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Paston College helped me land my dream university place

6th January 2022 – Tags: A Levels

Paston College provided the supportive environment Poppy needed to successfully make the transition from high school to college – paving the way for her outstanding achievements at A Level and a place on her dream university course studying ecology and conservation. 

As someone who finds change difficult, the move from high school to college was a challenging step for Poppy that she was anxious about making. However, she found that Paston College’s A Level teachers, and her A Level tutor, were incredibly understanding: 

It was the best college I could ever have gone to,” says Poppy, “the teachers were really helpful at settling me in. I had the best teachers. They give you lots of encouragement. You can talk to them about whatever you are interested in, and they are excited for you about what you are doing and what you can go on to do.” 

Poppy Bye 3

Poppy’s choice of A Level subjects – biology, chemistry, and georgaphy – served to deepen her longstanding interest in the natural world and conservation. As a child, Poppy got involved with the British Chelonia Group and helped out with the tortoises that are a feature of their stand at the Royal Norfolk Show each year. She also has fond memories of a zookeeper experience at Colchester Zoo that she enjoyed for her 13th birthday. 

Whilst at Paston College, Poppy got involved in an impressive array of extracurricular activities. She became a Young Ambassador for the National Autistic Society, volunteered in a hedgehog rescue centre, delivered talks at local primary schools about hedgehogs, working at the Hamlet Charity helping young people with complex learning needs, won an Art-Science Award through Norwich Research Park, and created ‘Positive Jenga’ as a tool to promote students’ wellbeing. 

Poppy’s teachers describe her as ‘determined’, ‘resilient’, and ‘passionate’ about conservation - attributes which contributed to her achieving 3* grades, securing her place at UEA to study Ecology and Conservation, and being awarded a UEA Bright Spark Scholarship for her EPQ (for which she created a pop-up children’s book). 

Poppy says that she is “loving” her course at UEA and is finding the modules “super interesting” - “I don’t think there is a better course I could do,” she adds. 

Poppy says she is “really happy and proud” to have won two Further Education Student Awards: 

It was heartwarming to hear the kind words that were said about me. I would tell anyone and everyone about how much I loved Paston and all the people there. This just makes me very happy.”