As part of the effort to help young people make more informed choices about their post-school options, Which? University has partnered with the Transformation Trust to develop and deliver a programme to broaden the horizons of more than 3,000 14-15 year olds and give them a flavour of what university life might be like.
Junior University will see around 3,000 Year 10 students from 50 state secondary schools with high numbers of pupils eligible for pupil premium mentored by undergraduates from 10 universities.
With wider reforms in higher education underway, widening participation and increasing the attainment is a key plank of the Government’s policy for the sector. Which? is targeting those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, such as the 29% of all secondary school pupils in the UK who are eligible for pupil premium.
Junior University will give young people a flavour of what university life is really like
The year-long programme, beginning in November, will involve undergraduate students running a university-style project in local schools over 6 hours in total. Junior University culminates in the school students visiting the university for a celebration day. The programme aims to:
- Engage students before they make decisions about A-level options
- Raise the aspirations of school students from schools with high proportions of students who are part of the pupil premium programme
- Help students consider university as an option, by engaging them in university-style work, highlighting the range of subject options, and the benefits of going to university
- Provide mentors and role-models for school students
- Provide undergraduates with real experience of leading project-based work in a school environment
Alex Neill, of Which? University said, “This initiative is all about engaging with young people, who previously may not have even considered university as an option.
“While university is not for everyone, Junior University will give young people a flavour of what university life is really like. Alongside the free, independent information from Which? University, we hope Junior University will provide young people with the support, confidence and information they need to help them make the right decision for their future.”
Amy Leonard, CEO of the Transformation Trust added, “Junior University strikes at the heart of the social mobility agenda, providing students from disadvantaged backgrounds with the opportunity to engage with and work alongside undergraduate mentors. As well as changing perceptions about HE study, we hope the programme will spur students on to gain the qualifications they need to continue their studies at university. We are delighted to be partnering with Which? on Junior University and look forward to rolling the programme out with our founding 10 universities.”