175 Year 12 sixth form students from across the UK came together in Cambridge as one of five Teach First Futures Easter Schools this year. Futures is a programme which supports students who don’t have family members who have been to university, or live in areas where not many young people attend university. Over 700 students, selected for the programme because their teachers can see that they have the potential to study at university, took part this year.
Over the 4 days of the Easter School, students were fortunate enough to live in either Corpus Christi or St Catharine’s Colleges, Cambridge. They took an academic stream of their choosing with lectures from Cambridge staff and participated in group sessions facilitated by Teach First staff and volunteers.
Longhill High School maths teacher Ms Olivia Wilson was one of the teaching volunteers and told us about how she spent part of her Easter holiday:
“As a group leader I was in charge of a group of 13 students and worked with them throughout the week. We worked through different challenges and sessions such as ‘Best Foot Forward.’ It was a privilege to work with such motivated and interested students. Students had the opportunity to think about different options on leaving school, meet new students and develop communication and presentation skills.
Most students only knew one or two others and were very much out of their comfort zones on the first day. To see them develop over such a short period of time and grow in confidence was amazing.
On the final day we did an exercise on the Johari Window , looking at our skills – those which we know and those which are in our blind-spot. It was a fantastic way to end the time together and encourage each other. Even though the group had only known each other for four days it felt like a lot longer! The students took other sessions on applying to competitive courses, managing money and networking.
Students also had plenty of free time to explore Cambridge and enjoyed a formal dinner in the hall on Thursday evening. They also took part in a societies taster evening to investigate some of the options on offer at university.”
Some student reflections from the week were:
“This week has really helped me to grow in confidence in speaking in front of other people.”
“I have had the opportunity to think about different university options and pursue a path of my choice.”
“I’ve realised that the only thing limiting me is myself.”
We are sure that the students involved will have benefitted greatly from their time at Cambridge and a huge ‘thank you’ goes to Ms Wilson for giving up her time to help them.