GCSE pupils from across the region opened their eyes to a future of Higher Education as they took part in a three-day summer school across six of our GHWY partner campuses
Hosted by Leeds Beckett University, Leeds Trinity University, Leeds City College, Bradford College, the University of Bradford and Wakefield College, with support from Leeds Arts University and University of Huddersfield ambassadors, the residential was co-funded by GHWY and the government’s National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) – which aims to increase the number of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in Higher Education by 2020. The aim of the three-day programme was to encourage young people to aspire, apply, enter and succeed in Higher Education.
93 year 10 pupils aged 14 and 15, who will be taking their GCSEs next year, attended the summer school from Tuesday 18 to Thursday 20 July. Throughout the three days, the pupils stayed at Leeds Beckett University’s Kirkstall Brewery student accommodation whilst having the chance to visit a selection of the university and college campuses, taking part in a series of workshops and social activities.
The residential gave the young people the chance to find out about the range of courses and Higher Education providers on offer in West Yorkshire; give them the opportunity to take part in university-level workshops; raise their aspirations; inspire them to think about applying for university in the future; and give them first-hand experience of university life so they can picture themselves as students in the future.
James Kelly, NCOP Higher Education Progression Officer at Carlton Bolling College in Bradford, said: “I think the best activity has been the university taster sessions on the second day: these were engaging and a chance for them to dive in and have a look at what a higher education course could actually be like for them. It was also a good opportunity for them to mix in with other schools which is something that they’re going to have to do at university and was a rewarding experience.”
Comments from the pupils included: “The Class of 2023 residential was great: I didn’t think I wanted to go to university but it got me thinking about what I want to do and where I want to go in life. I think it did the same for a lot of other people – it was really inspirational and a great experience”; and “The subject taster sessions gave us a great insight into what it would be like to study at university or college. It was really interesting to find out how science subjects are taught and dealt with in a university setting.”
Alex Cooper, a Leeds Beckett student ambassador who graduated this month with a BA (Hons) degree in Business Management, commented:
“I think that the young people gained a real insight into what different institutions have to offer and the opportunities available to them. I think that the inclusiveness of the event made Higher Education feel accessible and possible for the young people involved. I hope that the event inspired them to think about their future and the abundance of paths available for them to investigate.”
The three days were themed in order to reflect a higher education student’s journey: making informed decisions about courses, sampling university and college-level subjects in taster sessions, and employability and graduation. The theme of the student journey was reinforced by a bespoke ‘Class of 2023’ work book designed by Kyle Prior (Leeds Arts University).
On the second day, the pupils had the opportunity to sample subjects including: Forensic Science, Law, Social Work, Media Make Up and Special Effects, Civil Engineering, Photography, Textiles and Marketing. The employability and graduation events on the third day took place at Wakefield College’s Advanced Skills and Innovation Centre.
By Carrie Braithwaite and Anna Woodhouse