A few months ago I was given an exciting opportunity to work with and support a collection of schools in Swindon that Study Higher had not previously worked with. The Riverside School are part of EOTAS (Education Other Than At School) and they work with vulnerable young people who are no longer in mainstream education. The school aims to ensure that there is a good sustainable transition to post-16 education and that is why it is very exciting that Study Higher now have the opportunity to work with The Riverside Centre.
Twenty Year 10 students and 6 teachers from the Riverside Centre recently visited The University of Reading. The teachers were passionate that they wanted the students to know that going to University was an option open to them regardless of the fact that the students are not in mainstream education.
The day started in style as our Barnes Coach turned out to be the official Swindon Town Football club coach, complete with its own massage table, oven, microwave, drinks machine and super comfy seats! Hopefully the students won’t become accustomed to such luxury travel, but it definitely started the day off right as some of the students were nervous about the visit.
Edit Liebhardt (Study Higher Liaison Officer at Reading University) had a great day of activities planned for us, as we arrived at Reading University we were greeted by one of the amazing Student Ambassadors, who helped throughout the day. The student ambassadors did a great job, especially as one of them had only become a Student Ambassador the day before!
We were taken to a lecture theatre which would be our base for the day and then the students were split into groups and taken on a tour of the University campus by the student ambassadors who gave a great insight into student life. The students commented on how big the campus was, with one student’s feedback being that transport such a golf buggy should be provided for the campus tour!
After the tour we regrouped in the lecture theatre and had a short interactive ‘Mix and Match Degree Subjects’ presentation from Edit. The teachers found the presentation and group exercises ‘eye opening’ and are looking forward to using this with other year groups at the Riverside Centre.
We then broke for lunch, which was an array of sandwiches and more importantly, cake! The students then took part in an interactive Higher Education Quiz and things started to get heated as their competitive sides came out, with the winner getting a much sort after University of Reading stationery set!
The day ended with the students being given an opportunity to ask the student ambassadors questions about student life, their experience of University and about The University of Reading. The students asked some good questions that showed they were really thinking about their next steps after they leave Riverside.
Before the students left they were asked what they enjoyed most about the day, comments included ‘I understand University more now’ ‘It was very interesting and helpful for future life’
For me personally it was a great way to start the ongoing working relationship with EOTAS, the day demonstrated how well collaborative outreach can work, as the day could not have worked without the help of Edit. I hope it is the start of many fun and informative activities between EOTAS and Study Higher this academic year.