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    Youngsters try out University life at Harper

    Posted 9 July 2010

    L-R Aaliyh Spencer and Kasia Sromola, both 16, from Birmingham attended the Summer School

    More than 40 Year 11 students from across the West Midlands have had a hands-on taster of what it could be like if they went to university after spending three days at Harper Adams.

    The Summer School, part of the Government’s Aim Higher scheme takes place at a range of universities across the region.

    Sixteen-year-olds who are thinking of going on to university apply and are assessed by Aim Higher, which then allocates them to an institution.

    This week, 42 students spent time at Harper Adams, living in student halls and taking part in lectures, presentations and student union life.

    The three-day residential experience aims to show the Year 11s what the life of a student would be like - going to classes, meeting new people and getting involved in many social activities.

    It costs nothing for the students to attend and all accommodation, transport and food is provided free of charge.

    Amer Hamid, 16, from Handsworth in Birmingham, spent time at Harper Adams. He said: “After the Summer School I know I want to come here and do adventure recreation. I didn’t know anything about uni-life before I came.

    “I wanted to try it because I thought I would have a new experience and I’ve made loads of friends and really enjoyed it. I don't want to leave.”

    Aaliyh Spencer, 16, from Nechells in Birmingham, said: “I am now seriously thinking about coming to university, I want to do law so I need to get a degree. I will be the first in the family to go to university.”

    School friend Kasia Sromala, who attends Holy Trinity in Small Heath, also wants to study law. The 16-year-old from Bordesley Village in Birmingham said: “We learned about the Summer School experience through our school and I’m really pleased I’ve done it. It’s been really fun, not boring at all.”

    Jane Batchelor has been co-ordinating the Summer School at Harper Adams for the past six years. She said that the youngsters had taken part in Animal Health and Welfare, Great Outdoors and ‘Apprentice Dragons’ (business management) lectures during their three days.

    The teenagers also took part in ice-breaker activities, a bowling and laser quest evening and a formal dinner/dance and disco as well as practical sessions, lectures and presentations about what they had learned.

    Jane said: “I think the Summer School is fantastic and really increases young people’s communication skills and confidence.

    “They make friends with each other and the Harper Adams student ambassadors and they really start to ask the questions that are pertinent to them and there are people to ask questions to get answers.

    “This is not about getting students to come to Harper Adams, but about giving them an university experience and showing them it’s not scary. They get to try out the halls, visit the library, go to lectures, make friends, all before they do it for real.”

    Summer Schools are funded by the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFC).
    To find out more about Aim Higher go to and to learn more about the summer school at Harper Adams go to

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