National Citizen Service

Former Sixth Form student, Matthew Ho talks about taking part in National Citizen Service:

Hello, my name is Matthew Ho and I am currently an A2 student in the sixth form. In the summer of 2015, I applied for the NCS programme - at first I was not certain that I'd like it but I applied anyway because there was nothing to lose. After getting a place in the NCS programme, I had an introductory session where I met all the people in my group. I did not know anyone so it was a good time to get to know everyone in my group. My group consisted of around 8 people and there were 2 Banbury groups (I was in group 1). A few weeks after the introductory session, we embarked on our journey...

The NCS programme included 2 different residentials - both of which included some exciting activities. In the first week, we went to Wales for a 5 day residential trip. We arrived there with the Bicester group who also stayed with us. Arriving in Wales, I did not know anyone (apart from two of my friends who went to Banbury Academy). Anyhow, we had to pick people to stay with in rooms with - each group had around 10 of us. During our stay in Wales, we did an activity each day including canoeing and caving. For me, my favourite activity was canoeing as I had to use my team-working skills to communicate with other people in order to complete the task. I hadn't done any of these activities so it was really fun to try them out! As well as activities, there was a lot of free time to socialise with other people from the Bicester group and it was great to get to know others.

On our second week, we went to the Hill End centre in Oxford for 5 days again. This time we had to camp. We did not have any comfortable beds however, it was a good experience. At Oxford, we were joined by groups from various different towns/cities:
Daventry, Witney, Oxford etc. In Oxford, we learnt to develop our communication skills and gained confidence through the tasks that we were set. There were motivational speakers who came in to give us an insightful talk of their story (one was an Olympic Gold Medalist). I think that in Oxford, we learnt to be not only more independent but also more confident as a person. In many of the challenges, we had to work in groups so having to speak to people that you didn't know was inevitable. Having said that, I think that the whole NCS programme was and still is an amazing experience because you get the privilege of learning new skills but you also make a lot of friends along the way. You should definitely apply because if you don't, you have no chance of getting in.

If you have any questions, you can ask me! Have a great time if you get into the programme - I cannot stress this enough, you NEED to apply! For more information go to To apply please go to reception and fill in a form.

Matt Ho, Year 13 (2016-2017)

What is National Citizen Service?
National Citizen Service (NCS) is open to all 16 and 17-year-olds in England.

It helps you build your skills for work and life, while you take on new challenges and meet new friends.

It runs in the spring, summer and autumn. You’ll have a short time away from home and take part in a team project that will help your community.

NCS brings together young people from different backgrounds and helps them develop greater confidence, self-awareness and responsibility. It encourages personal and social development by working on skills like leadership, teamwork and communication.

Participants develop a social action project to deal with a local issue they’re passionate about, and spend 30 hours putting the project into action in their community.

Find out more here:  NCS  and here:  National Citizen Service