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Year 7 Gateways : University Uncovered 
Thursday 12th May 2022 

Year 7 students were invited to take part in the visit to the University of Manchester on Thursday 12th May 2022.


We had a really great day looking at Higher Education and learning about many aspects including; what a university is and why people go to university ; what student life is like and what fun activities students can do at university.


In the morning students had a general introduction to university and completed task about what they knew ( true and false). Topics included; how is it different to school and college; how are you taught and living at University.  They were also introduced to a variety of new terms associated with University and matched up the definitions.


Students then went on a campus tour of the University looking at the University of Manchester library  and learning commons, Whitworth hall, John Owens quadrangle and the students union. Students loved their tour and took lots of pictures!


In the afternoon students completed  University Challenges with students from other schools. It was  a fun and competitive way of introducing some of the degree subjects to the students. The first activity was Loop the Loop, showcasing physics. Students learned about the magus effect, using plastic cups and an elastic band to try and make it fly. The second activity was ‘speaking with your hands’, showcasing speech and language therapy.  The final activity was ‘sweet geography’ showcasing geography where students used Jelly babies to represent populations. These populations either increased or decreased depending on the effects of real life events.  


Students also had the opportunity to  speak to current undergraduates about what it’s like to be at University. The event also helped students develop key communication and team working skills as they participated in group work with learners from different schools.


A thoroughly enjoyable and valuable experience thanks to the gateways team at the University of Manchester and the student ambassadors.

Year 8 Gateways Familiarisation Visit
Thursday 5th May 2022 

Year 8 students took part in a visit to the University of Manchester on Thursday 5th May 2022.

This allowed students to learn what a university is, and how it differs from school and college. They looked at subjects that can be studied at higher education and developed their knowledge and understanding of student life and the importance of socialising at university to meet new friends and trying new things. This was to encourage  students to push themselves out of their comfort zones.


Smithills students questioned the undergraduates about on a variety of topics relating to University including; jobs and careers prospects; meeting new people & joining societies; Student life; subjects and study at University; and accommodation. Student learned about the differences between lectures and seminars and got to work in a lecture theatre. They completed the ‘alphabet soup challenge’ and looked at the wide variety of subjects available to them for future study at university.


In the afternoon they were introduced to the student union and told about all the exciting opportunities and society groups that you can join at University. Students were tasked with creating their own society and presented their ideas to the group.


We had an opportunity to work with undergraduates studying for a range of degree courses such as; medicine; pharmacy; artificial intelligence (computer science); psychology; biomedical science; and sociology.


Student also had a virtual tour of the university and saw all the different schools and faculties, as well as the other resources available including the library. 


It was a really valuable day and students thoroughly enjoyed their experience. We look forward to returning next year for the ‘Build Your Future’ visit.  


Thank you!

Raising Aspirations Youth Programme 2022  (RAY) 
The Sixth Form Bolton

Congratulations to our Year 10 students who have been part of the RAY Programme with The Sixth Form Bolton this year.


This has been an amazing opportunity for them to explore Post 16 education at The Sixth Form and  take part in activities that will support them in all aspects of their education and life. They visited the Sixth Form Bolton after school throughout the year on several dates. Activities included ; being part of a debate night; taster lesson on a subject of their choice; an employability session developing team building skills and culminated in a trip to Lancaster University where they also took part in their graduation at the end of their programme.


We would like to say a huge thankyou to The Sixth Form Bolton for inviting our students to be part of this amazing programme.  

Work Experience Promotional Film 2022

Work Experience 2022

We are extremely grateful to everyone who has been a part of our Work Experience Programme this year. We have had 130 students working with external employers despite the covid pandemic and the impact it has had on work places. We cannot thank everyone enough for your support and encouragement of our students. The feedback from employers has been really amazing and we would like to congratulate all our Year 10 student who completed a successful programme. Students have been able to develop their confidence and independence and develop working relationships with adults in the work place, learning to use their initiative, take instruction and work to deadlines. This has been a really valuable experience for everyone.


We also had a work programme running in school. The Cabinet Office agreed to offer 10 students an opportunity to work with civil servants and learn more about careers in government. Jess and Eve worked with students over three days. They were able to develop key employability skills including, team work, communication, time management, research and presentation skills. They also developed confidence by taking part in the programme. They have a much clearer idea of what a civil servant is and the wide range of employment opportunities available. They have learned budgeting skills, CV Writing  and more formal writing techniques. It was a fabulous programme. Well planned and well delivered. All staff who observed the session were extremely impressed!


We also had another Work Programme operating where a group of students worked with different employers each day on a project enabling them to be creative, present their ideas and receive feedback from employers.


On Monday we worked with the Army. They gave a presentation to students and showed us two different career journeys looking at life as a soldier. Students then took part in two practical sessions including the MTA car and jungle maps to work on teamwork, problem solving and communication skills. In the final session students took part in a de-coding  task and were able to crack the code.    


On Tuesday we worked with MBDA who gave students an introduction to MBDA & the CADMID project. Students started with Water bottle challenge and enjoyed working as a team to come up with solutions to this challenge. The MBDA Team led by Ben Sudworth then set students the task of designing a system to disable drones or prevent them from flying into airfields. Students worked creatively to come up with solutions to the task and learned a lot about presenting ideas which they were able to develop considerably as the week went on. They learned about career opportunities within MBDA and had an opportunity to ask questions. 


On Wednesday Sushma from ‘Sushma Snacks’ and Christine Baldwin, Asda Community Champion and our Enterprise Advisor, worked with students on a social enterprise task to ‘re-think food’. The aim was to reduce food waste and get students and their families to look at how to use food that is close to the use by date to make some really delicious recipe’s. Sushma looked at over ripe bananas and showed us how to make banana bread and chocolate chip bananas, and then showed up recipe’s including French toast and spicy potatoes. They were amazing! Thanks Sushma!

Students also looked at ideas for a community kitchen and also learned about employment opportunities and careers within Asda. Christine then took us on a work place visit to Asda  where students has a tour of their warehouse and learned about systems used to identify foods close to their use by dates, and how they are redistributed to charities and people within the community to help reduce food poverty and reduce overall waste. It was fabulous to see and speak with staff involved in this field of work. Thanks to Christine and Gillian.


On Thursday Keith Harris from Bolton FM showed students how to produce a radio show by building it up as an hourly show. We worked on a 30 minute segment  to include an introduction, advert, interview, music and other fillers such as the weather and news. Students worked on a Friday night programme to encourage teenagers to listen to radio. We also had our young community reporters from Year 9, come and interview our year 10 students about their experience. Poppy, Ava and Lilly have been working with Keith to learn how to interview, record and edit in preparation for reporting on Bolton FM for the future. Thanks Keith!


We had a thoroughly enjoyable week working with all our employers. Every experience was so different but so valuable.  Thank you to everyone involved including our teaching staff, some of whom had students working with them throughout the week in departments, or who worked with them throughout the week to support them in project work, or worked with them on Friday to continue the work experience theme in subject areas to complete the week.