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UEA encourages pupils to ‘move on up’ to higher education

Children in lecture theatre

More than 500 Year 10 pupils from 35 schools across Norfolk and north Suffolk have visited the University of East Anglia (UEA) for the annual “Move On Up” event, aimed at encouraging young people who might not have higher education on their radar to continue their studies after sixth form.

This is the initiative’s tenth year, and it’s expanded considerably over that time to include a large range of academic and practical sessions giving young people a taste of what university offers. In addition to UEA, these sessions were run by Norwich University of the Arts, Anglia Ruskin University, the University of Suffolk, Easton & Otley College and the College of West Anglia.

“Our joint ambition is to inspire young people to raise their aspirations by showing them the huge variety of courses offered,” said UEA Outreach Officer Lauren Starkey. “There’s a much wider range of subjects to choose from than most people ever imagine – something for everyone. Our student ambassadors were also on hand to talk about what life outside the lecture theatre is like at university.”

The youngsters were able to select from 18 workshops, ranging from visual effects to architecture, occupational health to forensic science and events and tourism management to law. Interactive in style, they offered the opportunity to dissect owl pellets, examine Egyptian hieroglyphics, discuss how gamification has changed our shopping habits and investigate what superheros tell us about ourselves.

While the sessions were running, school staff attended an “Enabling Bright Futures” conference that examined student experience and explored the evidence and impact of outreach activities. “Each year the sessions are focused on what the attendees from last year’s event said they’d like to find out more about,” said UEA Outreach Officer Carl Harrington. “This approach means we’re able to respond to their specific needs and deliver informative and useful sessions.”

After last year’s event, 58% of students who previously weren’t sure about entering higher education said they were more likely to consider university as a result of the day and more than 75% said they’d recommend “Move on Up” to a friend. This year, comments from the students included: “[I enjoyed] the diversity within the day and meeting new people”, “I learnt a lot of things I didn’t know before” and “I loved the tour and learning new things about UEA.”