When Greater Manchester came to London: #WeAreUniConnect Year 12 Summer School

July 27, 2018

Working in collaboration with Greater Manchester Higher and involving students and staff from members, earlier this month AccessHE delivered a very successful three-day residential Summer School for 23 year 12 students from eight schools/colleges from the Greater Manchester area as part of the Uni Connect Programme (UC).

The hope for the Greater Manchester Higher Capital Summer School was to show the year 12 students what higher education looks like outside of Greater Manchester. Many of these students had never visited London, making this a fantastic opportunity to show off London’s rich HE sector

Over the three days, the students were able to experience London as tourists, explorers and students – they even staying in real student halls! The students were divided into three subject strands for the duration of the Summer School – Performing and Creative Arts (delivered by LAMDA), Humanities (delivered by University College London) and STEM (delivered by University of West London). Through three one-hour workshops the students were able to experience how these strands might be approached at HE level and beyond. They were also given the opportunity to explore aspects of the breadth of London’s HE offering; visiting University College London in central London on the first day and University of West London in Ealing on the second.

But, it wasn’t all work and no play! The students were also given the opportunity to take a flight in the London Eye, have a walk around the South Bank, visit the West End to watch Matilda: The Musical, and even take an evening stroll past places such as the British Museum and the Senate House Library which many of us may well take for granted. They were also given the opportunity to visit RADA, the Foundling Museum, and the Royal Veterinary College within their subject strands.

We are delighted to report that feedback from the students about their visit to London was very positive – a sentiment which came through in their reflective  presentations on the final afternoon. Students commented that they felt more confident to pursue higher education but also to move outside of their family homes. One of the student’s parents commented:

“Can I just say a huge thanks on behalf of [my daughter] for the wonderful experience last week – she learnt a huge amount and was really inspired.”

The one criticism we did receive was simply that the Summer School had not been long enough! We were also pleased to hear that the Ambassadors and Greater Manchester Higher staff all enjoyed the experience as well – of course we could not have done it without them. One of the staff commented:

“It’s honestly the best Summer School I have worked on! It’s also great how they enjoyed everything- the universities, the evening activities, the food, accommodation and I think it’s great how they all bonded! I loved seeing students’ confidence grow, especially for those who had never been to London or never been on the tube/ to a musical as it was a completely new experience for them.”

The Greater Manchester Capital Summer School was the first of two collaborative Uni Connect projects being undertaken by AccessHE. Earlier this week, AccessHE also helped to deliver the HeppSY+ HECan Summer School for year 9 boys from Sheffield and the South Yorkshire area – this will be written about later this summer. We are also now beginning discussions with Greater Manchester Higher and other Uni Connect consortiums to explore the possibility of delivering similar London Summer Schools in 2019.

For more information about the Greater Manchester Higher Capital Summer School, please contact Vanessa (Vanessa.Baptista@londonhigher.ac.uk); for more information about the HeppSY+ HECan Summer School, please contact Jamie (Jamie.Mackay@londonhigher.ac.uk); and for more information about the AccessHE London Uni Connect, please contact Naz (Naz.Khan@londonhigher.ac.uk).