Dentistry, you will be paid poorly. If you’re going into Veterinary Medicine to make lots of money, think again! Having said all that, studying Veterinary Medicine is the best decision I ever made, and I don’t regret it at all.
Most courses are five years in length, though at Cambridge it’s six, as all Undergraduates are required to do another subject in their third year to gain a degree. If you’re thinking about vet, but aren’t sure, this is a great option, as you can always walk away after three years with a full honours science degree, which is not possible everywhere else. Finally, just to say that if you really want to study it is possible. Every university takes a few graduate students, and from 2017, the government will provide tuition fee loans for this. The typical Grad entry requirement is a 2.1 in a bioscience subject. From first-hand experience, this is an option if your A Level grades aren’t the best. I gained ABB back in Sixth Form, yet, as a grad, had three offers for veterinary medicine. Good luck!
After leaving the high school, I attended a further 2 years education at the 6th form college at Lytham, studying BTEC ICT, and BTEC Performing Arts, graduating with Distinction grades!
My first ‘post-education’ employment (as I took a gap year opposed to going straight to university) was at Blackpool Pleasure Beach as the on-park photographer.
Shortly after, I auditioned for an acting job with Merlin Entertainments ltd, for the then upcoming Blackpool Tower Dungeons attraction, I was lucky enough to become employed as an actor aged 18!
However, the nature of this job wasn’t for me, so prior to resigning I applied for a job at the Blackpool branch of CurrysPCWorld, working initially in Camera sales and the photography department, moving onto customer services.
On numerous occasions, I ran the department as manager allowing me to later fly to the Isle of Man to open their new store over there, which was a great experience and an amazing opportunity, albeit the rather interesting flight from the now defunct Blackpool Airport…
Upon my return from the Isle of Man, I later ran the computer technical and setup department of the store, giving 30-minute tutorials on technology for those who needed either general, or specific software assistance; Windows 7-to-8 upgrades, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, Sage business software, Antivirus installs, etc.
Alongside my 3 year employment at CurrysPCWorld, I worked again, at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, in the theatrical magic, illusion, and variety show Beyond Belief, for the final 2 years of production. There, I undertook the roles of stagehand (preparing the illusions, operating illusions, organising costumes), theatrical technician (directing lighting and technical queues), sound designer (compiling the musical score for the show, arranging the score, finalising and working to lighting queues), choreographer (various dance routines, performance with illusions and my own act), and performer (various dance routines, ensemble routines, illusions, solo juggling act, juggling act with dance troupe)
Also over the past 3 years on and off, I have worked as a PA for internationally renowned director and choreographer Antony Johns, arranging meetings, assisting with organising the setup of the office and business, and continuing with my love for photography, having photographed the RAF Red Arrows Display team, and being the press photography alongside Antony Johns for the visitBlackpool/ILoveBPL International Fireworks competition.
With my interesting in engineering continuing to my current line of employment (explained below) my passion for motoring has thrived, being in the process of restoring/rebuilding a Subaru Impreza UK2000 turbo, with the plan to get it ‘rally-ready’ within 5 years, the most recent of work being a full chassis rebuild, painstaking at the very least… next step is new brake lines, new calipers, disks, pads, full underseal, roll-cage install, strip the interior, new suspension, sequential gear box, drivetrain, bushes…the list goes on…oh, and a custom rally livery!
After 3 years at CurrysPCWorld and Beyond Belief, I decided to broaden my horizons and apply for an apprenticeship with BAE Systems to start in the 2014 intake, I’m now 2 years into that apprenticeship studying Aeronautical Engineering specialising as an Aircraft Fitter on the BAE Hawk T2, Eurofighter Typhoon, and Lockheed Martin F35 Lightning II, this wouldn’t have been possible without my 2 year BTEC Engineering course I did in Year’s 10 and 11 of Lytham High School, so a huge thanks to the engineering department for that!
Alongside the apprenticeship I’ve completed a 2-year Level 3 National diploma in Aeronautical Engineering Principles, including; A-Level Mathematics, Physics, Engineering Design, Engineering Principles, Materials, Electronic theory, Avionic Mechanical theory, Engineering Project, Aircraft Fitting, Avionic and household electrical systems, C.A.D. (Computer Aided Design), Machining, amongst other Aeronautical and Avionic based studies, to which I graduate from the National Diploma this month (July 2016)!
I’m scheduled to graduate from my apprenticeship as of November 2017, and then out into the world of BAE Systems I go!
And that brings me to today, where I finish the story of what I’ve achieved after leaving Lytham High.