10 Jul

The Higher Education Fair and University Trip 2017

Categories: Sixth Form,

The Higher Education Fair

Upon their return to school after exam season, Ballakermeen’s Year 12 students have been encouraged to turn their thoughts to Year 13 and beyond. Thankfully, the Island’s annual Higher Education Fair, organised and hosted by the Sixth Form team at Ballakermeen, was a raging success, offering students from all over the Island insight into the pathways open to them following A Level study. Approximately 70 institutions took part this year, and, in addition to long-serving institutions such as the University of York and the University of Huddersfield, we welcomed institutions such as the Oxford Business College and the University of Ulster for the first time. Once again, a vast number of our students reported that the event was both informative and interesting, offering them a better idea of what they can do after Sixth Form. In addition to this, our visiting delegates praised the organisation of the event, the attitude of our students’ and, of course, the wonderful catering provided by the school during the event. We’d like to extend our thanks to everyone involved in making the event a success, and we hope to see all of the institutions back again next year!

The University Trip

Following the Higher Education Fair, which piqued the interest of our Year 12 students and introduced them to the university application process, it was time for our annual university trip. This year’s trip, organised by Mr Watson, featured four exhausting but exciting days. Along with six members of staff in total, almost sixty Year 12 students spent the trip visiting eighteen universities in total! The trip itself was an informative and thought-provoking experience for many of those involved, with students developing a clearer vision of their future. The learning was not, however, limited to our students, as Mr Shimmin discovered a newfound love for lattes whilst on the trip!

After a relatively calm boat journey to Heysham on the Ben My Chree, staff and students split across our two coaches in preparation for our first visits. Coach one, led by Mrs Moore, visited the University of Cumbria’s Lancaster campus and coach two, led by Mr Watson visited the Lancaster University campus. In the late afternoon, both coaches were united for a visit to UCLAN in Preston, before heading to our accommodation for the week at the University of Manchester halls of residence. To finish the day, we took the chance to relax and enjoy our annual curry (or chicken nuggets and chips) at Lal Qila restaurant.

After a filling breakfast on Wednesday morning, both coaches left Manchester at 8.15am. Unfortunately, the day was rather fraught for coach two, which faced a number of motorway closures on their route. Despite the delays, students remained upbeat and positive and the university staff at Hull, York and Leeds were flexible and helpful, meaning that the visits, though somewhat delayed, were still informative and enjoyable for all involved.  Coach one’s visits were luckily less problematic and students arrived at Edge Hill University on time. To combat the inclement weather, students were presented with weatherproof ponchos before their tour, meaning that they stayed dry and rustled through the campus with smiles on their faces. The remaining visits to Leeds Beckett University and the University of Huddersfield, where students were able to meet the tutors and admissions officers for their preferred courses, went without a hitch. After a very busy day, we all met up for some dinner, shopping and story swapping at the Trafford Centre.

By Thursday morning, we were all starting to tire, but every student impressed us with their positive and enthusiastic attitudes. Once again, our travel plans were delayed due to road closures and both coaches faced a scenic detour to Nottingham.  Once again, we were very grateful to the university staff, as both University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University were fantastic in adapting our visits to both fit around our delayed arrivals and ensure that our students still had beneficial and informative visits.  Our final stops were the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University, where we once again obtained great insights into the institutions, their facilities and the courses they offer before again meeting the other coach at the Trafford Centre for more fun, food and shopping!

Our final day allowed us a bit of a lie-in in the morning, as our first stops were the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University. Our second stop of the day was the University of Chester, where both coaches met up to visit the main campus and hear more about the university itself. After a spot of lunch, the coaches again went their separate ways to their final visits, with coach one heading to Liverpool John Moore’s University and coach two travelling to the University of Liverpool.  In the early evening, we finally all met up again at the Pier Head in Liverpool, ready for the boat journey back to the Isle of Man. Despite a long, rough and very busy crossing on-board the Manannan, all of our students were fantastic.

All in all, the staff involved were very proud of how our students conducted themselves throughout the entire week and after a weekend of rest, look forward to beginning to plan and book next year’s visits!