What went on: AccessHE-HeppSY+ She CAN summer visit


“The visit to London and The Urdang Academy was for some, a unique experience as many had never visited London before. Some of the girls also openly admitted that they did not realise that they could study Higher Education courses at a specialised institution like The Urdang, so it was great for them to see which alternatives exist beyond the other traditional universities they had seen.” Joanne Slater, Schools and College Programme Manager at HeppSY+

On Thursday 6th June, AccessHE were delighted to welcome a group of 38 year 9 and 10 girls engaged with HeppSY+, the NCOP operating in South Yorkshire. Their visit to London was part of HeppSY+’s SHE Can project, a bespoke initiative which has been designed to increase aspiration among young women with the ability to study at higher education level but who may not do so. The aim of the whole project is to gradually build confidence and resilience through a series of sustained activities which will in turn help participants to ‘find their voice’ and encourage progression to higher education.

The learners started off their day with a trip to the Urdang Academy where they heard from Craig Philips, Managing Director, and Nathan ‘Neo’ Gordon, Dance Industry and Outreach Manager. The Urdang Academy is one of the many specialist institutions within the broader AccessHE membership. It is a prestigious performing arts institution based with a highly successful musical theatre provision. As SHE Can is also an initiative designed to increase young women’s voice and presence, the Urdang was an excellent choice. 

After hearing about the unique study opportunities offered by vocational performing arts colleges such as the Urdang, the learners toured the two building, Urdang 2 near Angel station and the main Urdang site in the of Finsbury Town Hall. The learners were able to pop their heads into studios to watch students in class and in rehearsal for their end of year showcases. 

We are delighted to say that the learners, and accompanying staff, greatly enjoyed The School of Rock at the Gillian Lynne Theatre as they continued their visit and went to the West End.

It was a very long and hopefully very rewarding day for all involved. Leaving London at 5:30pm after the matinee performance, the group arrived back to Sheffield close to 11pm. We hope the learners have had an unforgettable experience and that they have left London with broader insight into the choices they can make at higher education level. 

SHE Can was a highly targeted programme, recognising and responding to need for an intervention of this kind in four South Yorkshire schools. It has been a significant success and work on formal evaluation is underway.

To find out more about AccessHE’s Summer Schools, please contact us.