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West Yorkshire - Web chat lure to university

A social networking website set up to encourage teenagers into summer schools has had more than 100,000 page views in its first eight weeks.

Babble is designed to make sure pupils who have won a place on the Aimhigher Summer School programme, which offers a taster of university life, attend it.

Students were given a user name and password to the site and encouraged to use it to network with other students in the region.

Helen Child, Aimhigher West Yorkshire assistant director, said: "We know (pupils) worry that they will be away from home and not know anyone. In too many cases, they decide not to attend.

"Babble gave them a way to make new friends and start 'talking' to them in a secure environment they are confident using. It was a way to reassure young people and we have had a much higher rate of attendance this year as a result.

"The aim of Summer School is to increase their confidence and let them see that, even if nobody in their family went to university, it is a very realistic option." ED.

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