[Press and Publications] Summer School Offers Foretaste of University Life

June 2001

No 73

Aim is to raise aspirations of schoolchildren


GCSE students from across the country are to be given a foretaste of undergraduate life thanks to the University of Leicester.

They will also be among the early visitors to the National Space Centre which opens to the public on June 30.

About 50 teenagers are attending the week-long summer school which takes place at the University of Leicester from July 1 to July 6. They will attend lectures and seminars, meet with staff and university students as well as hear from those who attended last year's summer school.

Academic Registrar Kathy Williams said: We are removing the mystique about higher education and giving support and encouragement to school students who are expected to gain above average A-Levels.

These students are identified as talented and gifted - but they know very little about what to expect at university. The purpose of the summer school is not simply to provide a taste of higher education but to raise the aspirations of these students.

Although widening access to higher education is the principle behind the Government initiative, this particular target student population needs the confidence and encouragement to apply, rather than any academic concessions, she said.

Ms Williams added: After taking their GCSEs this group of school students now has to decide what to do at the end of their school life. We hope that this summer school will introduce them to the variety of options open to them in higher education.

Summer schools are also being held at other universities which, like Leicester, select the best qualified students and the aim is to help the students feel confident that they will cope well with university life, said Ms Williams.

Paul Beavitt, who has co-ordinated the academic element of the course, said that last year's summer school had been very successful and there had been a noticeable shift in perceptions in the group that attended.

Previously, many similar youngsters had the potential to go to university but, for one reason or another, would probably be unlikely to because no one in their family had gone. They were bright but did not think they were competent enough to study at a university.

We will provide for the students an experience of the kinds of activities that they would undertake at universities. Leicester graduates act as mentors to the students, and this has been one of the most successful aspects of the whole programme.

Among the events planned for the week are:

  • Lecture- The Law and Ethics of Teenage Refusal of Medical Treatment: Dr Josť Miola, Department of Law
  • Lecture - Gladiator's Rome : Real History or Star Wars in Sandals? Dr Simon James, School of Archaeological Studies
  • Visit to the National Space Centre
  • An introduction to Film Studies
  • Building a P.I.G. or an electric motor in Engineering
  • Talks on money matters and skills development
  • Leisure activities include a disco and a trip to a 10-pin bowling centre.
  • NOTE TO NEWSDESK: For more information, please contact Kathy Williams on 0116 252 2289 or Paul Beavitt on 0116 252 2608.

    Interviews with the students attending the summer school by arrangement only. Please ring Paul Beavitt.

    There will be a photo opportunity with the students being presented with certificates at: 11.45am Friday July 6, Percy Gee Building (side steps between Percy Gee Building and Ken Edwards Building).

    [Leicester University] [*] Administration [*] Press and Publications
    Information supplied by: Barbara Whiteman
    Last updated: 28 June 2001 11:44
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