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 the University of Cambridge, 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 2022
After two years of running the Access Bus online, we were back on the road again at the end of March in 2022, visiting schools in Middlesbrough, Darlington, Stockton-on-Tees, Hartlepool, Redcar, Marske-by-the-sea and Saltburn-by-the-sea. Accompanied by Outreach Officers Ellie Nethaway and Tansy Wickham, a group of 6 King's College student volunteers headed out to schools in our link area again.
Through a mix of presentation and activities, our student volunteers talked to Year 10 students about University, student finance and student life. A packed schedule of visiting 26 schools in 4 days meant our Access Bus team of volunteers was kept really busy, but there was always some time to continue revising (!) or to to relax in the evening. Some essays were completed and bowling records might have been broken. We are grateful to the schools and teachers making these visits possible again after a long interval of online visits, to the students who welcomed us in their classrooms and of course our amazing student volunteers, giving up their time and energy.
Access Bus 2019
The 2019 Access Bus once more worked with Year 10 pupils at 23 schools in Middlesbrough and the surrounding areas. Seven current King's students, one student from Pembroke and Emma from the 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 rarely 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.
Access Bus 2018
The 2018 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’. Ten current King’s students, plus Caro 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.
Students were particularly interested in hearing about the options for student finance when at university and also really enjoyed all the other activities we ran with them. 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!).