Primary school children stole a march on University of Leicester students after graduating from the institution at the age of just 10 and 11.
Pupils from Beaumont Lodge Primary School got ahead of the University’s students who are due to graduate later this week, by taking part in their very own campus graduation ceremony, on Friday 12 January.
The celebration was to mark the completion of a week’s programme of activities for the year 6 children, which was organised by the University and national social mobility charity IntoUniversity.
Then they were presented with certificates in a mock graduation, where they dressed in full gowns and caps. Parents and carers were also in attendance, to make it a mini carbon copy of a full graduation event.
During the week, the pupils took part in activities centred around the theme of the Second and First World Wars. On Friday, they spent the day at the University of Leicester, where they took a tour of the campus before learning about the University’s heritage – it was founded in 1921 to create a living memorial for all local people who made sacrifices during the First World War.
Pupil Remiah said: “This week taught me to think about my future, going to university and what I want to be when I grow up. I was really scared during the graduation but when I spoke at the ceremony, I realised how much my confidence has grown this week.”
A parent of another pupil, Maise, said: “They have really enjoyed this week and have come home and told me every day what she has been doing. I think the experience has given her an insight into what university is like and hopefully encourages her to go to university upon leaving school. Maise has really enjoyed the week, she has loved interacting with new members of staff and learning new things. We have seen and heard how excited she was to share what she’s learning about at home.”
Leicester’s new IntoUniversity centre is a collaborative partnership between IntoUniversity, the University of Leicester and De Montfort University. The initiative has been funded thanks to a number of generous donors including the Randal Foundation, founded by Dr Nik and Moni Kotecha, and the Ian and Clare Mattioli Charitable Trust.
The centre, in Beaumont Leys, offers after-school academic support to people aged seven to 18 in Leicester, as well as a variety of other workshops, university visits, mentoring opportunities and aspiration-raising activities all designed to give them the skills, confidence and information to make informed choices about their future and ultimately reach their full potential.
Tasleem Patel, IntoUniversity Leicester Centre Leader, said: “It has been amazing working with this class of year 6 students. Over the week their confidence and aspirations have grown and we can see the personal and academic growth in such a short span of time. The work IntoUniversity does is so important as we encourage students to aim high for their future and we do this by exposing them to university so they can start to imagine themselves studying here.”