CHILDREN from inner-city Hillfields in Coventry experienced university life when they studied with Warwick University for a week.
Year Six pupils at Frederick Bird Primary School graduated from Warwick on December 13, after spending five days studying democracy and human rights.
They enjoyed a tour of Warwick’s campus, with the chance to quiz current undergraduates about their lives, and then gave four lively presentations about what they had learned to an audience of siblings, parents, teachers and members of the University’s Widening Participation and Outreach teams.
Paul Blagburn, Head of Widening Participation at Warwick, presented each student with their graduation certificate.
Ten year old Labiba’s ambition is to become a paediatric nurse. She said “This week has been very good fun. We learned about university and human rights and met the student ambassadors. Other people should definitely do this.”
The visit to the university campus is an important element of the week. Frederick Bird School teacher Aideen Kavanagh said: “It’s a great chance for the children to learn about university and the different courses available. It’s also nice for them to know that an amazing university is on their doorstep – they don’t have to go a long way from home to get a good degree.”
The event also marked the first anniversary of the partnership between IntoUniversity and the University of Warwick. The IntoUniversity Coventry centre is based in the Hillfields area of the city and run by IntoUniversity in partnership with the University, with philanthropic support from Warwick alumni and The Michael Marsh Charitable Trust.
Centre Manager Rebecca Ward said: “We know from research that it is never too early to introduce young learners to the idea of university. FOCUS week is one of the most intense parts of the work we do with primary school pupils. They learn about one topic in depth, as you would at university, and present their findings to their peers. They even prepare an academic-style poster to show what they have discovered.
“Being based in Hillfields we’re in the heart of the community – we hope to be the bridge between the community and the university, encouraging young people to aspire to university and giving them the support they need to achieve a place.”
Paul Blagburn said “It was inspiring to listen to the young students share what they had learned over the week – they presented their pieces with great energy and enthusiasm. I was delighted to be able to take part in the graduation and celebrate the successes of our partnership with IntoUniversity Coventry – they’re doing amazing work and helping us connect with talented young people in our own home city.”