Young people on the programme are the first in their family to attend university; they have parents in non-professional occupations; they attend a state-maintained school or college; and they attend schools or colleges which have little history of sending pupils to research-intensive universities.
The AEP has four main components: a week-long residential school at the University campus in Edgbaston in the summer of Year 12; ongoing, one-to-one mentoring from current undergraduates; study-skills sessions at key points in Year 13; and a celebratory ‘graduation’ event.
The summer school is the core activity of the AEP. Participating students “live” in our University halls of residence, attend lectures and seminars, and participate in a variety of social activities, replicating the experience they would have as enrolled students.
The mentoring scheme in Year 13 with our undergraduates provides invaluable assistance and support during a critical time, when students are assessing their options and preparing UCAS applications (from our latest cohort, over 500 emails were exchanged with mentors in advance of applications). Students return to campus for two study and revision workshops, to assist in maximising their chances in their final examinations. This is followed by a ‘graduation’ ceremony.
The AEP builds a relationship with the University, involving parents, carers and teachers. It inspires pride and raises aspirations and confidence.