Arts Derbyshire


Youngest students at Derby secondary academy take learning up a degree with first university visit

More than 100 of Derby secondary Alvaston Moor Academy’s youngest students swapped the classroom for the lecture hall when they enjoyed a day at university – although it will be some years before they are ready to make their applications.

The Archway Learning Trust school on Bracken’s Lane took more than 100 year seven students aged 11 and 12 years-old to the University of Derby to enjoy a special open day.

The day out at the university saw the young students take part in an academic history session; experience a lecture; learn about what courses are available to study at Derby and the jobs to which a degree can lead, before enjoying a tour. They also took part in a myth busting session around university finances.

The whole day formed part of the academy’s enrichment programme which is aimed at giving students a variety of cultural experiences.

Olivia Thomas, head of year seven, attended the day and was herself a student at the University of Derby, where she studied sports science.

She said: “Speaking personally, I didn’t really know what university was until I got to year ten. By that point, you have got to your GCSEs and A-levels. If you pick the wrong ones, your options have already become more limited. If young people start learning about university and career options from a young age, it will help their pathway better.”

Ruby Stanbrook, 11, who attended the trip, said: “It was really good. We learned about the future and what courses are available and then different jobs.”

Benjamin Rendall, 12, said he is interested in studying health and social care at university when he is older, with a view to becoming a therapist.

“It was really good,” he said. “It was an introduction to the future.”

Miss Thomas added: “It was really good to widen the horizons of the students. Our students were really excited to even just see the campus. A lot of them said it really opened up their minds to want to go to university when they are older.

“I actually saw one of our former Alvaston Moor Academy students while we were there. She is studying sports science now.

“When I was at university I had friends who didn’t know how to cook! I still have friends from university now.”

Luke Gordon-Calvert, senior widening access officer at the University of Derby, said: “Early engagement about education and career pathways is crucial to helping young people make informed life decisions. We were delighted to welcome the Alvaston Moor students as part of our ongoing work to introduce local young people to university life and encourage them to start thinking about their futures. We offer a wide-ranging programme of events and opportunities for schools, such as campus visits, classroom workshops and assemblies, and careers fairs.”

To find out more about what’s on at the University visit:

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