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Press Release - 14 June 2007

Talented children get a taste of university life

Wiltshire’s gifted and talented school students will get their first taste of university life, in a three-day residential conference at the University of Bath.

Over 100 students in Year 9 will attend the event, selected from nine schools in West Wiltshire and their partner schools across the UK.

The students will be set a challenge on the conference theme of “Is education working?” and will prepare a team presentation.

They will get inspiration from keynote speaker John Abbott, President of the 21st Century Learning Initiative and Director of the Education 2000 Trust, a leading figure in understanding how young people learn and developing new models of learning.

The students will also get to tour the campus, stay in student accommodation, and enjoy social events and sporting activities at the University’s world-renowned Sports Training Village.

During their stay, the students will spend time with University undergraduates who will act as ‘ambassadors’ to talk to them about life at university and work with them on team-building exercises, including a board game to design a new university.

“The conference is designed to give the school students a completely different learning experience,” said Liz Andrews, Outreach Events Coordinator at the University of Bath, who helped to organise the event.

“It’s very valuable for them to meet new people and to explore new ideas together. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to get a taste of university life from the inside.”

The school students attending the conference are all classed as ‘able, gifted and talented’. They wrote a letter of application to their headteacher describing the skills and experience that they could bring to the team, to be chosen as one of six students from each school.

The event is organised by the West Wiltshire Federation of schools for nine of its members: The Clarendon College, John of Gaunt School, and St Augustine’s Catholic College in Trowbridge; St Laurence School, Bradford-on-Avon; Matravers School, Westbury; George Ward School, Melksham; Kingdown Community School, Warminster; Lavington School, Devizes; and John Bentley School in Calne.

The partner schools attending the events include schools in Cambridge, Essex, Wales and the Isle of Wight.

The scheme is supported by Aimhigher, a national programme which aims to widen participation in higher education.

The University of Bath is one of the UK's leading universities, with an international reputation for quality research and teaching. View a full list of the University's press releases: