Virtual HE+ Programme

Students at state schools and colleges across Hampshire have seen the successful launch of the 2021 HE+ Programme, run by the University of Cambridge (@Cambridge_Uni) with Peter Symonds College (@Symonds_College) acting as a regional hub. The HE+ Programme is designed to support and challenge talented Year 12 students to raise their academic attainment and aspirations through a series of lectures, workshops and events offered by the University of Cambridge.

Over 500 Year 12 students from state schools and colleges across Hampshire will take part in this year’s HE+ Programme, which due to Covid-19 restrictions will take place online. Students from Peter Symonds College will be working with students from Bitterne Park School, Andover/Sparsholt College, Bay House, Brockenhurst College, Itchen College, Oaklands Catholic School, Portsmouth College, HSDC - Alton, HSDC - Havant and South Downs, Ringwood, Richard Taunton College and St Anne’s Catholic School for the extension programme involving university style lectures and additional support offered by Trinity College, University of Cambridge.

Hampshire is one of 22 hubs around England now running the HE+ project which brings together and supports large groups of lower sixth students with a range of science or humanity evening lectures and events. The scheme’s common aim is to stimulate the students to think beyond their A level curriculum and be introduced to new ideas and concepts using a range of extension activities and materials, while also challenging them to support each other by exchanging ideas and information with their peers at other schools and colleges. 

One of the aims of the project is to assist in widening participation, particularly for students from families and communities where progression to higher education has not been the norm.

Yvette Wands, who co-ordinates the HE+ programme at HSDC Alton, said;

“Students who participated last year found the HE+ sessions interesting and informative. A number stated that the programme had improved their confidence when applying to university and several said taking part had influenced their choice of degree course.”

Commenting on the HE+ programme, Peter Symonds College student Anna G said;

“What made the programme so appealing to me was the chance to explore STEM through numerous lectures delivered by the Cambridge academic community. I hope to broaden my knowledge of science, discuss topics I am passionate about and investigate them even further. The initial session was exciting as we were briefed on the content of the programme and I believe this programme is going to strengthen my driving passion for STEM with the many lectures ahead.”

Fellow Symonds student Aidan L said,

“I hope to gain a greater insight into university life, and an increased engagement with my current studies through my time partaking in HE+, as well as developing skills and knowledge that will strengthen myself and my university applications. I feel extremely grateful that the college has offered its students this opportunity, as it offers a fantastic range of advice, information, and beneficial resources that go beyond the curriculum to enhance further study.”

Angelique F, a student at Richard Taunton Sixth Form College, added;

“The HE+ programme has provided me with a platform to gain valuable insight into the university application process as well as an opportunity to enhance my knowledge of the sciences.”

“In a year where students have missed out on so many opportunities it is really encouraging to see the HE+ programme running virtually to stretch and challenge Year 12 students and encourage them to consider the opportunities available to them once they have completed their A level studies,” says Nick Allen, Peter Symonds’ Deputy Principal (Quality) who oversees the HE+ Project in Hampshire.

“Although the programme will look a little different this year it will continue to help students deepen their understanding of their chosen subject, develop key independent learning and research skills, and inspire them to aim high with their aspirations for the future.”

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