Marjon News

University raises the aspirations of South West school children

Released: 20.05.15

Raising Aspirations INNER

A huge educational ‘Widening Participation’ event took place on 20 May with over 200 school children attending the University of St Mark & St John for the day.

The largest event of its kind, ‘Raising Aspirations’, takes place each year to encourage pupils from schools in Devon and Cornwall to have high aspirations for their futures.

Professor Cara Aitchison, Vice Chancellor at the University of St Mark & St John stressed the importance of working with younger age groups saying: “We have an excellent reputation of working with local schools and colleges to widen participation into Higher Education. We have made it a key priority to work towards ‘sowing the seeds’ at a younger age, so that these students can make informed decisions about their future by the time they leave school”.

Dr Roger Pitt, Widening Participation Officer at the University of St Mark & St John said: “This University ranks number 1 in the UK for social mobility, so Raising Aspirations is a great way of introducing pupils who might not automatically follow a path into Higher Education to the opportunities available to them beyond school and college, in a way that is eye-opening and inspiring.

“Above all, we wanted them to would take away a sense of how transformational going on to Higher Education can be”.

A motivational talk about hard work and success by broadcast journalist and author Simon Hall, BBC Home Affairs Correspondent kicked off the day.

This was followed by an inspirational speech from Royal Marine Captain Jon White, whose life changed forever when he stepped onto a land mine in Afghanistan and was seriously injured. 

The action-packed day continued with interactive activities including a newsroom quiz, drama workshops, sports and team building activities and an African drumming workshop.

Pupils attending were from Ford Primary, Manor Primary, Horrabridge Primary, Kingskerswell Primary and Tavistock Primary schools.

To find out more about the University’s Widening Participation programme, please log on to the Outreach webpage.


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