Monday the 17th to Tuesday 18th of December saw 14 More Able and Talented Year 10 students from Tanfield visit Cambridge University, to raise aspirations and help deliver our mission - ‘to get students to attend the best university, or real alternative, succeed in their dream job and thrive in all aspects of their life.’
In order for students to gain a more realistic experience, they had their own student room in Homerton College alongside their lessons, tours and meals. Arriving by coach at 1pm, students were met by Fergus, Homerton College’s student liaison officer, who after arranging lunch in the Buttery immediately made them feel at ease and got them straight to work with a session discussing the benefits of a University education and particularly the advantages that the Collegiate system at Cambridge could offer. This was followed up by an exercise where students were asked to plan a week based around the life of a Homerton student. All our students openly discussed and justified their plans to the rest of the group and the activity helped to give them a sense of the hard work needed to succeed at Cambridge - but also the importance of the social side of university life.
Students were then taken on a tour of the college where they visited areas such as the Great Hall and library before heading to the Porters’ Lodge to collect their room keys and relax for a few hours. A couple of students learnt a quick lesson about why not to leave your key inside your room but managed to sort this out themselves.
At around 6pm, the group met in the lobby of the accommodation block and walked to the nearby leisure park for a true student experience of dinner at Nando’s before heading back before the 10pm evening curfew and settling down to some well-earned rest.
Day two started with a full English breakfast and a review of the previous day’s events in ‘The Buttery’ (the student restaurant come common room) before heading back to class for a series of extremely challenging problem-solving activities.
Tanfield students excelled at this, with one group of girls particularly leaving Fergus impressed at how quick they were able to solve some of the complex challenges placed before them.
Tanfield students then got the opportunity to explore the different options and courses available at Cambridge. Our students threw themselves into this activity wholeheartedly, discussing financing, entrance requirements and the structure of lectures and seminar sessions. Many students started to see that Cambridge could be right for them and was much more accessible than they had ever realised it would be. A few have also expressed a real desire to attend and have already started making enquiries.
As a group, we then walked into the centre of beautiful Cambridge for a visit to the fantastic Fitzwilliam Museum where students got the opportunity to view, and discover about, some remarkable artefacts and exhibits.
Following the museum tour, Fergus took the group around many of the 33 world famous colleges based at Cambridge University. He pointed out where Charles Darwin and Professor Stephen Hawking had been based. Students were given their opportunity to tour these colleges as well as the centre of Cambridge, while also taking time for lunch.
The students finished their visit by warmly thanking Fergus for a fantastic visit before boarding the coach and heading back to Tanfield.