Every year a group of King's undergraduate students travel to the North East to work with Year 10 school students in the state sector through a series of games and activities designed to raise aspirations and provide information about University opportunities.
This project has run since the year 2000 and has two principal aims:
- to increase awareness amongst students in the state sector of the opportunities available to them in Higher Education
- to dispel myths associated with Cambridge University, helping to build relationships between the University and schools that have little or no history of sending applicants to Cambridge.
Topics covered in sessions include considering University, the variety of subjects available, student timetables, extra-curricular opportunities, finance, making friends, types of accommodation, entrance requirements, career prospects and applying to Cambridge.
Access Bus 2015
The students with Casey, Olivia, Jack, Emma, and Morgan from Manor Community Academy in Hartlepool. Credit: Gary Murray
The 2015 Access Bus group worked with 28 schools in Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Guisborough, Billingham, Yarm, Thornaby, Ormesby, Hartlepool, Redcar, Marske-by-the-sea and Saltburn-by-the-sea from 16 to 19 March 2015. Most of our sessions were with Year 10 groups, with occasional Year 9 sessions when Year 10 were not available. Thanks once more to all schools and students for making us so welcome - we enjoyed working with you!
Access Bus 2016
The 2016 Access Bus (two cars!) worked with 27 schools in Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Guisborough, Billingham, Yarm, Thornaby, Ormesby, Hartlepool, Redcar, Marske-by-the-sea and Saltburn-by-the-sea.
Sessions focused on university life, with students working in small groups to discuss and play games around topics including courses, accommodation, finance, and ‘hopes and fears’. Nine current King’s students, plus Heather from King's Admissions & Schools Liaison Office, took part in delivering the sessions and shared their own experiences of university life with the aim of demystifying Higher Education and addressing some of the worries and misconceptions that students may have.
Perhaps the most popular activity this year was ‘Subjects’. Groups were given two minutes in which to write down as many university courses as they could think of, aiming to name the most courses but also to think of quirkier, less obvious options. Some of the brilliant ideas that came out of this included Meteorology (the study of weather systems), Egyptology (Ancient Egypt), Computer Games Design, Middle Eastern Studies (which you can study at Cambridge), and Beyonce Studies (not a full degree, but a module within a popular music course!).
Access Bus 2017
The 2017 Access Bus has once more worked with Year 10 pupils at 26 schools in Middlesbrough and the surrounding areas. Nine current King's students and Caro from King's Admissions & Schools Liaison Office took part in visiting schools in Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Guisborough, Yarm, Thornaby, Hartlepool, Redcar, Marske-by-the-sea and Saltburn-by-the-sea.
Like in previous years, the sessions focused on university life, touching topics such as courses, accommodation, finance, different types of teaching and talking about misconceptions that Year 10 students might have about Higher Education.
Students were rarelly fooled by our right or wrong quiz at the beginning of the session, showing that they had indeed thought about most of the topics we addressed. Talking about and discovering subjects that you can study at University was a very lively activity and students were surprised to find out that you can study Surf Science and Ethical Hacking! (Some of the King's students were surprised as well.)
We also talked about different types of teaching and learning at university and the students very much liked the idea of having more flexibility and more variety in the way that they are taught at university. Talking to the Access Bus volunteers in small groups led to lots of animated discussions about student life and also gave the students opportunity to ask questions about specific courses that they were interested in.