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Sixth formers step up to research topical issues

16 July 2013


Sixth-formers from across Wales will be researching some of society's most topical and contentious issues in a Cardiff University event designed to introduce them to university life.

Taking part in Cardiff's Step Up To University programme (15-19 July) the pupils will tackle subjects such as organ donation and Wales' new Human Transplantation Bill, fracking, the impact of social media and whether the Welsh Government should have more powers, presenting their thoughts and findings to the rest of the group.

The aim of the Step Up programme is to raise aspirations and attainment and provide support for secondary aged pupils from disadvantaged areas to continue their studies post 16.

Coming from 25 schools in areas including Ebbw Vale, Rhondda, Merthyr, Aberystwyth, Caerphilly and Pontypridd, the 140 sixth formers will sample university life through a mixture of academic and social experiences. As well as the research project, the pupils will live in halls of residence, cook for themselves, learn how to budget and take part in sports and nightlife. They are also given valuable advice on applying to university and a tour of Cardiff's campus.

Vicki Roylance, Senior Widening Access Officer who co-ordinates theStep-Up To University scheme said: "The research projects encourage the pupils to engage in independent study, presentation skills, questioning and challenging other colleagues opinions and teamwork. They aim to help pupils learn how to organise themselves and plan their time whilst addressing important topical issues. The pupils leave the Summer School with skills which will ultimately help them in their future."

The Step-Up to University scheme is a core part of Cardiff University's Widening Access Programme. It develops a three-year relationship with school pupils and gives them access to residential summer schools, university mentors and specialist information. In 2012, 250 students gained a place at a UK higher education institution thanks to the scheme - an increase of 60% on the same time in 2011.

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