Published: Tuesday, 22nd January 2019
One hundred and sixteen Year 11 students took part in the third University Challenge on 18 January.
The University Centre at the College of West Anglia was commandeered for the day as students from seven secondary schools in west Norfolk participated in a series of challenges.
The aim of the conference was to give the students an opportunity to push each other beyond their limits in their core subjects, helping to build their confidence and inspiring them to achieve even better results in their GCSEs this summer.
Inspirational speakers, including locally-based Graham Perkins from Mexin, formed part of the event, along with maths, English and science challenges. The speakers shared elements of their lives, how they became successful and their future plans with the students.
This unique event is the only one in the area where students don't work in their school groups. They are put into mixed teams of six named after UK universities.
The maths challenge was a relay against the clock. Each team had a 6th form student as a ‘runner’. The correct answer had to be submitted before they could receive the next question. The English and science challenges were timed quiz papers.
The winners were the teams with the highest total scores after they had completed all three challenges.
Cllr Nick Daubney, the Mayor of King's Lynn & West Norfolk presented the winning teams with gold, silver and bronze medals. All students attending received a certificate of attendance and a goody bag of pens, pencils, notepaper and water - everything to get them through the day.
Cllr Nick Daubney, speaking after the event, said: "Congratulations to the organisers, the schools taking part and of course to the students. It was a fascinating day and it was good to see how the teams organised themselves to capitalise on their strengths in each subject. The students learnt that to succeed they needed to cooperate and communicate. It was a competitive event which seemed to spur the pupils on and bring out the best in them. I felt proud to be part of it. The venue was the perfect setting for such an event. I hope that the day has inspired our year 11s to succeed."
Schools taking part were King's Lynn Academy, King Edward VII Academy, Iceni Academy, Marshland, St. Clements, Smithdon and Springwood high schools.
The event was originally created by John Hirst on behalf of the West Norfolk Partnership and now continues as part of the learning partnership to increase achievement in the borough's schools. The event is designed to stretch pupils in the top 10% of their school and to give them a taste of higher education in a university setting.