Millfield student overcomes autism to pursue dream medical career

Millfield Upper Sixth Sam Krolikowski has achieved his dreams of studying to become a doctor after gaining a place on Queen Mary University of London’s Medicine Programme with the help of Millfield’s Learning Support Centre (LSC).

Sam, who is on the autistic spectrum (Asperger’s), has overcome immeasurable challenges as a result of his diagnosis but has found the support from Millfield’s specialised LSC department to be vital in gaining his dream place at university.

The eighteen-year-old wants to show other young people that having Additional Educational Needs (AEN) doesn’t mean you can’t be ‘brilliant’ and succeed academically. Millfield School in Somerset is well-known for its successful learning support provision. The Learning Support Centre, which prefers to view students who have support as individuals who have learning differences, includes timetabled 1:1 and small group sessions as well as additional support alongside GCSE or A level options at lunchtimes with a team of specialist teachers and assessors, including a Speech and Language Therapist, two peripatetic staff and a visiting Educational Psychologist. LSC sessions cover learning styles, revision strategies and examination techniques and students are also introduced to assistive technologies.

Millfield Headmaster Gavin Horgan has encouraged UK education reforms in recent years during discussions with leading employers and Dyslexia influencers, including HRH Princess Beatrice, at the 2020 BETT Show and the Made By Dyslexia Global Summit in London last year. During his time at Millfield, Sam was invited to work alongside PHD students at Cambridge University in one of the top veterinary research laboratories in the world following a contact made with a visiting speaker to Millfield (Professor Matthew Allan), and was also able to take up a work experience placement with a former Millfield student Burak Salgin, who is a Neonatal Intensive Care Doctor at The Royal London Hospital.

Sam says, “Like any student, I struggled at times during school and I’m not sure I would be where I am today without Millfield’s Learning Support Centre. I’m really proud that my autism hasn’t stood in the way of me achieving my dreams, and I hope that others who have similar learning differences can hear my story and know that it is possible to dare greatly and achieve great things.”

Sam’s mother, Julie, says, “Achieving what Sam has done since he joined Millfield has been amazing - he’s a real success story. He had great pastoral as well as academic support and I know he wants to pay back the support and opportunities he was afforded one day to future students at Millfield. I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding about ASD, so Sam’s story shows that it doesn’t mean you can’t succeed. I am really proud of him.”

Millfield is a leading independent boarding and day school in Somerset with over 1250 pupils, 80% of which are British nationals. The school was founded in 1935 with six Indian Princes as its first pupils, one of which was diagnosed with dyslexia.

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