Go Further, Go Higher

Go Further Go Higher Summer School gives school pupils insight into the world of Law

 by Belle Fletcher (Pre-enrolment officer, Schools Outreach Team)

This year’s Go Further Go Higher Summer School took place on 23 – 25 June 2015 and centred on the theme of Law. The event was attended by 11 year 10 pupils currently under local authority care from Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley. Activities developed and delivered by Sheffield Hallam in collaboration with The University of Sheffield (UoS) and supported by The Higher Education Progression Partnership (HEPP) and Careers and Employment Service aimed to give the attendees a taste of studying law at university and build confidence through teamwork and communication.

The first day was held at UoS, where attendees took part in a law lecture, learnt about strange and wonderful laws from all over world and were introduced to debating.

The attendees were in for a treat on Day 2 as the day was focussed on communication and presentation skills and delivered by Sheffield Theatres. During the morning the young people had a tour of the three theatres, found out about the history and had the opportunity to raid the costume and props department! In the afternoon a local actress (who appeared in the television show ‘This is England’) delivered a workshop to encourage team building, speaking and listening and performance to help make the young people more comfortable with speaking in front of each other – which was crucial for the final day’s debate.

Sheffield Hallam’s Careers and Employment Service also led a workshop to enable the young people to consider what jobs might suit their personality and explore the broad range of careers open to them, challenging common stereotypes. This included considering how the labour market is changing and investigating emerging roles such as social media manager and robotics engineer. Carers were also offered advice on how they can best support the young people with their educational and career choices.

On the final day at SHU, the attendees had dedicated time to research their ideas and concepts and bring these together to debate the legalisation of performance enhancing drugs in professional sports. Teams of 5/6 argued their points to a panel of experts in the mooting court and after much deliberation it was decided the teams were awarded a draw! The summer school ended with a graduation and prize giving ceremony where the students got to wear a cap and gown to celebrate their achievements over the past three days!

The feedback from attendees was great, with 100% of young people wanting to attend similar events in the future. Staff involved were truly astonished at the journey the attendees had taken in such a short space of time – from individuals not wanting to interact with each other at the beginning, to standing in front of a full courtroom and rebutting comments about their debate topic.

The summer school is a wonderful way of engaging and raising the aspirations of local looked after children, who may not otherwise have had the opportunity. One attendee stated; “I have learnt how to debate, I am proud of myself, I want to join university, I am happy.”

You can find out more about support for Care Leavers at Sheffield Hallam here: https://blogs.shu.ac.uk/studentadviceandinformation/students/info-for/care-leavers/