Pupils shine bright at summer school pilot

Pupils taking part in a film-making session

Pupils taking part in a film-making session

23 July 2022

Year 11 pupils from across Wales have been taking part in a residential summer school at Aberystwyth University, as part of the Seren Foundation programme.

Funded by the Welsh Government, the summer school is part of a pilot programme working with universities in Wales over the next three years.

It is part of the Welsh Government’s Cooperation agreement with Plaid Cymru to expand the current summer school partnerships and set up new pilots in Welsh institutions.

The theme for the 3-day workshop in Aberystwyth is Climate Literacy, and how the arts and humanities can speak to the climate agenda.  As well as receiving climate lectures from expert lecturers, students are taking part in creative learning sessions themed around the climate agenda, such as art workshops, yoga and film-making sessions.

The Seren programme is available to state educated learners in Years 8 to 13 across Wales. Learners are identified by their schools and colleges as the brightest, regardless of their background, and those who are registered for the programme are provided with guidance, support and opportunities to build their confidence and nurture the skills required to apply for top universities.

Seren is in two stages; Seren Foundation which is for those in Years 8 to 11, and Seren Academy for those in Years 12 and 13.  Together, the Seren programme is dedicated to supporting the brightest learners to aspire, apply and achieve success at top universities.  

Pro-Vice Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, Professor Anwen Jones said:

“Aberystwyth University is delighted to offer the first in this innovative series of summer schools in Wales that will establish an inspiring pathway towards the future for all Seren learners.

“This year we will be grappling with one of the most unsettling of contemporary global challenges; climate change. We will do this in a unique way that bridges the arts and humanities, the social sciences, and the sciences, giving Seren learners the chance to include their own voices in this debate.”

Minister for Education and the Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles said:  “I’m committed to ensuring we support all our learners, regardless of their background, and Seren is such a fantastic programme which offers our brightest students experiences that enrich and stimulate their learning.

“Opportunities such as this summer school help to widen the horizons of our learners and provide them with interesting and challenging experiences to help prepare them for further learning.  I’m keen to see how we can build on this pilot and expand the offer in partnership with more universities in Wales, and beyond, to increase the opportunities for our Seren learners.”

Designated Member Sian Gwenllian said: “We want to ensure that opportunities through the Seren programme support learners from the most disadvantaged backgrounds to have positive opportunities which support them to progress and thrive at university. These summer schools, as part of the Co-operation Agreement between Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Government, will offer opportunities to experience our universities and prepare learners for higher education. It is of utmost importance that we learn from these pilots and continue to expand opportunities to more learners in the future, with opportunities across Wales.”