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High Achievers Programme (HAP)

What is the High Achievers Programme?

The High Achievers Programme (HAP) is aimed at students who have achieved mostly A*-A or 9-7 grades at GCSE. The programme offers structured support for students who have aspirations to study:

  • Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Medicine.
  • at Oxford or Cambridge
  • at a Russell Group or other prestigious universities.

Last academic year, HAP students had the opportunity to listen to guest speakers from Cambridge and Oxford University, meet a past student from St Hilda’s who is now studying History at Oxford, attend many University visits and conferences linked to Oxbridge and other top Universities. Many of the students involved in the HAP also took part in the Cambridge University Higher Education Programme (HE+) and/or completed an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ).

How do students become members of the High Achievers Programme?

Members of the HAP must achieve at least six A*-A or 9/7 grades at GCSE, although it may be possible for students to join the programme based on internal mock examinations in year 12. Last academic year, 14 students from year 12 have taken part in the programme.

Potential GCSE High Achievers

Potential high achieving students in year 11 at St Hilda’s CE High school will have the opportunity to attend events run by St Hilda’s College such as guest speakers from prestigious Universities and external events. Last academic year, 34 students were selected as potential High Achievers and 6 of these students, with the highest results in the year group, attended a Raising Aspiration Conference organised by Cambridge University. Selection of GCSE High Achievers was determined by internal assessment results and predicted GCSE grades from subject teachers along with students who have high target grades from KS2 (KS2 5a+). For the current academic year, we will be looking for a cohort of 20 pupils each from years 10 and 11 for selection as potential high achievers and take part in the programme.

Cambridge University Higher Education Programme (HE+)

The HE+ is a collaborative project between the University of Cambridge, St Hilda’s College and other state schools. According to Cambridge, ‘the overall goal of the project is to encourage and prepare more academically-able students to make competitive applications to top Universities, including the University of Cambridge.’ Ten year 12 HAP students took part in the HE+ programme which involved extension classes, subject masterclasses, information and guidance sessions. Participants in the programme had to complete a group research presentation on a subject area of their choice and the programme finished with an overnight residential visit to Cambridge University.

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

All Year 12 HAP students are encouraged to complete an EPQ. This course allows students to select an area of particular interest. This could be to produce an artefact and/or written report supported by a presentation to their fellow students. The EPQ is designed to prepare students for independent study and the transition from A-level to Higher Education. EPQ participants benefit from one to one support from a supervisor and on completion, they will be graded equivalently to an AS grade. Many Universities recognise the EPQ as a great benefit to application forms and some Universities offer UCAS points to students who have completed the project. The number of both HAP students and standard students from St Hilda College completing this qualification has increased greatly over the years. This academic year 20 college students completed the qualification and all achieved 100% A* – C to secure a positive value added.


  • 14 year 12 HAP students and 34 Year 11 Potential HAP students attended Cambridge and Oxford talks hosted by St Hilda’s College for local Liverpool schools.
  • All HAP Year 12 and Year 11 HAP students attended an extended assembly and received UCAS application advice from a St Hilda’s past student who is currently studying at Oxford University.
  • Year 12 HAP students attended an Oxbridge student conference at Aintree racecourse, benefited from training on research skills, independent learning and referencing skills at Liverpool Hope University Library and participation in a UCAS application workshop.
  • Year 12 HAP students took part in the Cambridge Higher Education programme (HE+) and are currently completing an EPQ at St Hilda’s college.
  • The EPQ has successfully grown in participants this academic year and should maintained a positive value added in the August examination results.
  • 6 year 11 HAP students attended a Raising Aspirations Conference organised by Cambridge University at Goodison Park.
  • 5 Year 12 HE+ Students attended a two day residential at Cambridge University.

Just some of our student destinations…

  • Brooke Andrus – Law – University of Newcastle
  • Jennifer Binns – French and German – University of Liverpool
  • Alexandra Bowers – Anthropology and Archaeology – University of Durham
  • Danielle Brayford – Occupational Therapy – University of Liverpool
  • Isabella Cody – Marine Sciences – University of Plymouth
  • Lydia Croft – Modern Languages – University of Exeter
  • Georgia Knights – Biomedical Sciences – University of Warwick
  • Rachel Scrutton – Film and Media – University of Newcastle
  • Bronwen Thomas – Geography (Human) and Planning – University of Cardiff
  • Heather Winterton – English and French – University of Warwick