This last week Norwich School hosted one hundred and fifty of the brightest sixth formers from fifteen state schools around Norfolk and North Suffolk, with students travelling daily from as far as King's Lynn, Great Yarmouth and Thetford.
The Norfolk University Access Summer School, now in its sixteenth year, is designed to raise the aspirations of talented Year 12 students and to allow them to experience subject tutorials and guidance about applying to the Sutton 30. Funded by Norfolk County Council, Norwich School and two Norwich School Old Norvicensians, the week is focused around intensive subject-based tutorials, designed to take the students beyond the constraints of their AS Levels, taught by Norwich School staff and helped by current undergraduates and graduates from top UK Universities. Principal subjects offered included Mathematics, Physics and Engineering, Chemistry, Biology, Economics, English, History, Languages, Law, Medicine, Philosophy/Classics, Geography and Psychology.
Feedback from the week was very positive. The participants felt that they had been inspired by the quality of the teaching and by the extra guidance they had received for the application process which complemented what they received from their own schools. Everyone (both teachers and pupils) enjoyed the opportunity to go into much more depth in their subject areas as well as the chance to share ideas and make friendships with pupils from other schools. The undergraduates and recent graduates facilitated this process as well as leading certain subjects.
Erin Ketteridge, aged 17 from Wymondham High Academy, said “The opportunities this week have been fantastic. I've found the tutoring to be really valuable and the various sessions, particularly the interviews, to be very helpful and informative for the future”.
Robert Rickard, of Norfolk County Council, added "Thank you for letting me witness what is a really strong provision, and made available to many more Norfolk young people than ever before”.
A challenging menu of activities was on offer. The week opened with an inspiring talk from the Senior Admissions Officer at UEA, Professor Richard Harvey, who spoke about the benefits of Higher Education. There were further visits from superb guest lecturers, from Harvard University, the World Class London team (LSE, King’s College and Imperial), “Study in the North of England” from Lancaster University, Leeds University, “Study Scotland” and “Study in Europe”.
Every participant on the course received help on putting together their personal statement and had two individual practice interviews complete with written feedback. There were further presentations on studying overseas, a science lecture, a mock trial for the lawyers under the guided tutelage of two legal professionals; a Barrister and a Solicitor. For the prospective medics a morning spent in a hands-on a PBL session with the UEA, gave them a very realistic taste of life as a medical student. The week ended with a visit from Rt Honourable Keith Simpson MP, who took part in a wide-ranging “Question Time” type debate, and an address by Mark Schofield from PwC, a Norwich School Governor and one of the sponsors of the event.
Continuing support following on from the week is offered to attendees of the summer school during the autumn term to assist with their UCAS university application process and, vitally, subject specific interview practice for those that need it.
With more than a hundred participants annually for the last few years, the Norfolk Summer School has become a highlight of the academic year for many in Norfolk and it will continue to benefit more pupils in the future.
The EDP coverage can be seen here.