Ciara Alleyne – PACA 

Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA) student Ciara Alleyne left the Academy this summer with aspirations for a future in STEM subjects, after enjoying many STEM opportunities presented to her in her time at the Academy.  

Although Ciara believes she is a firm all-rounder when it comes to learning, she has had an interest in STEM subjects from a young age, growing up in a very science-orientated family, “I feel like I grew up in a science lab, as a science teacher my nan’s house had so many weird things in it!”   

Ciara believes that the opportunities presented to her at PACA have encouraged this interest, she said, “our STEM department started getting stronger and stronger and I guess it was the teachers that made me love STEM”.  Ciara’s risk-taking, enhanced through PACA’s focus on developing the Aldridge Attributes, paid off in her final year at the Academy when she was awarded positions on both of the summer STEM placements she applied for, at Cambridge and Imperial Universities. Ciara credits part of her success for gaining a place on the placements to the support from her teachers, she said, “we had to write personal statements and my teacher would check them over and then ask her contacts to look over them too. Cambridge had over 2000 people apply and there were only 34 places. Of the 34, they said that in particular our personal statements were really strong.” 

Ciara hopes to attend more placements, and even apply for a placement in America that was brought to her attention at Cambridge.  After her time at Cambridge Ciara also has a new goal, to read Human Social and Political Sciences. She says, “I learnt about the course on the placement, it broadened my view, it is my goal to get onto that course!” 

Ciara believes her leadership abilities helped her lead her team at one placement to win their challenge. Ciara knows that her leadership qualities have been realised by working by the Aldridge Attributes endorsed by the Academy. Also, having been Head Girl at PACA Ciara said, “I feel like it has set me up for life, because I can always reference it. It’s my foundation into being independent and being a leader.  It sparks more confidence.”  

Ciara is sure that PACA will continue to improve the confidence and skills of all the students, she said, “being a concentrated environment where you are given a lot of attention by teachers, I feel like it really brings out someone’s confidence, but it also helps those who already have that confidence to flourish even more.  You feel special at PACA, a lot of attention is given to every student and I think without that no one would have the confidence to do these amazing things.  I feel it is engrained in PACA now, that is just the way it works.”  

“My time at PACA has been incredible with a great community, one I’ve been happy to contribute to during my time.” 

Ciara achieved a stunning 8 grade 8s, 1 grade 7, one grade 6 and a Distinction in her GCSEs.