University Experiences

We believe the experience of going to university will be invaluable for many of our students, enabling them to access their dream career whilst developing essential life skills in preparation for the future. We have devised a comprehensive programme that introduces the prospect of university from Year 7, all the way through to Year 13. Our aim is to provide students with as many university experiences as possible, in order for them to make an informed decision when the time comes.

Key Stage 3

Year 7 and 8 ‘Why Go To University?’ Assembly

This interactive assembly introduces higher education and challenges the myths surrounding university. The activities will help students to make informed decisions about the benefits of going to university and will familiarise students with university terminology.

Year 7 and Year 9 University Experience Days

In partnership with the University of Derby, our students are taken on campus to learn what university life is really like. We have a tour of the facilities as well as meeting current university students and hearing about their experiences of university life.

Year 8 (MAT students) Virtual Academic Skills Workshop

In association with the Universities of York, Sheffield and Leeds (part of the ‘Excellence’ hub), students participate in a number of workshops to develop the essential skills for university life:

  • Academic resilience
  • Research and resource skills
  • Independent study skills

Students also take part in Nottingham Ambition, in association with the University of Nottingham, learning about the different courses on offer and university life in general.

Year 9 (MAT students) The Brilliant Club

The Brilliant Club is an award-winning charity that recruits, trains and pays doctoral and post-doctoral researchers to deliver programmes of university-style teaching to small tutorial groups of high-performing pupils in the academy.

Tutors come into the academy to work with groups of six high-performing pupils, delivering a series of tutorials that takes them beyond the curriculum and helps them to develop the knowledge, skills and ambition necessary to secure places at top universities. 

Year 9 (selected students) Discover Us Programme

In partnership with Sheffield University, Discover US is an aspiration raising programme for pupils in Year 9 who have the potential to access higher education but do not have a family tradition of going to university.

Students are introduced to the University of Sheffield and sample different subjects to find out about the courses that all five faculties of the university have to offer – Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities, Science, Engineering, and Medicine, Dentistry and Health. Students take part in mini-lectures three times a year and look at post 16 routes in order to access their chosen course.  

Key Stage 4

Year 10 Insight into Healthcare Day at the University of Derby

This day offers students the opportunity to explore the course and career options within the healthcare sector. Students will have access to the University of Derby’s fantastic facilities through a range of taster sessions and healthcare professionals will be on hand to share their expertise, providing an insight of working within the healthcare sector.

Year 10 Visit to Sheffield University

As part of the Year 10 ‘World of Work Week’, students visit Sheffield University to embark on a tour of the campus, eat lunch in the Student Union and take part in workshops in the afternoon. We take the train and tram to immerse ourselves in city life and give students a real insight into what life would be like living away from home.

Year 11 DANCOP Programme

Students receive five sessions delivered by DANCOP (in association with the University of Derby) to gather more information about higher education. The sessions include:

  • Introduction to education pathways
  • Bridging the gap to higher education
  • What is higher education?
  • Student life
  • Becoming an independent learner

Key Stage 5

Year 12 Visit to Vision University Centre in Mansfield.

Year 12 students have an introduction to the Vision University Centre and a tour of the HE facilities, followed by a UCAS Advanced Workshop which enables the students to get to grips with the UCAS jargon and process. The students then have a UCAS Fair Preparation Workshop which prepares them for the UCAS Fair in Sheffield. The end of the day consists of a Business or Health and Social Care taster session, to enable students to gain a further insight of what it would be like to study the course at University.


Y12 Visit to University of Leeds / UCAS Exhibition Centre

As part of our UCAS preparation, all our A-Level/Level 3 students have the opportunity to attend the University of Leeds Open Day. It is a great chance for all students to visit a large city campus. The visit includes a tour of the students union facilities, an insight into student accomodation and lectures in both Business and Health & Social. The trip gives our year 12s a real taste of university life and culture.

Following our visit to the University of Leeds, students also have the opportunity to attend the UCAS exhibition centre in Sheffield along with over 1000 current Year 12s. With over 140 Universities present, this is a great opportunity to learn more about city life, course choices and entry requirements.


Year 12 DANCOP Programme

Students receive five sessions delivered by DANCOP (in association with the University of Derby) to gather more information about higher education. The sessions include:

  • What is higher education?
  • Student life
  • Planning for higher education
  • Student finance – myth busting
  • Transitioning to higher education