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Wyvern Academy – Year 7 Visit to Sunderland University

In preparation for the visit, the students looked at different types of Engineering and talked about the future of greenscreen work and how things are moving from post production to live work.

We took all pupils in year 7 to visit Sunderland University, including those with learning needs and a large number with no familial experience of university.

It was a conscious decision not to visit our closest University as we wanted to raise pupil’s awareness of the opportunities outside of our immediate area.

Pupils took part in 3 activities

  • A STEM challenge
  • Codes and cyphers
  • Campus tour with Q&A

Each activity was delivered by a member of staff, supported by Student Ambassadors. This contracts with other university visits that have relied more heavily on Students to deliver the session- the sessions at Sunderland were extremely professional, engaging and well-received by pupils.

STEM Challenge

Pupils looked at different iconic structures, eg. Golden Gate Bridge, to widen their understanding of Engineering before taking part in a paper plane challenge.

Codes and Cyphers

Pupils looked at basics about universities, what they are, what it costs, what they can study etc before taking part in some cypher challenges.

Campus tour and Q&A

The tour had been carefully planned so pupils could see “exciting” things as well and the more mundane. They got to see the University Radio Station, see live filming, had a talk about how green screens work and how they were used in the Mandelorian and how virtual backgrounds make post production redundant. We visited the Library, saw 100s of computers, learnt about the support on offer and saw robots. We also went into a 360O pod to see how adverts will be in the future.

This was followed by a Q & A with everyone writing at least one question on a post-it that was then answered by a student panel. Again, a member of staff led meaning it felt very well managed.


Year 7 pupils were completely inspired. They came away believing that university is a realistic option for them, thanks to the message “Anyone can go to University at any time” which was embedded throughout the visit. At least half said they intend to go to Sunderland when they can, others want to think about where else they can go before deciding. It will be interesting to see if this positivity lasts.

The Career Lead “The best university trip I have ever been on”. Well organised with sessions delivered by professionals that engaged the pupils and delivered a clear message about the accessibility of university for everyone. The Student Ambassadors inspired the pupils with their personal stories of how they got to university, whether from abroad or 5 minutes down the road.

This is a trip I would definitely recommend all schools offer.