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'Doing uni’ days ignite new aspirations for York primary pupils

Published: 02 December 2022

Doing Uni Club work from primary school student

Success for York St John University’s ‘Let’s Do Uni Club’, as 28 primary pupils from four York schools get a taste of university life.

Young learners from Woodthorpe, Westfield, Park Grove and St Lawrence's Primary School had the unique opportunity to take part in academic sessions in a range of disciplines, including history and nursing, and to find out all about higher education and careers.

‘Let’s Do Uni Club’ aims to capture the interest of a younger age group with the idea of university and future careers, to create positive experiences and relationships associated with education and to help grow confidence with pupils who are en route to secondary school.

Throughout the week the participants created a gallery of work reflecting on their on-campus experiences.

Parents and guardians were invited to a special follow-up event to view their children’s work and discuss the week’s benefits. 45 family members joined, and many spoke passionately about the experiences of their children. In response to feedback questions one parent said: “Exploring the campus and various subjects from a child who always said he doesn't want to attend university, to a child who absolutely does” and “he’s so inspired to be more creative.”

Rachel Glennon, education outreach coordinator at York St John University, said: “It was fantastic to hear about the impact this experience has had on young people and their families, including one mum of a participant with additional needs who praised our inclusive approach, and a parent who wrote that the experience has changed their child’s perceptions of university and as a result of attending, the child now sees university as a part of their future.”

Research shows that it is important and beneficial to introduce the idea of thinking about the future early on. A 2016 UCAS survey found that children who know they want to enter higher education by age 10 or earlier are 2.6 times more likely to end up at a competitive university than someone who decided in their late teens.

Rachel Glennon added: “As a former primary school teacher, I feel that younger pupils are so enthusiastic, open-minded and receptive to ideas about their futures – it is an ideal time to show them the scope of options that are available and a taster of what university is like.

“It is my hope that this is an experience that will stick with them into secondary school and give them the confidence to be ambitious in their aspirations.”

The next phase of the project sees York St John University student volunteers visit the same primary schools to take part in guided reading with KS2 pupils from January.

Find out more about how York St John University can help support and inspire students with information about higher education on the working with the community page.

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York St John University, Lord Mayors Walk, York, YO31 7EX

01904 876 466

To contact us out of hours, phone 07812 365 499

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