Students Staff

10 June 2008

University challenge for youngsters

Colchester Campus

10 June 2008

University challenge for youngsters

More than 80 pupils from 13 primary schools in Tendring will be 'graduating' from the University of Essex later this week.

Complete with mini academic caps and gowns, the special graduation ceremony marks the end of a unique project.

Over the past 12 months, the University, together with AimHigher and Tendring Excellence Cluster, has been working with the Gifted and Talented pupils aged 10 and 11 in Year 6.

Since last summer, Essex's Widening Participation team have spent time with the pupils, explaining what higher education is all about. The pupils also spent time at the Colchester Campus, taking part in subject taster sessions and a campus treasure hunt. All activities were specifically tailored to suit the youngsters and current students accompanied them throughout their time on campus.

Throughout the programme, the pupils completed their own university diary chronicling what they had learnt.

Widening Participation Officer, Lucy Watson, has spearheaded the University Challenge project. She said: 'This is the first time the University's Widening Participation team has worked with primary school-age children and it has been a great success. As the children prepare to move to the next phase of their education, our aim has been to inform them about what comes after secondary school in a fun and exciting way. University may be a few years away yet, but we are trying to familiarise the children with higher education and demonstrate how the choices they make during their school years will influence their future direction.'

All of the pupils will be returning to the campus on Friday 13 June for a special graduation ceremony. Wearing mini academic caps and gowns, the pupil's will be presented with a certificate marking their participation on the project.

The University's Widening Participation team now hope to expand on the project next year and work with more primary schools in the Colchester and Tendring area.

You are invited to send along a photographer/crew to the graduation at 2.30pm on Friday 13 July. Please contact the University of Essex Communications Office is you would like to attend, telephone 01206 872807, e-mail The schools that have participated in the University Challenge project are: All Saints C of E Primary School Alton Park Junior School, Clacton Cann Hall Primary School, Clacton Chase Lane Primary School, Dovercourt Frobisher Primary School Gt Clacton C of E Primary School Harwich Community Primary School Mayflower Primary School, Harwich Ravenscroft Primary School, Clacton Spring Meadow Primary School, Dovercourt St Clares Catholic Primary School, Clacton St Osyth C of E Primary School Walton on the Naze Primary School

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