Eighty students from twenty schools across the UK started their AQA Unlocking Potential programme this week with a virtual launch from Adam Whitehead, Olympic swimmer and athlete manager at the Trust.

Normally we would be meeting in two groups in AQA offices in Manchester and Guildford to launch the programme but because of COVID we had to do the launch virtually of course. Despite a few technical hitches with the live stream, we sent out a recorded version of the session on YouTube so that all students, teachers and volunteers involved with the programme could get a better understanding of the months ahead.

Adam outlined what will happen over the coming months of the programme and how the athletes will work with each school. This year there will be a mixture of virtual sessions and live sessions where possible and once again all students will be asked to deliver a social action project that has a positive impact on their community. We shared a couple of videos of previous social action projects as an inspiration to the students and challenged to start thinking about what issues they might want to consider for their projects.

Adam also introduced all the athletes who will be working with the students on the programme, including England netball star Serena Guthrie. Via a video message, each athlete said a few words about their experiences on the programme and how much they were looking forward to working with their individual schools.

The launch really sets the scene for what follows, with athletes working individually with the students over six sessions to help them increase their confidence, learn new things and make an impact. We'll be meeting up again for mid-point events half way through the programme and we are planning on having a celebration event on July 6th. We very much hope we will be able to hold this as an in person event so we can meet and celebrate all the student's achievements together.

This is the tenth year of the AQA Unlocking Potential programme and over 500 young people have attended during that time. We'd like to say a huge thank you to AQA for their ongoing support and we're looking forward to working together on another successful programme.

Here's a look back to last year's programme, to give everyone a flavour of what is to come.