Monday, 26 June 2017

A snapshot of our first year in the Warwick Sutton Scholarship

Warwick Sutton Scholars is a two year programme for highly academically able Year 8 and 9 pupils from state schools across the West Midlands. The programme is designed to stretch and challenge students academically and inspire them to consider university in the future.

Over the course of six months there was five full day (10.00am – 3.00pm) sessions at Warwick University held on a Saturday. Students were assigned a project at the beginning of the programme and were expected to work in small non-school groups to complete the task. Students explored the theme of the project through taster lectures, workshops, debates and guest speakers. Students had the opportunity to make lots of new friends and experience new things. 

Our aim is to support our students as they progress through Years 8 and 9, helping to build upon their curiosity for learning and to develop the skills required for them to succeed at school and university.

Written by Ciaran and Ben of 8CPE, and Jason of 8MEB

A snapshot of our first year journey of the Sutton Scholars

Back in October 2016, we were given the opportunity to apply for this exciting Warwick Sutton Scholarship. We were rewarded with the fruitful result of four places for us, the Year 8 pupils of Whitley Academy. 

The life-changing journey began in the Business School of Warwick University. We entered the enormous building, all feeling a little nervous, however soon got going after a few ice breakers. There were youngsters like us coming to the University from across Coventry and Warwickshire. 

Not long after meeting our groups and mentors, we were down to work straight away. The aim of the whole event was based around us creating our own political parties. One of our activities was a drama session, led by the Warwick University drama team. Other things such as giving out homework and listening to presentations led by the mentors follow and round up the day.

The second meeting came around so fast but it went just as positively as the previous session. We spent most of the morning doing more group work on our political parties. After that, we had pizza for lunch (which was our favourite, therefore, we had it every meeting), then came the most ludicrous part of the whole programme, tap dancing!

Weeks three through five went as quick as a flash as we spent most of the time focusing on our political parties.

The big day 
Saturday 17 June 2017

The celebration event had everyone buzzing with excitement. As Year 8 pupils, we spent half an hour practising our speeches ready to perform in front of a gargantuan crowd of parents and carers. They came to support at least one person in our noisy crowd.

There were seven groups; hence, seven political parties including the 'United People', the 'Scholars Party', and the 'Everybody Party', to name but a few.

Nervously, the first group (group 2) stepped up to the plate to showcase their work. A hilarious piece of art from their video made everyone laugh as it included a singing elephant and a rapping student from our school, who goes by the name of 'the fresh prince of Whitley'. It also included enough facts to win the judges’ vote. Our student in this group is called Ben. 

After group 4 stepped up to present their political party, we were offered refreshments such as cakes, tea, juice and some lovely and healthy fruit. We had 15-20 minutes to  enjoy the food and speak with our parents and teachers. Then we headed back into the humongous hall. We watched the final three political parties before the judges decided who would win a residential trip to London. 

After all the parties finished delivering their campaign in front of their parents and teachers, it was time for the result and the delivery of our certificates. Some of the students got to read out there homework and their spoken word poems. 

The whole theatre was full of applause and laughter. We felt proud too. Cameras flashing and students full of joy. We took some group photos with our certificates. Then the laughter died down as the judges entered. Drum rolls began, all the students waited to see who had won the trip to London. One of the judges stepped up to the front of the room to tell the exciting results. 

We did not win, but were praised for our effort earlier in the day.

Lucky for us that Mrs Nguyen (our teacher who supported us wholeheartedly when we applied for the scholarship) was there amongst the audience to celebrate the day with us (a bit more pressure on us to do well).

Her reflection is as follows: 

"It was inspiring and emotional to witness how positive my students have developed themselves in a different educational setting. Amidst the recent bad news, I was very moved to hear these words from Jason:

"Don’t judge a book by its cover, don’t discriminate like others".