Introducing University Life To Primary School Children

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
Introducing University Life To Primary School Children
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A new teaching resource for primary schools that shows how higher education (HE) can enhance life choices will be launched nationally at the House of Lords.

The teaching pack, developed by the University of Liverpool and supported by the Sutton Trust, is designed to familiarise nine and 10-year-olds with the concept and vocabulary of HE through group and individual activities aligned with the Key Stage 2 curriculum. The pack, called ‘Raising Aspirations’, includes a guide for teachers on how to deliver key messages about university life alongside core subject areas such as English and Mathematics.

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The activities can be delivered as five half-day classroom based sessions. Central to the programme is Professor Fluffy - a colourful ‘character’ that introduces school children to HE in the form of board games and quizzes. Professor Fluffy features alongside a group of new ‘friends’ used as a tool to support pupils in researching the social and educational aspects of student life.

The pack, which will be launched by Baroness Warwick, also includes an interactive CDROM, through which pupils can experience what it is like to attend lectures and live in halls of residence. Tasks include organising an academic timetable and calculating how much money a student will need to buy food for the week.

Trish Jenkins, who heads the University’s Widening Participation unit, said: “The teaching pack responds to objectives set out by the National Council for Educational Excellence to support teachers in encouraging life-long learning from an early age. It will be of particular use for teachers engaging with children who have grown up in low participation areas and who may not have any awareness of HE. To widen participation we need to support teachers and parents in introducing the concept of university to pupils at primary age.”

James Turner, Director of Policy at the Sutton Trust, added: “Research commissioned by the Sutton Trust has shown that every year tens of thousands of once highly-performing pupils do not go into HE. By supporting teachers to deliver quality advice and guidance in schools, and by raising aspirations early on, we can help ensure that young people from all social backgrounds make the most of their talents.”

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