Interviews with Sixth Formers

“Teachers set the bar higher and planted faith in me”

Ester has so far received offers from 4 of the 5 universities that she applied to, at Manchester, East Anglia, Sheffield and Aston University. She wants to study for a bachelor’s degree in International Business Management and Economics.

Ester was surprised with the results, and says that the offers from Manchester and Sheffield were hard to believe. However, her teachers and mother had full confidence in her.

Ester has been an Ark Globe Academy student since primary school. She stresses the support of Globe throughout her education: “I’ve been one of the longest term students here. The staff not only helped me with my health condition which affected my education, but also with becoming the person I am now.”

“They helped me with my learning difficulties, supported me in receiving speaking therapy and tailoring the schedule for my needs. I was slow in reading and speaking, so was given more time in English Literature, for example. My teachers made sure that I would get to the point I needed to. Their influence changed my life.”

Ester has applied for Globe’s innovative Professional Pathways programme at the end of year 12. Professional Pathways is BTEC Level 3 vocational qualifications including wider opportunities to engage with international companies and work placements.

“Teachers usually have the best idea which field would be best for us to choose. They prepare us with enrichments and extracurricular activities as well. I got to see a business environment and loved Economics as a subject. When we weren’t very satisfied with my A level results, Ms Donachy, the head of 6th Form, advised me to choose Business Pathways.”

“That was a very stressful moment for me, but Ms Donachy’s support was key. This changed everything; my mindset changed, my confidence increased, I developed communication and leadership skills. I am now elected as the Student Union President.”

Ester lives with her mother and 10-year-old twin sisters. She says that her mother understands her very well: “She expected me to go to a good university. She has seen me working very hard all the time. I go to bed early, wake up very early, and sometimes stay late at school.” Ester is a role model to her sisters.

Ester says that teachers set the bar higher, and planted faith in her. She claims that without Business Pathways, she wouldn’t have pursued higher education in Business Management and Economics. She explains how the culture of aspiration evident in the Sixth Form staff contributed to her success: “I was given two awards. One was for resilience, and the other one was the Head of Sixth Form Award, which involved a big ceremony. Whenever I felt down, they were there to talk to me.”

Before reaching the point of applying to these 5 universities, Ester considered many others in the UK, and visited about 10 of them on their open days. Ark Globe Academy provided financial support for the trips and Ms Barcinska, Sixth Form Student Advisor, travelled with Ester to some of these universities.

“My mother could not come with me, and I didn’t want to go alone. Ms Barcinska travelled to these cities with me; this was very influential. She taught me what to look for in a university, what is important to assess before making the decision. The next university to visit was Sheffield; and this time I could go there alone and checked all of those criteria on my own. This was so important to experience while trying to find out which was the right university for me.“

She would like to work abroad and come back to London in a managerial position. She wants to work in a big company and eventually become a CEO. “This is such a big dream for someone with my background, and as a female, too. Becoming a CEO of a big company… this is how I see myself in the future.” says Ester.

Her advice to people like her, who have started the path of education with difficulties, is to push through and not to give up halfway. She also advises not to allow any negative situations either at home or among friends to influence them. She adds: “They should believe that they are perfect the way they are. I know it’s clichéd but it is also right. It’s all about growth!”

Ester’s trajectory almost illustrates Globe’s Culture Pyramid. When finally we ask her 3 takeaways from Globe, she proposes to name 4, saying: “Professionalism, Integrity, Resilience and Growth Mindset. I know this is such a typical thing to say, as these are Globe values, but they are so true! I got Professionalism and Integrity from 6th Form, Resilience from Secondary, and Growth Mindset from Primary School.”