THE Summer Academy @ Strathclyde begins its second year on June 26. Last year's event gave over 600 young people a two-week educational and recreational experience on Jordanhill and John Anderson campuses and over 800 young people (14-year-olds at the end of S3) will receive the same opportunity this year.

Two developments make us very optimistic. First, the programme has been independently evaluated. Second, it is now

part of a comprehensive access

initiative called GOALS (Greater Opportunity of Access and Learning with Schools) which includes all six higher education institutions in the west of Scotland.

The independent evaluation has been helpful in that it has confirmed the aspects of the S@S which are already successful. These are that S@S does impact on pupils' soft skills - motivation, team working, communication and overall confidence. It also provides individuals with a greater awareness of what higher education is all about and there is no reason to suggest that this will not feed through tobetter Standard grade performance.

The evaluation also drew our attention to a few areas requiring improvement, namely, closer links with individual schools, in terms of effective targeting of the young people and sharing information gained through analysis of the programme. It was also suggested that some thought should be given to how the principles of the programme can be adopted more widely, both in the preparation and the follow-up.

The notion that schools alone, between 9am and 3.30pm, are responsible for pupils' learning is now long gone. Schools, voluntary bodies, universities and the community are now joining together to extend the learning opportunities through which pupils can raise their levels of achievement.

The University of Strathclyde is only one participant in this new environment but in its terms of scale and duration, the Summer Academy @ Strathclyde provides a case study of how to think big and succeed.

Christine Percival


Summer Academy @ Strathclyde

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