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Case study: Warwick Bright Stars Programme

The Warwick Bright Stars programme is the University of Warwick primary schools outreach programme which is in its fourth year. The programme supports over five hundred year 5 and 6 (age 9-11) pupils in the Coventry and Warwickshire areas each year. The activities are delivered by a group of trained student ambassadors who are studying at Warwick and have an interest in Education or in developing teaching skills.

Department(s) / colleagues involved

Student Recruitment, Outreach and Admissions Service (SROAS) – Widening Participation Team- Marie Diebolt (manager), Katie Barlow (delivery lead), Paul Blagburn (Head of WP)

Our aim was to …

Create long-term sustained partnerships with local primary schools with a high percentage of pupils on Free School Meals or from a low participation areas to raise aspirations and awareness of the advantages of studying at university in young pupils.

Our goal is to help schools inspire the scientists, engineers and teachers of tomorrow and by sending students into schools we aim to provide participants with a diverse and enthusiastic group of positive role models.

What we did …

The programme is multifaceted offering a range of activities including in-school modules delivered by current students and on-campus visit days, designed to inspire excitement and interest in learning. Primary school engagement is promoted through a new termly newsletter.

The campus days

These days offer primary schools a chance to bring a year group or class on campus to show them what university is like, give them the opportunity to interact with university staff and spark their pupils’ interest for a subject taught at university. The campus days are delivered in collaboration with the Chemistry department, WMG and the Arts Centre. On the Science Campus day, Nick Barker from the Chemistry Department demonstrates how material change states with explosions and flames. On the Arts and Engineering campus day, WMG’s team of engineers explains the science behind crash tests before helping the pupils design a crash structure for an egg which is then tested in the WMG egg drop machine.

After the academic session pupils discover our campus by taking part in the Warwick Art Treasure trail designed by Warwick Arts Centre.

The in-school modules

The in-school modules have been developed in partnership with Lloyd Scholars and the following departments: Law, French, Economics and History. The four modules are delivered in schools by a group of Warwick ambassadors over five weeks. Every module is cross-curricular and uses interactive activities, role-play and games to engage with the pupils. Parents, teachers and pupils are invited on campus for a graduation ceremony at the end of the module.

The newsletter

In October 2017 we launched the Outreach Primary school newsletter listing targeted primary school activities once a term offered by departments, the Arts Centre and the Sports Centre.

The budget

The programme budget in 2016-2017 was £12,000.

The budget was increased to £16,000 in 2017/2018 to enhance and extend the programme.

The outcome has been …

In 2017, we delivered 4 Science Campus days to 484 pupils with Nick Barker from the Chemistry Department.

We held 3 Arts and Engineering campus days for 176 pupils with WMG.

All these pupils completed our Arts treasure trail.

In 2018, 120 pupils took part in our 5 week subject modules and 80 attended our primary school graduation with their parents and teachers.

16 Warwick students contributed towards the design and delivery of the programme.


The benefit/impact has been …

That “the children all had an amazing experience and many of our children were unaware of what a university campus was, yet left with aspirations of attending a university in the future!" according to one of our teachers on the Science Campus day.

That “the children had the opportunity to develop their communication skills and collaborative working through the module and aspirations for the future increased as a result for some of the students too!” according to a teacher whose Year 5 class took part in our Law module last year.

Our evaluation surveys indicated, over 90% of pupils who took part in the programme feel that their confidence has increased and that they would like to come to study at university when they are older.

For the University, the impact has been that schools and parents have become more aware of what the University has to offer and view it as a learning destination at the centre of the community. Children have been coming back to the Arts Centre later on with their parents and schools’ involvement has increased with more contacting us about outreach events and activities.

Warwick students who are working as ambassadors on the programme benefit from in-depth training sessions on how to plan and deliver a module, safeguarding and classroom management. They have the opportunity to develop these skills further in the classroom and whilst leading a group of pupils on our campus. Many ambassadors have decided to train as a teacher as a result of taking part in the programme.

This supports the Education Strategy by …

Enhancing Warwick students’ experience by enabling them to develop the following skills and attributes: collaborative skills, resourcefulness, adaptability, analytical skills and fulfil their ambitions. Students act as co-creators of the programme

The programme also promotes an inclusive environment by encouraging engagement with the local community.

It supports the development of Teaching Excellence and employability as it encourages Warwick students to engage with teachers and schools and give them the opportunity to experience delivering content to a class of young people

It also promotes interdisciplinary learning within and outside their course.

Fostering collaboration and partnership working across a range of departments, engaging staff and students to support widening participation practice across the whole student lifecycle

The response of students / staff has been …

“It truly was one of the best decisions I took during my time in university - working with you and meeting the pupils was so enriching.”

Yasmine, student volunteer 2016

“I really enjoyed the experience and it helped solidify my desire to go into teaching”.

Fariha, student ambassador 2018

Our next steps will be …

Our next step will be to investigate the potential links with the Centre for Education Studies to embed the programme as part of their Primary teaching provision and get their support for training the ambassadors.

The programme will also look for additional funding in order to be run on a wider scale and involve more departments across the university.

To find out more, you can contact …

If you’d like to find out more about the Warwick Bright Stars Programme then contact:

Marie Diebolt

or see -