The SRAO is running the conference, the first of its kind in the Midlands, in partnership with the Warwick Institute of Education, Villiers Park Educational Trust, Coventry Local Education Authority, and Aim Higher (Coventry and Warwickshire).
It is envisaged that the conference will encourage pupils from low HE participation backgrounds to consider HE or FE as a real option to further their career prospects. The conference will also serve to inform the pupils of the opportunities available for further study in Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) and of the career benefits of studying MFL in a higher education setting.
The conference will be attended by 150 Year 9 pupils from Coventry and Warwickshire schools. All pupils have the potential to study a language at a higher level and will be at a crucial stage of their education, having yet to choose their GCSE options. This conference may, therefore, play a pivotal role in helping influence the aspirations of these young students. The one-day event will also provide an enjoyable taster of the study of MFL at university.
The one-day event will be held around the theme of ‘Media and Celebrities’ and will highlight the number of celebrities and TV figures who have language degrees and who got their jobs in the media as a direct consequence of having a language degree.
On arriving at Westwood the pupils will be assigned a Student Ambassador (SA) who will accompany groups of pupils around for the day whilst sharing their own experiences of student life with the pupils. The SA will also be on hand to answer important questions about higher education and to help encourage pupils to contribute fully to workshop sessions.
Pupils choose the language they would like to follow throughout the day (French, German or Spanish) and will attend 3 different interactive workshops given by different PGCE students from the School of Education. Language learning will not stop at lunchtime, as the pupils will have themed language lunches. All pupils will also attend the ‘Spotlight on Italian’ session at the end of the day.
The School of Education are responsible for the teaching side, while the SRAO, alongside Coventry LEA, are organising: ambassadors, rooms, catering and school recruitment. Villiers Park are working closely with the SRAO on school recruitment, communication with pupils and delegate packs.