31/01/2020"Yes, YOU have the potential to go to university"

ThinkHigher student case study

“Yes, Tate, YOU have the potential to go to University!”

Tate Mckay is a year 12 student at St Thomas More Catholic School and Sixth Form in Nuneaton, Warwickshire with ambitions to study Sport Psychology at University. Three years ago, at the start of Year 10, Tate was unsure about her future and Higher Education was not on her radar. At this point she was given the chance to become a ThinkHigher student which she fully embraced and hasn’t looked back since.

Tate’s first encounter with ThinkHigher was a one to one appointment with her Raising Aspirations Coordinator, Jamie Ormes. It was at this meeting where Tate was surprised to hear that she had been chosen because of her potential to access Higher Education. The  mentoring sessions with Jamie took place in Tate’s school and gave Tate a platform to discuss her education and plans for the future.

“Tate was excited by the project but I remember she really didn’t like school, she was often late and gave the impression that she couldn’t wait to leave school. Seeing Tate working hard at her A Levels at one of the best sixth forms in the area shows how far she has come” Jamie Ormes, ThinkHigher Raising Aspirations Coordinator.

Based on her interests, Tate elected to attend two ThinkHigher Discovery Days; one focussing on Maths (University of Warwick) and another focussing Identity and Sociology (Coventry University). This gave her the opportunity to experience both campus and city universities and take part in interactive sessions alongside students with similar interests from a range of different schools. 

To reward participation in the programme and foster a positive experience of education, ThinkHigher invited 33 students to an outwards bounds residential in North Wales (Dol Y Moch). Tate stepped out of her comfort zone and attended the trip.

“Being a part of thinkhigher has improved my social skills as I was put in multiple situations where I had to interact with new people I had never met before. The biggest example of this is when we went to Wales for a few days and I got to do so many amazing activities I would have never normally had the chance to do” Tate Mckay.


After a challenging and positive first year with ThinkHigher, Tate moved in to Year 11 and decided to attend their GCSE revision boot camp called ‘PASStonbury’ during her school holiday. “For me they helped me find a way that worked best for me to study for my GCSEs.” Tate’s GCSE result were so good, she was able to secure a place at St Thomas More Sixth Form where she studies Psychology, Physical Education and Maths.

Tate is now looking forward to attending ThinkHigher’s Year 12 UNI day in April to find out more about university life, the next steps and to begin preparations towards applying to University. Tate says “I would highly recommend thinkhigher to other students as it gives you an insight into higher education as well as helping and supporting you at your current level.”

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