Lancaster University

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Cumbrian Pupils Are Aiming4UNI

07/24/2008 11:38:27

from left:Mel Kirkby,Rose Whittle and Matt Coward
from left:Mel Kirkby,Rose Whittle and Matt Coward

Teenagers from schools in Cumbria on a Lancaster University summer school say they have been encouraged to apply to university.

The pupils are aged 14 and 15 years, and have been participating in the year-long Aiming4Uni! programme that culminates in a residential summer school where they experience life as a university student.

The programme is run by a partnership of Aimhigher Cumbria, Barrow Excellence Cluster Partnership, Furness 14 – 19 Pathfinder Group, Lancaster University and the University of Central Lancashire. The Department of Continuing Education runs the summer school and other activities during the year.

The teenagers have discovered what it’s like to be a university student, staying on campus and studying a variety of subjects. Their parents and other family members joined in too, as they visited the University to find out what their children were doing and to see for themselves what university is like.

The pupils said the day had opened their eyes to what University could offer.

Rose Whittle, who is 15, said: “My parents didn’t go to uni and I didn’t think I would either, but now I’ve come and enjoyed this summer school I’ve though ‘bring it on uni!’. Everyone gets on really well, there’s lots to do and a lot of support. I’d like to come to Lancaster University to study engineering, or maybe history. It’s been a really good experience.”

Matt Coward, 15, said: “Before I came here I wasn’t particularly thinking of uni but now I might. I did some work experience at a primary school and now I think I might go to university to study psychology and then do a one year teacher training course.”

Mel Kirkby, aged 14, said she wants to become a dentist. “The summer school has been really good fun, especially the team building activities. I’ve enjoyed meeting new people and doing lots of things I wouldn’t usually do. It’s definitely been a really good experience.”

Brian Wood, who works on the Cumbria County Council 14 – 19 team, said: "This programme is hugely valued by students, parents and all the Furness schools. Students who’ve been on previous programmes have benefited immensely from the year-long experience and have been able to make informed choices about Further Education and, subsequently, Higher Education. The link with Lancaster University is one we all regard highly here in Furness."

The seven Furness high schools taking part in the year-long Aiming4Uni in Furness Programme are Alfred Barrow, Ulverston Victoria, Walney, Parkview, St Bernard’s, Dowdales, and Thorncliffe.

The Department of Continuing Education at Lancaster University offers a range of Widening Participation summer schools for young people who may not continue into post-16 education because of social, family or educational disadvantage. The summer schools encourage the young people to aim high, and provide them with a range of practical information about studying and living at University. For further details of these activities, contact the department on 01524 592623/4 or check the website