Edlab initiative boosts widening participation commitment

PUPILS from years 9 and 12 at Manchester Health Academy in Wythenshawe came to the Brooks building last week for a day of education and health-based seminars.

This project was part of the University’s commitment to widening participation in higher education of underrepresented student populations.

To begin the day, staff from EdLab designed and delivered a 90-minute workshop in which pupils interrogated their understanding of education, and worked to design their own innovative education project in response to EdLab challenges.

EdLab is a new initiative in the Faculty of Education, which uses ‘real world’ challenges as stimuli for students to develop and deliver creative educational projects. As a result of these experiences, students are then enabled to deeply reflect on their understanding and practice of education in ways which link to theoretical bodies of work. Also, in line with the aims of widening participation, EdLab uses this type of project work and project based assessment in ways which can be more inclusive of pupils from diverse backgrounds.

‘Fantastic experience’

Juliette Wilson, from EdLab, said: “It was really inspiring to see how connected some of the pupils were with particular challenges. One pupil was able to develop a creative and workable plan for a project based in Hulme Community Garden Centre based upon addressing the need of autistic children and their parents. She was inspired to respond to this challenge from her own personal experiences.”

Sue Campayne, from Manchester Health Academy, added: “It was such a fantastic visit for our students. Edlab was able to give them a fantastic experience and a real taste of what they could expect from university.”

Students, staff and community partners can find out more about EdLab projects and challenges at http://www.edlab.org.uk