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Pupils in the Chester area have been able to benefit from mentoring sessions from students under the University’s School Mentoring Programme for several years. Faced with the challenges of the pandemic, the Volunteering and Mentoring team adapted the programme to move online, to ensure that the support could continue.

‘Student Scholars’ aims to provide pupils with additional educational resources. Reaching out to students from all courses via email and promotional materials on social media, the Volunteering and Mentoring Team recruited a number of students to create educational tutorial videos on the subject of their choice.

Deciding on the content, the students were also asked to consider their target audience – resulting in videos being created for pupils from year seven to A-Level age. From the subjects of Contemporary Dance and Shakespeare, to Multi Store Memory and Prokaryotic versus Eukaryotic Cells, University of Chester students provided a wealth of informative content for pupils from a number of schools.

Following guidance from the University’s Audio and Visual team, the students created their videos in a variety of different styles that showcased their creative skills. Making the most of the resources at their disposal, the students shared information through hand-drawn images, PowerPoint presentations, photos of the topic in question, or even by being at the centre of the session themselves.

Each tutorial video was delivered solely by the student, putting their leadership and communication skills at the forefront of the scheme. One Dance student involved with the scheme, Grace, said she how hoped that their contributions have inspired some Key Stage Three pupils to consider University. She said: “I really enjoyed this project and enjoyed giving students the opportunity to see dance at a university level.”

The videos are set to be shared with schools by the University’s Outreach team, which workswith schools and colleges to raise awareness of and aspiration to Higher Education to under-represented groups and pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Amy Butt, Mentoring Administrative Assistant at the University, said: “The past year has seen many challenges for our students – especially in regards to adapting to a virtual world. They have had to think outside the box and expand their experiences to get the most out of the circumstances. Despite these challenges, the students involved with the Student Scholars initiative have shown real commitment to helping those most in need - displaying a kindness that has never been lost in them.”

Chantal Bradburn, Widening Participation Officer​ with the Universit’s Outreach Team, added: “‘The knowledge and experience of our current students is invaluable for schools and colleges, so being able to offer such a rich and engaging range of resources is fantastic.”

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