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The student media team look forward to SSAT National Conference 2014

SSAT National Conference 2014Each year students from across the SSAT network have the opportunity to form an SSAT National Conference student media team. As is the case every year, the amount of excellent applications from schools across the country ensured picking the winning group was far from easy. After much deliberation, we are delighted to give the opportunity to Arpitha, Gemma, Olivia and Chloe from St Mary’s Catholic Academy, Blackpool.

The team will have exclusive access to all areas of the conference and will be responsible for producing their own conference report. They will work with journalists from Academies Week who will guide them through the journalistic process and provide them with the chance to have their work published across their range of media channels.

With a week to go, the team reflect on their hopes for the conference…


Chloe – Year 10
I’m really excited about the SSAT National Conference as I think it will help me with my school work and give me the chance to learn lots of new skills and meet people with journalism experience.

It will give me an insight of what it is like to be a journalist, possible career options, and the opportunity to meet people from all over the world who have different educational backgrounds.

The two days will give me lots of new skills to help me with my English and it will also improve my skim-reading and note-taking – this will hopefully make me a little bit more confident in school and in class.

I can link the skills that I already have to the skills that I will learn on the trip to make my work even better. It will be something I won’t forget – it is a great opportunity.

Sugata Mitra gives gives less fortunate children the chance to have an education and to learn how to use technology – something I think is very important

I am really looking forward to meeting Sugata Mitra because he gives less fortunate children the chance to have an education and to learn how to use technology. He also teaches Indian school children a language which is not their own. He gives everyone a chance no matter what their background – something I think is very important.


Arpitha – Year 10
I am in year 10 at St Mary’s and have had a huge amount of different experiences that I know will help me after I leave school.

If there is anything that I have learned so far it is that you learn from your mistakes. Honestly, I had a troubled start to school life at St Mary’s. I felt like I didn’t belong and realised that the step from primary to secondary was much bigger than I expected.

If there is anything that I have learned so far it is that you learn from your mistakes

I felt like a tiny fish in an enormous ocean, but soon I started joining clubs and making loads of new friends. I feel that as the years have gone by, I have grown stronger both academically and socially.

I hope to do well in my GCSEs and think have a bright future ahead of me – ideally in journalism. I consider myself to be bubbly, hardworking and reliable – attributes that I think are key for a career as a journalist.

I’m looking forward to meeting Sherry Coutu because I would like to learn more about her experiences as an entrepreneur and talk to her about the skills that employers look for in young people.

I’m also looking forward to meeting Eric Mazur because I would like to study at Harvard University when I leave St Mary’s.

I’m looking forward to meeting Sherry Coutu because I would like to… talk to her about the skills that employers look for in young people

I’m hoping the conference will help me to understand a lot more about journalism, helping me to make the right career choice.


Olivia – Year 12
I’m a sixth form student in my last year at St Mary’s and hope to go to university next year. Ideally, I want to go to the University of Manchester because I absolutely love the city. It’s also far enough from home that I can move there but not so far that my mum can still bring me food! Hopefully I get the grades I need…

For the past two years, I’ve had a weekend job at the local Topman. I try to have some free time with my friends – usually we go to sixth form socials and enjoy activities with other colleges around Blackpool. This gives us the opportunity to socialise and make friends with students from all over the town.

Myself and most of my friends find it hard to balance college work and have a social life

The keynote presentation that I am looking forward to at the conference is ‘Why can students pass tests but fail at life?’ by Eric Mazur. I find this topic particularly interesting as myself and most of my friends find it hard to balance college work and have a social life.

It seems that if you want to have success at college, you have to constantly have your head in books. That is just not possible and definitely not healthy… Well that’s what we all keep telling ourselves!

Eric’s presentation also looks at assessments, which I have found very useful. However, I do feel that some exams or assessment can rely on simple memorization of facts, which might not always prepare people for the challenges of work.

The experiences gained at the conference will help me understand what goes into ensuring that students are learning in the best possible ways. I believe if I understand that then I will be able to put these techniques to use in my own learning, hopefully making me a better student and learner.

I do feel that some exams or assessment can rely on simple memorisation of facts, which might not always prepare people for the challenges of work

Moreover, as the basis of our trip is journalism, I would like to use this as a chance to further develop my writing and thinking skills. At the moment, I am unsure what I want to do after university and this opportunity will help me build on my work experience for our local Blackpool newspaper.

My time at the conference will link perfectly into my work at college. Understanding how people learn will be a huge benefit to me, especially as I will receive much less support at university than I currently have at college.

I hope I will gain the skills and confidence to really get the most out of my final few months in sixth form and the following three years at university.


Make sure you introduce yourselves to the team during the conference – they’ll be delighted to speak to you!

A blog to Finnish the week

21 November 2014

SSAT’s response to the statement from government regarding a College of Teaching

9 December 2014

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