Shrewsbury Colleges Group’s vision statement is to be a place where ‘every student makes outstanding progress’. This is a deliberately opened ended objective as it allows for the ‘outstanding progress’ to be individual to the student.


Due to the breadth of courses that the college offers students to study, we work with many students from all walks of life. Many of our students are academic and have ambitions of going on to university and beyond whereas large cohort of students have dreams of going into the workforce in many of the industry sectors that we work with.

Therefore ‘outstanding progress’ can mean for some students flying through exams and get high grades and for others it means gaining life-long trade skills. For many of the college students, however, outstanding progress means working to improve upon their expected results. Occasionally, we work with a student who achieves beyond everyone’s wildest expectations.

Libby Histed is one such student. Libby had been out of education since the age of 14 and started studying with the college as a mature student. She initially started studying on an Access to Higher Education Health Studies course.

However, Libby had long held an ambition to study literature at Oxford University.

After initially starting the Access to Higher Education health studies course, Libby decided to follow her ambition to study literature and switched over to a humanities/English based Access to Higher Education course alongside an Extended Project Qualification course.

With hard work, dedication and the support of her teacher, Julianne Ward, Libby was able to make good progress on her course. In fact, she was doing so well that she started to think about university applications. Libby considered and made applications to study literature at a number of universities in the UK and overseas.

Libby’s applications were well received, and she was accepted at several universities, however the ambition to go to Oxford University remained and so, Libby put forward an application. Julianne was able to coach Libby through the application process, but Libby was also assisted by members of the student support teams at the college with Sarah Boot, Karen Hayward and Sue Croxon all helping Libby with her application.

Libby used this invaluable guidance on the different stages from the initial enquiry through to the acceptance of an offer to study at Oxford University. This means from September 2024; Libby will be studying English Language and Literature at Oxford University.

There are many aspects of going to Oxford University that she is looking forward to. Students at this esteemed university can attend any lecture that they like, and this means that Libby will be able to find out about classical history, philosophy as well as physics and experiential psychology. In Libby’s view, many subjects can relate back to literature, and she is fascinated to explore all of these options.

Libby’s longer-term goal beyond her literature degree is to continue her studies onto a master’s degree and then hopefully onto a PhD which she hopes to harness into becoming a professor at Oxford University to pass on her love and knowledge of literature to other students. She also harbours a strong desire to write a novel.

Throughout Libby’s time with the college, she has been supported through her studies, but it is apparent that Julianne’s guidance and feedback has been integral in getting Libby to this point. Julianne initially allowed Libby to transfer from the original Access to Higher Education course that Libby had started onto the humanities focused one and worked with Libby to build her confidence.

Julianne was also supportive of Libby’s activities in the classroom to help her prepare for the next stage of her education with the actual university application as well as book recommendations. Libby credits Julianne with the re-awakening of her love of literature as Julianne’s tailored approach to lessons allowed Libby to flourish.

The college’s vision statement of being a place where ‘every student makes outstanding progress’ does means that it is applicable to every student, but objectively, Libby’s progress has been outstanding in every sense of the word. 

More from the blog