A taste of university life for all the family

Primary school pupils from the North will get a glimpse into the future next week when they become university students for a day.

Primary school pupils from the North will get a glimpse into the future next week when they become university students for a day.

The children aged between nine and 11 have been invited to Northumbria University - along with parents and grandparents - to see some of the benefits of higher education.

Almost 200 children are set to take part in Apprentice Students on Campus, a three-day event from June 12-14, which involves schools from Wallsend, New York and North Shields, all in North Tyneside.

Seven schools from North Tyneside are taking part in the event, which the university is trying for the first time.

Adults will have the chance to find out about surfing the net, digital art, exercise, and holiday Spanish, while the young students take part in a range of activities including sports, science and art. At the end of the day, those who have taken part will pose for "graduation" pictures.

Northumbria's deputy vice-chancellor for student and staff affairs Dr Peter Slee said: "This is a great opportunity for everyone from nine to 90 years old to find out just what it is like to be a student.

"A wide range of activities have been planned to really make the youngsters think about how university can help them reach their full potential in the future.

"We also have a great range of activities planned for the adults, who will meet some of our current mature students and find out that it is never too late to study."

The schools involved are Riverside, Waterville and Jubilee primary schools in North Shields; Carville, Western and St Peter's CoE primary schools in Wallsend, and New York Primary School.

All of the schools feed into high schools which take part in the passport scheme, run by Northumbria and Tyne Met College to encourage more young people to enter to higher education. Under this scheme, pupils can earn points which help them get on Northumbria courses by attending taster courses, shadowing students and using the guest student library facility.

The North-East has the lowest rates in the country for university participation and a number of schemes have been started to raise children's aspirations in areas where there is little or no family history of higher education.

Dr Slee said: "The Apprentice Students on Campus event is a great way to ensure youngsters who will go on to these feeder schools, already have an appetite and enthusiasm for university and that their families also have the chance to take part in life-long learning opportunities which will boost their employment opportunities.

"It's a programme which is good for the students, good for the schools and good for local business."

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