Four TGS students can look forward to a series of ‘transformational’ mentoring sessions with an Olympic athlete after being selected to participate in this year’s AQA Unlocking Potential programme.

This is a real achievement, as they are one of only 80 young people from across the UK to have the opportunity to experience this exciting mentoring programme, which will help make a positive impact on their lives.

The programme is run in connection with the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, providing mentoring for young people who stand to benefit from the opportunity to work with a designated local mentor.

Our students’ mentor is two-times Olympian Ben Fletcher, former British and now Irish judoka. The students will embark on an eight-month programme with him to build confidence, skills and ‘unlock potential’.

Ben will draw on his experiences of ambition, personal sacrifice and overcoming adversity to help guide our students in a series of sessions to motivate them in discovering and developing their own strengths that make the most of their potential. The students have also been asked to plan and deliver a social action project which benefits their local community, with Ben’s help.

Ben is confident his skills in the sporting realm are transferrable and he is looking forward to working with our students. He said:

“As an Olympian I have trained for many years trying to achieve my goals and be the best I can be. I feel like I have developed a number of skills which are transferable from the sporting realm to every area of life – this is where my passion for coaching and mentoring comes in. I love giving back and hope to inspire the next generation to achieve their goals, and I love the challenge of working with different individuals from different backgrounds and growing myself while hopefully aiding in their success.”

Wellbeing Lead at TGS, Patrick Wall, is looking forward to January, when Ben will come in for his first session with the group. He said:

“I think the way Ben will relate to our students will really help them. He’s very engaging, someone the pupils can look up to – physically and metaphorically as he is enormous! I think his experiences of dealing with the challenges life throws at you will help these students with whatever challenges they are going through and help build them up for the future. We’re really excited about this programme – it’s something we’ve never done here before. Unlocking the potential these students have in them but maybe aren’t showing currently and potentially changing lives is something you don’t get to do every day.”

Headteacher Jo Halliday explained how the programme fits into the Well School Framework:

“Underlying much of our decision-making is our focus on our Well School Framework. The AQA Unlocking Potential course fits like a glove with all of our principles of a Well School and we are beyond excited for the four students who now have this incredible opportunity; we know that both opportunity and success can lead to increased aspiration and self-belief which are so important in development towards independence and a successful and happy future.”

The Unlocking Potential programme will run from now until July. The students’ first mentor meeting is scheduled in January when we look forward to welcoming Ben Fletcher to Theale Green School!

For further information on the programme, please visit:

See more our about our Well School Framework at:


What is AQA Unlocking Potential?

The AQA Unlocking Potential programme, run jointly with the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, aims to bring out the best in young people so that they can achieve their goals.

It’s a mentoring programme for pupils aged from 11–19 years of age, delivered by world class athletes from the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust.

It takes a special group of participants on a personal journey that aims to provide the following outcomes for pupils:

  • increased confidence, self-esteem and resilience
  • improved wellbeing
  • enhanced aspirations and expectations on future life goals, whether from school to college, college to university or into training and employment
  • develop transferable skills such as presentation and leadership, as well as using own initiative
  • improved teachability
  • improved motivation to take positive action in their community.