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Transformations - as described by our Student Exec.


Learn more about what Transformations is in this student video

Hear what Edward says about his Transformations experience as a first year

What is Transformations?

On a professional level, it’s a widening participation programme wherein tutor teams go into local secondary schools and provide after school tutorials on either Dystopian or Gothic fiction. It’s a twelve week programme where you have the opportunity to plan and deliver your own lessons to high achieving pupils under the guidance of our wonderful WP Officer Charlotte and the experienced Transformations student exec.

On a personal level, it’s a way to gain experience, gain confidence and both work and socialise with new people.


Who can do it?

Any student who is a part of the English department – undergraduate or PG - all are welcome!


Do I need any qualifications?

No! But you will need to get a DBS check (don’t worry, the department will organise and pay for this). You don’t need any previous teaching experience, just an interest in working with secondary school students and making university seem more accessible to them.


What age groups do we teach?

All secondary school ages are a possibility, so anyone from age 11 to 18. If you have a preference, let us know and we’ll try to accommodate it.


So, what do we do?

Once a week you will go out to schools and provide an hour long, seminar-style lesson on a topic of your choosing. You will be placed in tutor teams ranging from three to five people, so you’re not going into it alone. There will also always be a contact teacher in the room, in case you need any assistance. Each week, the university will organise transportation by taxi to and from the schools. The theme of your lessons will be either Dystopian or Gothic fiction, but within that theme, there is lots of flexibility (video games, fairytales, theme parks, conspiracy theories - we’ve done them all!). We aim to encourage reading, discussion and creative responses from our students. The students will be given common books to work in and we highly recommend setting some creative tasks for them to work on, as Transformations aims to enable pupils to work creatively, outside of the confines of rigid academic work. The programme last for twelve weeks, at the end of which, the students will all produce a final creative piece. Your tutor team will mark their work and put it forward against other schools, providing the students a chance to compete, and possibly win a prize for their creative work. Finalists from our partner schools all have the opportunity to take part in a celebration event on our campus and all participants have an end of programme celebration event in their own school.

Before going into schools you will receive plenty of training for both safeguarding and lesson planning from our WP Officer Charlotte and the rest of the student exec. You will also have a mentor from the exec who will help guide you, and will be able to assist with any problems that may pop up. A reader full of suggested texts and lesson plans will be provided, so don’t worry about needing to come up with something original every week!


What’s the commitment level?

We recognise that you’re here to do a degree and that takes precedence. What is special about Transformations is that it works seamlessly alongside your degree. The time commitment is Wednesday afternoon each week from late November to early March, plus a half hour planning session that you organise yourself. Aside from that, there will be a few mandatory training sessions in term one, but these will always be after university teaching hours. The lesson itself is one hour long, with around half hour travel time. Transformations only runs in terms one and two, so that exam and summer deadline season is totally free for you to focus on yourself and your own work. So essentially, Transformations won’t take up too much of your week, but, if you do choose to join us, we ask that you take this commitment very seriously and endeavour to make as many of the training sessions and classes as possible.


But I don’t want to be a teacher long term?

Neither do we, but the programme is fantastic regardless, for any career path you’re interested in. It looks excellent on CVs to have done a volunteering project with younger students, and it really helps build up your confidence in public speaking (whether in your own seminars or in a work setting) and confidence in your own ideas. In short, this is a programme for anyone, and whatever your reason, we’d love to have you.

But if you do want to be a teacher, this is obviously a great starting point! One of our previous student presidents has gone on to teach at one of our host schools, so you never know what Transformations could lead to.

What do the students that we teach get out of it?

A lot! (we hope). Transformations has two core aims: to give students a chance to express themselves creatively, and to make university more accessible. Students get to experiment with different creative methods ranging from writing, art, performance, debate and creative essays. It broadens their way of looking at education and allows them a chance to study works of fiction that they don’t usually get to do at school, including movies, video games, art etc. It’s a chance for them to grow in confidence, meet people outside of their usual social circle, and get a new perspective on education.

But most importantly, it helps to prove to our students that university is attainable for them. Many of our students may be the first person in their family to consider going to university, and so it may feel like another world to them. By interacting with you, they get to see that university students are real people and that we’re just like them. We hope to encourage students to view higher education as a real possibility by providing university-style classes, and helping them to feel they are capable enough to attend university further down the line. Also, we answer a lot of questions about living away from home, what our tutors are like, how we do our laundry and how did we learn to cook. That may seem like nothing to you, but for some of these students it could make a world of difference.

What will I get out of it?

On a very practical level, it looks brilliant on your CV, it helps develop interpersonal skills and confidence and it gives you a chance to do some good while at university. On a personal level, it is a great opportunity to get to meet new people, in particular, if you are a first year you will get to know second and third year students who can give you advice about what modules to take in later years (which is more helpful than you might think at this point). It’s a chance to build your own ideas and feel more comfortable sharing them with others. It really is a nice break from university, as it gets you out of campus for an hour and allows you to interact with the local community. You get to make Transformations your own; you can make your own lesson plans, you can tailor it to your school and their interests and bring in things that you enjoy to share with the students. And, at the risk of sounding cheesy, it really is incredibly rewarding and genuinely good fun working with our students.

We also have a lot of free food at training sessions, and we always go out for a nice meal at the end of the year!

How do I get involved?

If you've got questions and would rather contact us directly, email

If you'd like to hear more about Transformations, do come along to one of our information meetings. There will be food and plenty of chance to ask questions and meet people:

Tuesday 5th Oct (week1) 5 - 7pm, Student Hub (FAB 5.49) The first hour is information sharing and the second is a social (quiz)

Weds 12th Oct (week 2) 2 - 3.15pm, Student Hub (FAB 5.49)

Please sign up for a meeting using


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You can also email with any questions: 


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