MORE than 200 schoolchildren from six Winsford primary schools area visited the University of Chester in the biggest event of its kind at the university, in a bid to ‘broaden aspirations’ for the next Winsford generation.

The University’s outreach team hosted the Winsford Primary Pathways event, which saw six Winsford primary schools invited to the University to participate in a series of activities designed to broaden aspiration and awareness of the opportunities available within Higher Education.

It is the largest primary school event of its kind that the Outreach team has run at the University.

Chantal Bradburn, widening participation officer at the University of Chester, said: “Winsford is a key target area for the Widening Participation team, as students from this area face a wide range of challenges in progressing to Higher Education. The work we do with the primary schools is essential in promoting diverse opportunities to students before they begin secondary school.”

The children were able to explore a working university campus, and meet staff and current students.

A record 237 Year 6 pupils from Winsford High Street Community Primary School, Grange Community Primary School, Willow Wood Community Primary School, St Chad’s CE Primary School, Wharton CE Primary School and Oak View Primary Academy attended talks, a subject fair and were also given a campus tour.

Cllr Nicole Meardon, cabinet member for children and families at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “We are committed to reducing the inequalities gap through a number of projects and interventions.

“The visit to the University of Chester is one of a series of events to inspire, inform and educate primary pupils about career pathways.

“To help pupils to contextualise their learning in the real world, the Raising Aspirations Project is linking learning with employers, colleges and universities to ensure young people’s future career choices are well informed and ambitious.”

While primary schools in the area are regularly invited to campus tours and talks, this was the first time that the event also included a subject fair which was staffed by lecturers and student ambassadors.

During the fair, the pupils participated in a ‘treasure hunt’ task, collecting information from each stall about the skills involved in each subject and possible future careers relating to that degree.

This was designed to support Year 6 students in increasing their awareness of future career pathways and university opportunities, while allowing them to become familiar with a higher education environment.

Annette Williams, executive headteacher at Grange Community Primary School, said: “We were absolutely thrilled that the Year 6 children had the opportunity to take part in this event.

“It was a fabulous opportunity to inspire our children and engender a belief in them that they can achieve all they aspire to.

“Now we know it is our challenge to make their dreams a reality; with hard work and determination at school to achieve the best possible outcomes - something we are committed to, here at Grange Community Primary School.”