Growing in confidence and aiming high with Kings
Milly Usher-Wheatly is currently resitting her A-levels at Kings Brighton, with the aim of pursuing a career in Medicine via a Biomedical Science degree.
Here, in a recent interview, she shares her views on Kings, compared to other schools she has attended, and the positive impact her experience with us has had on her confidence and outlook.
Hi Millie. What’s the teaching like at Kings?
It’s very good. It’s a much higher standard than I’ve ever experienced, which is refreshing. It’s amazing — so much better than what I’d known.
The teachers here put more into it — they give everything and they spend time on giving you resources and any help that you need. I’m doing catch-up sessions for my Biology and it’s the extra things that the teachers here put in place for you which is very helpful.
What’s the community like at Kings?
Everyone just kind of knows everyone, it’s nice.
"Everyone’s friendly and easy to talk to. It is like a community. Normally, in other schools, people have their friendship groups because it’s bigger, but here because it’s nice and small you can speak to everyone."
What are you plans for the future after you complete your A-levels?
I’m resitting my A-levels at the moment. The dream is Medicine — that’s my aim. Because I’m resitting my A-levels it’s a bit more difficult for me to go straight into Medicine the normal way, but you can do it through a Biomedical Science degree, by finding universities that allow you to transfer onto a medical course after the first year if you do well enough. You can also just do the normal 3-year Biomedical Science degree and then go on to study the medical part afterwards, which will probably be my choice. So yeah, that’s the route that I’m taking.
Can you tell us about the support that you’re given at Kings Brighton?
We have school counsellors — I have Annika, who is lovely! She’s so helpful and so nice. If I ever feel like I need to talk to someone then she is always there and I can message her or go and see her. I’ve never had support like that in education.
They [the staff] check up on you and ask if you’re doing okay and whether there’s anything that you need or anything you’d like to change. It’s nice to have that because sometimes you feel like you’re getting a bit lost in it all. Having someone to talk to about things is really nice. The teachers are just as good at doing that as well, so you can basically talk to everyone about everything!
How do you think the school has been keeping students safe during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I think as a school we’ve all done very well considering the circumstances. We’ve got joint classrooms with students who are studying online and people who attend the actual lessons in class. It’s nice that everyone can be included.
Safety-wise, we have hand sanitiser everywhere, which is nice because I’m so obsessed with putting it on! It’s really settling here because we have to wear our masks everywhere, unless we’re outside, and once we’re in the classroom we all sit apart from each other, which is good so that if you want to then take the mask off, you can. It’s very clean as well — we have disinfectant wipes for our tables and chairs. There’s a lot in place, which is good.
How would you describe Kings to a friend who was thinking of coming here?
It’s a completely different level — a completely different standard of learning. I’m lost for words, I’m not really sure how to describe it other than the fact that… It’s just amazing! So much better than anything I’ve ever experienced with education.
"You get so much support and the teachers are really concerned with how much you can push yourself. They don’t settle for a grade that you’re okay with having, they say ‘reach for a grade that you want’."
I came into this school saying, well, I’ve never really got those grades to get into Medicine so I’ve never really thought that I could do it. Talking to Nigel [school Principal] and Marc Benier [Head of Academic Subjects] was nice because it fills me with confidence that I can do it, which is nice because I’ve never really had that. They push you to do the best that you can. It’s nice because you get the confidence to do it, and then hopefully you succeed.
How has coming to Kings changed your outlook on yourself, as an academic?
I kind of always just settled for my grades [in the past] — I was told to be realistic about my options in life, which is obviously not very nice.
"I think coming to Kings has given me so much confidence in what I can do. I can now do things that I didn’t think I could do with my academics — for example Chemistry and other things that I couldn’t understand before. I thought it was too hard and I just wasn’t smart enough. But that is just not the case at all! The things that I couldn’t do before that I now can do — I get so much joy from it."
I’ve always loved learning, but I lost that for a while when I thought I wasn’t smart enough. Coming here and having the extra support so that I can understand it and I can do it has made me think that I’m not just stupid. I’m a lot more confident.
See some of Millie's comments on film: