Year 10 students from The Hurlingham Academy took part in an exciting, week-long residential last week where they developed their confidence and key skills through a range of lectures, workshops and enrichment activities.
The residential was the second they have enjoyed as part of United Access, a four-year programme that aims to help academically gifted students from disadvantaged backgrounds access the top universities in the country. United Access is run by national schools group United Learning, which The Hurlingham Academy is part of, along with educational charity Accelerate and Access Foundation (AAF).
Throughout the week, students engaged in a range of academically rigorous classes in English, maths and science, supplemented with wider skills classes such as coding and cooking. The focus of this residential was ‘confidence and public speaking’ – with one project requiring students to learn and rehearse key scenes from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which they then performed to their parents on the final day.
Additionally, the week was full of lectures with experts in their fields – from workshops with film director Sami Abusamra and Bryanston Square CEO Marcus Orlovsky to a lecture from Professor Anu Ojha – Director of the UK’s National Space Academy. The students balanced these classroom activities with sporting activities such as basketball, high ropes and climbing delivered by the staff of Caterham School.
They also enjoyed a day in central London; starting with a private tour at the National Gallery, they got the chance to visit King’s College London’s Stand campus. There, they attended a session on how to get into competitive universities, choosing the right A Levels and what makes a successful candidate, as well as a Q&A with current undergraduate students.
Students reported that one of the most valuable aspects of the programme has been their personal mentor for United Access – with current undergraduates from Cambridge, Oxford and Sussex Universities providing support on an individual basis. Students got 1:1 time with their mentors each day of the residential to discuss their school work, ask questions about their future plans and develop ideas around an essay project.
Leon Wilson, Principal at The Hurlingham Academy, said:
“Initiatives of this kind exemplify our aim to provide an Education with Character for our students. For those involved, the residential provided a chance to deepen their subject knowledge, work with experts and develop vital communications skills, as well as partner with their university mentors. As they look to make important decisions for their futures, these opportunities give them a greater breadth of experiences to draw on and further guidance in choosing their next steps.”
One student from The Hurlingham Academy who took part said of the residential:
"I have enjoyed all of the lessons and the trips we have gone on this week. I have also really enjoyed spending time with the mentors, they have really helped me revise."
Martina Montecchiarini, Project Lead at United Learning, said:
“It was a pleasure to welcome our United Access students back for their second residential last week. We wanted to put on another full programme that would be exciting and inspiring but also full of vital information, challenge and support as they look ahead to their university applications later this year.”