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BAME Communities Discover Cambridge Day

last modified Feb 19, 2014 02:00 PM
ACA ran an activity for Year 11 students on the BAME Communities Programme, engaging schools from areas with diverse ethnic and socioeconomic populations.

 

The University of Cambridge is committed to ensuring fair access for the very brightest students, regardless of their social, economic, religious and racial background. As part of its outreach work with prospective students at UK state schools, the Cambridge Admissions Office employs a full-time outreach officer to work with Gifted & Talented pupils who live in areas with high number of ethnic minority communities, and raise their awareness of the opportunities offered by a degree at Cambridge and how to apply. Since 1989, the University's Group to Encourage Ethnic Minority Applications (GEEMA) has helped raise the proportion of BAME students registered on Cambridge undergraduate courses from 5.5% to 15% - above the national demographics. You can read more about the University's 'Commitment to Outreach' in their publication here.

The BAME Communities Programme is working with the same group of students from London, Birmingham and Manchester over three years between school Years 11 and 13 to give them the chance to find out about study and life at Cambridge from current students and admissions staff in a series of regular Saturday sessions and residential summer schools.

© Cambridge University

Last Saturday (8th February 2014), fifty Year 11 (15-16 year old) students on the BAME Communities Programme attended a 'Discover Cambridge' day hosted at St John's College. They learnt about the importance of A-Level subject choices and about the range of different courses on offer at Cambridge including subjects new to most of the students such as Archaeology, Social Anthropology and Biological Anthropology, which was introduced in a taster session led by Clemency Cooper of Access Cambridge Archaeology. During her session, the students worked in teams in a hands-on game of 'Call My Bluff', inventing false explanations for a real archaeological artefact, and then taking it in turns to present these alongside the true explanation, challenging the rest of the group to spot the correct explanation. There was a tie between two groups at the end, with one being better at bluffing and another better at correctly guessing the bluffs. The students were also given an overview of the Archaeology route in the Human, Social and Political Science (HSPS) tripos at Cambridge, which included quotes from current and former Cambridge students about their experiences of studying Archaeology.

Sam Massey, the BAME Communities Officer, e-mailed afterwards to say:

"I just wanted to say a really big thank you for doing the ‘Call my bluff’ session last Saturday. It was really enjoyable and a massive success with the students – several who have asked for further information on the course and couldn’t stop talking about the session. I think including more archaeology in the BAME programme in the future is a definite!"

The activity day took place in the recently renovated Divinity School at St. John's College which was built on the site of the thirteenth century hospital of the same name. In archaeological excavations undertaken by Cambridge Archaeological Unit (CAU) prior to the restoration work, the remains of the hospital's lay cemetery was discovered, comprising of around 400 articulated skeletons that are currently being examined.

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