A new University Centre Weston (UCW) initiative is encouraging children in North Somerset to aim for higher education.
With just 27.7 per cent of 18-year-olds in Weston applying for university last year, which was below the national average of 32 per cent, UCW is working to make sure young people in the region are aware of the financial and personal benefits that come with achieving a degree.
Building upon its extensive programme of outreach work in local secondary schools and colleges, UCW is now also organising activities for children aged 10 and 11-years-old – a key age range when it comes to determining educational outcomes.
The year 6 class at Becket Primary School in Worle were the latest schoolchildren to take part in the ‘Professor Fluffy’ programme at the UCW and Weston College Knightstone Campus.
As well as exploring the library, fitness centre, café and classrooms on a treasure hunt, the pupils met UCW students and staff, illustrated their dream career paths with cut up university prospectuses, and also took part in a mock graduation ceremony.
JJ Clark, UCW’s Widening Participation Officer, said: “We designed these activities to be a fun and interactive way of introducing young children to all of the great reasons to pursue university-level study.
“When we ask 10 and 11-year-olds what they want to be when they grow up, more often than not they’ll say jobs that require a degree like doctors, teachers, vets and pilots.
“So it is really important to encourage children as early as possible to think about what they’ll need to do to be successful in the future.”
Rob Collard, the Deputy Head of Becket Primary School, added: “This event was a good way to raise the aspirations of the children and get them to understand that they can make their own destiny.”
To find out more about UCW’s work with schools and colleges, please go to www.ucw.ac.uk/outreach.