University supports disadvantaged pupils into higher education

31 January 2018

Step up programme

Cardiff University is giving school pupils from vulnerable and disadvantaged groups a valuable insight into university life through an ambitious two-year programme.

Step Up to University is a free academic scheme for college and sixth-form students offering a taste of higher education through an academic course, summer school and events.

Some 250 pupils and 100 parents from across south Wales are registered for the first session at Cardiff University on Wednesday 31 January.

Scott McKenzie, the University’s Head of Widening Participation and Community Outreach, said: “By working collaboratively to raise aspirations, the Step Up programme offers practical support as well as tailored guidance and advice for those with the ability to succeed at higher education.

“Through masterclasses, events and workshops, we aim to help remove the barriers to higher education faced by these groups and equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to reach their potential at university.

“This is completely different to anything we’ve done before because we're offering pupils from disadvantaged and vulnerable groups the opportunity to complete a mini university course as well as a residential summer school.”

The pupils signed up to take part in an academic course designed to improve the skills and knowledge needed to study at university level.

Through the monthly sessions, the young people will develop presentation, analytic and research skills.

Step up programme

The sessions are delivered through a variety of teaching methods and are interactive to help improve confidence and self-esteem.

The young people choose from five streams - Social Sciences, Life Sciences, Health Sciences, Physical Sciences and Humanities – and the sessions will run once a month between now and the end of May.

All students are allocated an academic tutor and, subject to terms and conditions, those who go on to study at Cardiff University are offered a means-tested bursary.

The programme includes a summer school in July where the pupils who have successfully committed to the scheme will be invited to stay overnight in halls of residence.

They will take part in a mini academic conference culminating in poster exhibitions and presentations.

Step up programme

During the monthly sessions, parents and guardians are also invited to take part in short courses on campus at the same time as the young people.

Mr McKenzie added: “The purpose of this is to try hook parents into learning so they can also encourage the young people to continue.”