Forward Thinking

Forward Thinking is a progressive programme of activities for students from Y8 through to Y11. The University of Birmingham selects students who they deem to have little or no knowledge of higher education, but who have the academic potential to consider future progression to university. Throughout the programme students will participate in a range of on-campus activities, receive one to one mentoring support from undergraduates in school, and access information and advice materials to support the programme. We hope that taking part in these activities will help our students become clearer about their future education and career path, which should in turn motivate them to achieve in school so they are able to reach their full potential.

Each year of Forward Thinking builds on the previous and participants can expect to take part in activities such as:

Y8 Launch Day: an introduction to university life and the University of Birmingham. Join in team-building activities like creating spaghetti towers, think about future education and careers choices. Parents are invited to attend the evening session to meet the staff and learn more about the programme.

Y9 Subject Taster Day: experience exciting and interactive workshops and lectures on subjects such as medicine, law and history. University Experience Day: live as a student for the day – watch a theatre performance, try a sport and see University accommodation. There’s also the opportunity to socialise at the end of the event by going bowling with other Forward Thinking participants.

Y10 Mentoring: meet regularly in your school with an undergraduate student from the University of Birmingham. Mentors are dedicated to helping their mentees discover more about career pathways and look at exam and revision techniques, as well as working to improve study skills.

Y11 Celebration Event: pupils, teachers and parents all come together so participants can graduate from the programme. We celebrate your success so far and focus on the upcoming challenge of GCSE exams.

Benefits of the Programme

In 2019, four out of six students who participated in the Forward Thinking programme reported that they wanted to go to college or sixth form with an aim of progressing onto University. This was double the number of participants that reported in Y8 that University was a realistic consideration for their future. All six of the Forward Thinking Y11 graduates achieved five or more GCSE’s at grades 9-4 including Maths and English.