OUR campaign to encourage people to go to university is starting at an early age in Wearside.
Work has been taking place for a number of years to engage primary school-age pupils with the benefits of a university education as being the best route to fulfilling their future dreams.
The work with this age group by teachers, academics and community leaders in the city mirrors the aims of the Degrees of Success campaign message; to improve the take-up rate of higher education within Wearside and Durham and give people, whatever their backgrounds, the opportunity to invest in their future, and increase their earnings potential.
The MP for Washington and Sunderland West, Sharon Hodgson, a Shadow Minister of State for Children and Families, who has given her backing to the campaign, regularly visits primary schools in the area to mentor youngsters and encourage their aspirations.
She said: “Young children are full of aspiration. Ask a child in Year 1 what they want to be when they grow up and they will tell you they want to be a fireman, a doctor, a nurse or even an astronaut. Unfortunately, for many children their circumstances mean that that aspiration is lost as they get older, meaning that they see no reason to work hard at school and stay on.
“If we can go into schools and make sure children are encouraged to achieve their goals if they work hard and go to university, they could have a big impact on how they make use of the opportunities available to them, how well they achieve in school and therefore how their lives turn out.”
Sunderland City Council’s portfolio holder for children and learning city, Coun Pat Smith, said: “We are delighted to support this campaign as part of our continual drive with partners to raise aspirations and attainment within all our schools.
“Working with the university, we are running a number of events and taster sessions for pupils of all ages, including primary, to help them see what can be achieved in a very wide variety of subjects and career choices.”