CHILDREN from military families in Hampshire have discovered more about life at university during special taster days hosted by the University of Winchester.

The two creative forces days, held in association with Hampshire County Council and Bath Spa University, gave military children aged 9-15 years an opportunity to experience life on campus for themselves.

Children took part in creative writing sessions and had guided tours around the University campus. They then fed back to their teachers their own top-ten tips on how schools can better support them as they aim for higher education. University of Winchester students from Service families were also on hand to share their own experiences of higher education with pupils and teachers.

Katherine Lawrence, the event’s project manager at the University of Winchester, said: “Our creative forces days are proving to be a very successful way to highlight what higher education can offer children from military families who might not consider that university is an option for them. The days enable young people to explore the challenges and opportunities their experiences bring and to share that with other young people and their teachers.”

Leanne Andrews, a third-year education studies student and a Winchester student ambassador at the event, said: “We’re role models to the children here today and they can see that I’m also a military child and am now a student here at Winchester. It shows them that anything is possible and it’s great to hear children say that they want to go to university too.”

Drawing on resources from the Ministry of Defence, Hampshire’s Civilian-Military Partnership and Hampshire County Council’s Children’s Services, the project aims to help Service children with academic potential make a smooth and secure transition through school and into higher education.

The University of Winchester’s work in this area has led to the establishment of the new national Service Children’s Progression Alliance which is to be formally launched at a conference at the University on 28 June which aims to share and develop strategies for supporting young people from military families into and through higher education.

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