Founder of academic coaching scheme Cambridge Academy Performance celebrates its three year anniversary

Liz Parker, founder of Cambridge Academy Performance (CAP).

Liz Parker, founder of Cambridge Academy Performance (CAP). - Credit: Archant

An Ely woman is celebrating the third anniversary of launching a coaching service that aims to recognise the potential of GCSE, A-Level and undergraduates who may be going through a tough time.

Liz Parker set up Cambridge Academy Performance (CAP) in 2013 to help students who may struggle to access help from mental health professionals for fear of stigmatisation.

CAP gives performance development coaching to students who want to improve their results and helps stressed students manage pressure and overcome anxiety and depression.

With most GP’s unable to offer specialist support, occupational therapist Liz saw that something new was needed. She designed the service to be accessible to students, parents and teachers.

Liz said: “The coaching we offer is realistic and focused on success. Being in the schools and colleges means we start at the point of need, so students can find us and make those vital changes quickly. It’s very fast acting because we fuse academic performance and personal development.”

CAP’s programmes include term-time and exam support for students, parent workshops and training for academic staff on student mental health and performance. The training programmes are delivered by CAP’s practitioners who work with students every day.

Julian Davies, Principal of Abbey College in Cambridge, which uses the service, said: “With Liz’s approach we are seeing a far higher uptake of support with students reporting that they are being helped by their sessions..

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“An example of the approach taken by Liz is the rebadging of counselling, as academic mentoring. This has the effect of circumventing the stigma of language and enables students to tie the support they receive to the ultimate purpose of their time in our college – academic work.”

Liz added: “CAP has a great team and we’re making genuine progress with so many students. Sometimes it’s just the smallest thing that holds a student back, other times it’s more serious. Ultimately though, most students want to succeed and as long as that desire is there, we can help.”