UCL Horizons had a very diverse cohort of students, with 20 different languages being listed as being spoken in the family home, and almost half of students stating that English was not their first language. Additionally almost 90% of the students did not have parents who had been a recipient of Higher Education and almost half of all participants were listed by their teachers as being recipients of free school meals.

The UCL Horizons programme provides long-term academic enrichment for an annual cohort of 100 GCSE students. Students are recruited in Year 10 (at age 14) and stay in contact with UCL for two years, taking part in the following programmes:

  • Year 10 Saturday School (first year piloted in 2009-10; second year 2010-11)
  • Year 10 Summer School (first piloted in August 2010)
  • Year 11 programme (first piloted in Autumn 2010)
  • Year 12-13 New A Level Pilot Programmes (students aged 16-18)

Thanks to the generous support of the Peter Cruddas Foundation, we have been better able to support our UCL Horizon’s scheme in 2011-12 and develop further our work. This funding has directly helped to support current modules and develop our pilot projects.

The UCL Horizons Programme

Horizons activity September 2011 - August 2012

Activities for Year 10 students (students aged 14-15)

  • 2011-12 Year 10 Saturday School

104 students have been recruited for this, the third Saturday School cohort, from a total of 130 applications received. The students come from 21 different schools in Camden, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Westminster.

This year’s cohort has 41 boys and 63 girls. 50 students are registered as receiving free school meals. 76 students come from families in which neither parent has attended a higher education institution.

This year’s Saturday School launched on Saturday 5 November 2011. Modules for Terms 1 and 2 of the Saturday School are:

  • Insight into Medicine (taught by staff and students from the UCL Medical School)
  • Film Making (taught by staff from the arts education charity The Complete Works)
  • Mathematics (taught by a freelance engaged on behalf of UCL)
  • Journalism (taught by staff from the youth media charity Headliners)

Term 3 runs for five weeks in March 2012, and Term 4 runs for five weeks in May / June 2012. A celebration evening is scheduled for Tuesday 19 June 2012.

Two Humanities modules for Term 3 and 4 are already programmed; a public speaking module delivered by Speakers Trust and an Insight into Law module delivered by the Citizenship Foundation. We are in the process of developing two Science modules, with teaching interviews running in the week of 8th November. We anticipate that these modules will be delivered by UCL postgraduate students.

  • 2012 Year 10 Summer School

A Debating Summer School for 60 – 70 Year 10s will go ahead in July / August 2012. This Summer School will initially be offered to this year’s Saturday School participants, but we will also recruit some new participants from our partner schools in Spring 2012. Potential themes for the 2012 Summer School will include ‘Politics’ and ‘The Olympics’.

Activities for Year 11 students (students aged 15-16)

  • 2011 Year 11 Autumn Term programme

A Careers Conference day on Saturday 17 September 2011 was attended by 87 students drawn from the Saturday and Summer school cohorts. It was followed by four Saturday sessions of study skills workshops to prepare students for high achievement in the final year of GCSE. A personal email from a student attendee illustrates the appreciation that Year 11 students felt for their UCL experiences:

“I am writing to say thank you for the wonderful sessions, lectures and activities during my time at UCL, from Saturday school to Summer school to the Autumn Saturday school. My time at UCL has taught me a lot about the importance of going to a Russell Group University.”

Year 11 student at Archbishop Tennison Boys in Lambeth

Further activities developed by the Horizons team in recent months:

Activities for Year 12 students (students aged 16-17)

Work experience placements for A-level students on Year 10 programmes in 2011-12

A Year 12 student mentors a group of Year 10 Horizon students, November 2011

Year 12 University information evenings

An information evening for Year 12 Horizons students and their parents called ‘Choices’ ran on Monday 24 October 2011. The event focused on the process of choosing a degree. An overview presentation was followed by a ‘speed dating’ event, in which Year 12s were divided into small groups and circulated around the room, speaking to UCL undergraduates and alumni representing a wide selection of degrees in quick succession. The event received excellent feedback from attendees.

“I enjoyed learning about interesting degrees I had not previously considered. It was good to see the passion the speakers had for their degrees”

For further information please visit www.UCL.ac.uk