My afterschool club made me want to be a doctor

When Guilherme moved to the UK last year, he spoke little English. Thanks to his science teacher's revision club, he's now set on studying medicine at Oxbridge.

In March we spoke to trainee Lizzie Pocklington about how she’s using her revision club to build pupils' confidence in learning science.

One Year 9 pupil in particular, Guilherme, has come on leaps and bounds since attending her afterschool sessions. We spoke to them both about how this extra help is shaping his future ambitions.


I’m from Brazil. Just one month after moving to the UK I started at my school. I’ve learned English over the last seven months – before that I didn’t speak the language at all.

Learning science in Brazil wasn’t that different. There are different words, but the basic learning is the same. But it has still been difficult, because every time I learn something I start writing in Portuguese and I think, ah no, I need to think of this in English. I confuse the two sometimes, but now I’m getting better at that.

Science teacher Lizzie Pocklington in class

Discovering the afterschool revision club

I was in science class when Miss Pocklington told me there’s a revision club after school. I really love science, so I decided to go.

I really enjoy it! The afterschool club has helped me so much because it’s open to Year 9s, Year 10s and Year 11s, so I feel like I learn even more from the older students.

Working towards Cambridge and Oxford

I want to do biology at A-level. I love chemistry too. Physics is great, as I like all the maths we do in it, but biology is definitely my favourite subject.

I’ve been looking at universities with my parents, and we’ve been seeing what grades I need to get for them. I’m going to try and get into Cambridge or Oxford, or maybe Glasgow. I know it’s going to be difficult, and it’s very competitive, but Miss Pocklington said she’ll help me.

When I’m older I want to do medicine at university and become a doctor. I think I’m going to become a cardiologist because I find it really interesting. Either that or dermatology.

The best teacher

I just want to say thank you to Miss Pocklington. When I first started at school and didn’t speak English, she helped me so much. In my opinion, Miss Pocklington is the best teacher, so I just want to say thank you so much for everything she’s done for me.


Guilherme joined my class in late October, 2019. He was brand new to the school and brand new to the UK.

When he first joined my class his English wasn’t great. I can’t even imagine how overwhelming it must have been for him coming into an English school and being expected to get on with learning in a different language.

Science teacher Lizzie Pocklington and her student Guilherme

The language of science

It was quite hard for me as a new teacher. Even an English-speaking student can struggle with some of the scientific words we learn. It’s like learning a new language – you just don’t hear them in everyday life. I found that I had to break down everything I was saying to Guilherme so that it was really clear, but it probably benefited all my students.

Hard work and ambition

Guilherme is a very fast learner and his English has improved so much over the last few months. He comes to every single one of my lessons and works so hard. He puts his hand up and he does his homework all the time, on time. He’s got the intrinsic motivation to do really well and that enables him to be super successful in science, which is so nice to see.

The opportunity to succeed

I found out that Guilherme wanted to study medicine at the afterschool club, which I was really delighted about because he’s got such a great attitude to learning. He wants to go to Oxford and Cambridge, which is absolutely amazing, and I will try and do everything I can to help him achieve that.

I’ve said to him when we get to that point, beyond GCSE when he needs to start thinking about college and university applications, I’ve got a few doctor friends who can help him with things like his personal statement. While I can obviously help him up to a certain point, when it comes to work experience I’ve got a network that I’m hoping to call on to support him.



Do you also want to help young people like Guilherme reach their full potential? Learn to teach on our Training Programme.

Or if you’re looking for new teachers like Lizzie to join your school, find out more about recruiting teachers with us. 

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