Dr Richard Michaelis, Executive Director of Oxbridge Academic Programs by Worldstrides, whose company specialises in providing educational experiences outside the classroom, invited a number of pupils from schools in Rochdale and Bury to attend a month long summer school at Pembroke College, Oxford.
Last year a partnership was formed between Rochdale Development Agency and Pembroke college, to provide academic engagement for the most able pupils across Rochdale, Heywood and Middleton. This partnership and the consistent high quality support given by Hollingworth Academy has positioned Rochdale as a place which is working hard to offer its pupils the best which education has to offer leading to incredible opportunities such as this.
During the programme, which took place between 2nd July-29th July 2023, students lived as undergraduates at Pembroke College. The programme of study included a range of academic subjects designed to challenge students to become the best versions of their academic selves. This alongside a vast selection of social activities gave students the opportunity to immerse themselves fully in an Oxbridge experience.
The students who took part in the programme came from Hollingworth Academy, Newhouse Academy, Holy Family, Cardinal Langley and Unsworth Academy (Bury).
Parents were of course delighted that their children had been given this opportunity;
“What has come out of the past few weeks is a real feeling of confidence in his own abilities, reassurance that he has the academic capabilities and a has made friends with other students from all over the world”.
“The Oxbridge summer school has been an amazing opportunity. My daughter has experienced new places, new people and in such a wonderful location. The activities that have been arranged have been really broad ranging and it’s given her an insight into life at a leading university and a chance to grow in confidence away from home but in a safe and inspiring environment”.
Head Teachers of the participating schools saw the immense benefits of the programme;
Mr Andy Bridson Head Teacher Cardinal Langley RCHS Middleton
“The Oxbridge summer school is a potentially life changing opportunity for the young people of Rochdale. This is an experience that has raised their aspirations and proved that they can thrive in such an academic environment.”
Mr Rob McGinty Head Teacher Hollingworth Academy
“We were delighted to receive this very generous offer. The experience for our young people is a potentially life- changing experience and one that I know they will cherish forever”.
Mrs Karen Ames Head Teacher Holy Family RC College, Bury
“We were delighted that 2 of our Year 11 students were part of the summer school at Pembroke College, Oxford. To be given the chance to participate in this programme allowed our students to raise their aspirations and see the opportunities that are available to them”.
Mr Alex Fair Head Teacher Unsworth Academy, Bury
“This programme was tremendous for our learners. A significant number of our more able students have participated in lectures delivered by university tutors from Oxford and Cambridge. I sincerely hope that we can be involved in the collaboration for many years to come”.
Chris Dobbs Director of OxNet youth scholars. Pembroke College, University of Oxford and Head of academic enrichment. Hollingworth Academy, Milnrow.
“I am delighted that so many pupils were able to experience life at a world class University. As teachers and parents, we strive to deliver the best for our children and opportunities such as this bring to life what we talk about every day. The students should be immensely proud of themselves for participating fully and embracing this incredible experience”.
To the north of Manchester, across Bury, Oldham and Rochdale, lies Atom Valley, the Mayoral Development Zone.
Councillor Danny Meredith, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Housing Rochdale Borough Council
“Atom Valley is a vast area of 17million sq.ft. of employment space and will be home to world-class companies in advanced machinery, materials and manufacturing. It will deliver 20,000 new highly skilled jobs; these incredible ambitions will however only be realised if our local residents have the skills to deliver them, this is why opportunities such as this are so important”.
Councillor O’Brien, Leader Bury Council
“Alongside the wider reforms to technical education being delivered by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), initiatives such as this are the first steps in boosting educational opportunities to realise the potential and the transformational opportunities, which Atom Valley will bring for the benefit of everyone”.