Eighty students from twenty schools across England attended two mid-point events on the AQA Unlocking Potential programme last week in Guildford and Manchester. The sessions marked the halfway point in the programme and allowed students, teachers and athlete mentors to gather together to recap their learnings on their journey so far and plan their social action projects.

The morning of the sessions was taken up with energisers, ice breakers and team building sessions ensuring everyone felt part of the larger group and was ready to get involved and give their all for the rest of the day.


The key part of the day was the infamous Dragon's Den pitch. Each student had to get up and deliver their elevator pitch to the Den which was made up of AQA volunteers. On the line was an £80 budget that would help them to deliver their social action project in their local community. Some of the proposed social action projects were:

  • Workshops to help deal with exam stress and body images. Delivering three workshops using physical activity, art and crafts
  • Mental health workshops for students
  • Raising awareness on the LGBT community and how negative comments can impact on mental health.
  • Doing an activity morning on healthy eating and an assembly at two schools in their area
  • Planning a knife amnesty which they hope will eliminate local crime


As a whole, everyone did an amazing job with their pitches. Standing up in front of people you've not met before, to talk through your project and answer questions is not easy but everyone took the whole thing in their stride.

The day ended with everyone sitting in a large circle where at the Guildford event, Claire Bennett asked everyone to say one word that summed up how they were feeling at the end of the day. 

Happy. Proud. Impressed. Empowered. Excited.


The Guildford group on the left with the Manchester group on the right.

The next step now is for all the students to go back to their schools and deliver their chosen social action projects. Their athlete mentors will be with them every step of the way as they deliver these projects that will make a massive impact in their local communities. Then we'll all meet again for one final celebration event on the 7th July at London Zoo.