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Summer schools open doors

More than 300 students have attended summer schools involving Edinburgh aimed at widening participation in higher education.

Photo of a group of Summer School students

Workshops and lecture series gave high school pupils who might not otherwise apply valuable insights into life at university.

The five summer schools, organised by the city’s four universities, seek to raise aspirations and give pupils a realistic experience of higher education.

Participants were able to attend classes on a wide range of subjects, including neuroscience, physics, nursing, sport and Japanese.

The programmes helped pupils from across the UK to make informed decisions about their futures.

Widening participation

Widening participation is a key priority for the University, which aims to address discrepancies in university attendance between social groups. It is also a strategic priority for the UK and Scottish governments and the higher education sector in general.

The five programmes therefore select pupils from schools which have a low rate of progression to higher education. The summer schools are also aimed at those who are the first in their family to be able to attend higher education.

Summer programmes

The High Flyers initiative is a residential programme, providing a range of workshops for 40 pupils from low progression schools. After attending the programme, 73 per cent of attendees said they definitely intend on applying for university.

The Beath and Newbattle summer school accommodates 50 second year pupils attending Beath High School in Fife and Newbattle Community High School in Midlothian. Each attendee is identified as having the ability to achieve, despite having no family history of study in higher education.

The Sutton Trust Summer School is funded by the Sutton Trust, a leading social mobility charity. Now in its fourth year, the programme accommodates 117 pupils, who stay in the University’s Pollock Halls. The academic programme involves over 50 academics and 16 current University students.

Kickstart takes in over 160 pupils from the Lothians, Scottish Borders and Forth Valley regions and provides them with residential places. The University was able to deliver over 20 workshops in this year’s summer school.

Lift Off to Success is a programme that partners with 14 school across Fife, Angus and Dundee. This year, the programme included a visit to Edinburgh that featured introductions to business and law, and a tour of the Anatomical Museum.

I think every single person who attended has gone home feeling more comfortable about the whole university process.

Sutton Trust Summer School pupil

Related links

Widening Participation