What is Seren? A guide for newcomers

You might have heard about Seren but with the initial excitement of the academic year starting to calm down, you might now find yourself wondering what it involves.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Seren, read on for some key information to get you up to speed.

Cabinet Secretary for Education Kirsty Williams at the 2018 Seren Conference

In 2014 Paul Murphy, Lord Murphy of Torfaen, noticed a drop in Welsh students being accepted into Oxford and Cambridge (Oxbridge). He found Welsh students had a 19.5% chance of getting into Oxbridge in comparison to 25% from the rest of the UK.

As a result, Seren was established. Designed to increase the numbers of Welsh teenagers getting into Oxbridge, Seren supports Wales’ brightest and best state school students in realising their potential.

Seren is a national network of hubs across Wales which provides opportunities, support and guidance to encourage students to strive to be the best they can be and apply for universities that may have previously appeared unattainable.

At the beginning of each academic year Seren invites the next cohort of students from years 12 and 13 to join one of its hubs with the hope of inspiring them to achieve their full potential.

There are 13 regional hubs across Wales: Flintshire & Wrexham, Swansea, Rhondda Cynon Taf & Merthyr Tydfil, Carmarthenshire & Pembrokeshire, Education Achievement Service Consortia, Cardiff, Neath Port Talbot, Conwy & Denbighshire, Anglesey & Gwynedd, Ceredigion, Vale of Glamorgan, Powys and Bridgend.

hubs map english

These hubs are led by a dedicated Seren coordinator who creates a calendar of activities, such as the annual Seren Conference, university residentials like Jesus College Summer School, workshops with leading university professors, subject specific events and advice and guidance workshops.

Seren has also formed partnerships with leading departments at the Welsh Universities, all making strides in their areas of academic specialism and supporting Seren students through workshops, masterclasses and events. These academic specialisms range from engineering at Swansea to international politics at Aberystwyth and dentistry at Cardiff University.

In June of this year statistics showed that the Seren programme is seeing great success, with more Welsh students being offered places at Oxford and Cambridge year on year.

Cambridge University made the highest number of offers this year to state-educated Welsh students, and applications from Welsh state-educated students to Oxford University have increased by 13% since 2016.

Take a look at what past and present Seren students had to say:

“I found out about the Jesus College Summer School at Oxford University on the Seren Facebook page and jumped at the chance to apply. I was amazed when I got offered a place and enjoyed every second of my week there. It gave me an insight into life at the university while also giving me a flavour of what the course would be like” – Darcy Holland studying History at Oxford University.

“Being part of Seren is an amazing experience – it provided me with opportunities I never would have dreamed of.” – Morgan Edwards studying A-Levels at Llantwit Major Secondary School.

“My hub coordinator provided me with a lot of guidance and support throughout the process of applying to uni – it made it so much easier!” – Charlotte Belton studying Maths at Durham University.

“Seren has helped me prepare for university through the tips and advice from various talks I have been to which were put on by Seren.” – Joe Lagorio Price studying Medicine at Cambridge University.

03.07.19 mh SEREN event Cardiff5

And make sure to follow our social channels to keep updated on all things Seren:

Facebook – facebook.com/serennetwork

Twitter – @RhwydwaithSeren / @Seren_Network

Instagram – @RhwydwaithSeren / @serennetwork

Blog – rhwydwaithseren.blog.llyw.cymru/ serennetwork.blog.gov.wales

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