Memorandum from the University of Durham
WIDENING PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIES WITH YEARS
9, 10 AND 11 PUPILS
This year has seen the launch of the STARS.
This is a programme that is aimed at young people with no history
of Higher Education in their family. The programme enables pupils
to find out about Higher Education and helps to break down some
of the barriers that might prevent them from aiming for their
true educational potential. All parts of the programme involve
undergraduates working with school pupils. STARS allows schools
to choose from the following projects.
The youngest age group we work with is year
nine pupils. The work is focussed on raising their aspirations,
encouraging them to aim towards higher education in the future.
These sessions involve the year group working in small groups
with undergraduate students either at the University or in school.
Through a series of fun exercises they learn about the different
entry routes into Higher Education, the vast range of courses
available and what it is like to be a student. For many of the
pupils this is the first time that they have had any contact with
studentsand they suddenly learn that many of the students
are just like them! Schools that have taken part in these events
have found them very useful. The feedback from pupils is always
very positive, telling of how they have learnt what University
life is like and that they are keen to work towards it as a goal
in the future.
The school select fifty pupils for undergraduate
students to work with over a three week period. Over the three
weeks students work with the pupils on a series of activities
the aim being to set their sights high and aim for their true
potential. All pupils who take part in the workshops enjoy a visit
to the University.
Year 10 and 11: Exam Slam
Like the work with year nine this work also
gives school pupils the opportunity to work with undergraduate
students. These Key Stage 4 pupils work on the exam slam project.
This is a series of activities designed to help pupils with exam
technique, they learn how to plan their work, pick up handy revision
and study skills tips. The real advantage of the programme is
that the pupils work with students, who have first hand experience
of exam stress and how to overcome it. The project also gives
the opportunity for the pupils to build up a relationship with
the undergraduates and through this they begin to understand what
University is like. As a direct result of working on the project
many of the pupils begin to think about their own future and are
keen to work towards university.
As part of Exam Slam some students have also
visited the University. On the visits pupils get the opportunity
to tour the University, this is a valuable experience as it highlights
how higher education is different to school and college. For many
it is this difference that puts them off striving for University;
a visit allows them to see that University is a community that
they could be a part of in the future.
As part of STARS at Stockton we are working
in partnership with Teesside University on the Student Ambassador
Project. Undergraduate Students from both Universities act as
ambassadors for the year visiting schools to work with year nine
pupils, developing their skills and interest in further education.
Pupils are given the opportunity to visit both Universities and
continue to work with the students throughout years ten and eleven.
Higher Education Summer School
As part of the Government's Excellence in Cities
programme we were successful in our bid to host a Higher Education
School. We received funding for 120 places for pupils from South
and West Yorkshire. The University funded a further 20 places
for local pupils from the County Durham and Teesside area. The
students attending were given a real experience of University
life, they chose to specialise in the Arts, Social Sciences or
Sciences and the days were filled with a busy schedule of lectures
and seminars provided by different departments across the University.
The students were resident in St Aidan's or St Mary's colleges,
where the evenings were spent taking part in a number of activities.
By the end of the week the students had a real understanding of
University life and left the University looking forward to being
their own careers in Higher Education.
Stockton LEA Gifted and Talented Summer School
Working closely with Stockton LEA's team of
advisors the University played host to the LEA's Gifted and Talented
Summer school. The inspiration for the week came from the campus'
location and the theme of the summer school was the river. Most
of the children attending had never been to a University before
and the week opened up a whole new world to them, giving them
the opportunity to see what is available to them in the future.
We hope to build on this success next year.
University of Durham