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Hoe Valley School - Year 9 Off-Timetable Day

Event date: 
Friday 25th of May 2018 (All day)

On Friday 25th May 2018, year 9 students from Hoe Valley School visited The University of Surrey where they learned about Higher Education, potential pathways after school/college, and what university life. They also chose 2 of the 5 different sessions run by our partner institutions.

Pre-Teach Session Delivered by Student Ambassadors

Two of our student ambassadors met the year 9 cohort at Hoe Valley School to give a brief introduction to the day and talk to the students about their own personal journey to university, why they chose their degree and what they hope to do after graduating. The ambassadors then hopped on the coaches and chatted to the students on the way to campus.

Campus Tour Challenge

After arriving on campus and hearing an overview of pathways and choices post-16, students separated into groups to explore the university’s campus learning about studying and living on campus. As part of the tour, students were also set some photo challenges, for example posing with world famous mathematician Alan Turing OBE!

Can Cells Talk?

In this science-focused session delivered by our University of Surrey partner officer, students were able to learn about animal cells. Starting with a pop quiz to understand the basic tasks a cell needs to be able to do and what happens if these aren’t carried out correctly. They also covered how a virus may attach and hijack a cell and how communication is vital for the immune system to ensure the whole body isn’t overrun with a virus.

Students were given an empty cell half and instructions on how to make the 4 basic units found within all animal cells, a brain to control the cell (nucleus), endoplasmic reticulum to make the proteins needed for the cell to function, the energy provider for the cell (mitochondria), and the sorting and packing system in the cell (golgi apparatus). These models were made with modelling clay and then stuck to the cell half with students labelling the key components.

“Very fun and entertaining (especially the cells)” - Student


Drama and English

“You’re not listening to me!” – This drama-based workshop delivered by our partner officer from the Guildford College Group explored non-verbal communication skills. After a brief introduction and warmup, students watched a short film looking at how much meaning we can communicate without using words. This provided a stimulus for the students to devise their own pieces which focused on body language and facial expression. These were then shared with the whole group, which generated some thought-provoking and high quality discussion. The students left the session with a sheet of tips for interviews and formal communication situations.

Computer Engineering

“Computing was very rewarding.”Student

Delivered by our partner, Nescot, this session introduced students to the basics of programming using special hardware known as Arduino. Starting with a quick presentation on the components of Arduino devices, students were given their own kits and used software on the computer to make a light flash on and off on the Arduino, adjusting the code to make the light blink faster and slower, experimenting with the code and discovering the effects they could achieve. They then built circuits on the Arduinos to create different effects, lighting up an LED, making it flash at different speeds, and even adding multiple LEDs in a row.

“The coding was really fun.” - Student


Up For Debate

Students put their negotiating and influencing skills to the test by debating against each other on a variety of important and challenging topics. Dr Joe Hickinbottom, from our partner institution, The University of Surrey, then helped the groups explore how to improve their debating skills by looking at the language used, use of facts and references, and how to listen effectively and counter your opponent’s messages. Teachers and student ambassadors voted on the winning arguments for each topic.

“I think that the debate really helped me to open up more and not be shy.” - Student


With the government having pledged that over 3 million apprenticeship places will be created by 2020, apprenticeships are a hot topic right now. In this workshop we helped students explore the different types of apprenticeships available and then gave groups the opportunity to design their own by designing an eye-catching logo and building a timetable for future apprentices on their scheme.

Some Feedback from the Day…

“I learnt a lot about what it is like at university and all of the different things you can do when you finish your GCSEs - it was very helpful!” - Student

“I found today really pushed me to work harder and made me feel confident about future choices.” - Student

“I found the information on further education (especially the talk about post-16 options in the lecture hall) very useful and now I am confident in the fact that I would like to continue on to further education and eventually do a degree.” - Student

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