‘Wow! It’s like Hogwarts!’
This was a remark from one of the Gifted and Talented Year 11 students as they peered inside the Great Hall at Trinity College, Cambridge. On Friday 21st November, a group of 14 students from The Cooperative Academy of Stoke-on-Trent visited the University of Cambridge on a trip intended to raise their aspirations and give them a real taste of university life. The day began at 7:30am when the students arrived on the frosty car-park, accompanied by Miss Harrison, Mr Ahmed and Mr Burgess-Pearson. Two of the students arrived looking particularly smart in their suits!
Upon arriving in Cambridge, the students had an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of the University Library, one of the few legal deposit libraries in Britain which means that it is legally entitled to have one copy of every publication in the UK (including books, magazines, journal articles and newspapers). The students were amazed to find out that the library receives 100,000 new publications every year.
Afterwards, students had a tour around Robinson College before enjoying lunch with current Cambridge students from a number of subjects including Geography, French and Maths. Then students walked to Trinity College, via the architecturally beautiful King’s College for a few photos. At Trinity, students were shown around the chapel and grounds of the college, learning about some of the famous former students including Isaac Newton and Prince Charles.
The students then enjoyed some free time in the town centre before walking to the Engineering department for the last stop of the day. After a fascinating tour around the department, including seeing current students building robots, the students had a well-earned sit-down to enjoy some pizza, courtesy of Teach First. Teach First, an educational charity, had invited some current Cambridge students who were prospective teachers who wanted to ask students from the Academy about what they thought were important characteristics of great teachers. The students were confident and articulate and gave the prospective teachers some brilliant tips. Mr Ahmed also shared some amusing anecdotes to reassure them!
We then began the long journey back to Stoke-on-Trent. Luckily, Mr Burgess-Pearson had forgotten to bring his Elvis CD this year, which made the journey more bearable! Overall, the students were exceptionally mature, polite and enthusiastic. It was a long day but students asked the right questions and made the most of the opportunity to find out more. Many students said they would now consider applying to a university like Cambridge and that they felt the trip had given them a sense of possibility. They were a credit to the Academy and everyone involved in showing the students around commented on how brilliant they were.