We are really pleased to release the final film of the 2019-20 AQA Unlocking Potential programme. In a year like no other in memory, this film demostrates the positive attitudes and resilience shown by the young people we work with and the ability of our athletes to engage, motivate and inspire. Click on the image above to view.

In total 80 students from 20 schools started the programme this year, of these:

  • 35% had a behaviour referral in the last 12 months
  • 1 in 4 had below average school attendance
  • 20% have Special Educational Needs or have a health or care plan
  • 1 in 3 were eligible for free school meals

AQA Unlocking Potential aims to raise young people’s aspirations and expectations on future life goals, whether from school to Further Education, Further Education to Higher Education, or into training and employment. 

Like everything this year, the programme was significantly disrupted, in this case it was just after the mid-point meetings in Manchester and Guildford. We were pleased that athletes were able to continue supporting students virtually in over half the schools and many students completed the programme and delivered fantastic social action projects that delivered great benefits to the local community which can be seen in the video above. A few key takeaways from the programme were: 

  • Wellbeing increased from 20.9 to 22.1 from the launch to the mid-point events, just prior to lockdown starting. While not all schools could continue, we were really pleased that despite everything that was going on, wellbeing continued to improve among the students with a final average score of 22.3 at the end of the programme in July. (Wellbeing measured using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale*)
  • 69% of students stated they ‘definitely will or would be ‘very likely’ to undertake further activities that would benefit others in their community within the next year.
  • Teachers reported big increases in 'teachability' at the end of the programme.

AQA Unlocking Potential normally ends with a big celebration event in London, however of course this couldn't happen this year. Instead as you can see in the film, we hosted a virtual celebration event which included a speech from Col. Dame Kelly Holmes, a review of the amazing social action projects and a prizegiving for students who'd gone the extra mile during lockdown.

We'd like to thank all students, teachers, athletes and AQA volunteers for working so hard on this year's programme and making it so special for all involved. Nominations will open on 5th October for this year's programme, follow the Trust on Twitter and on Facebook for announcements.  

*SWEMWBS: “Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS) © NHS Health Scotland, University of Warwick and University of Edinburgh,
2006, all rights reserved”