Widening participation students at summer school

Students participated in a scenario to identify, contain and control a deadly virus
Students participated in a scenario to identify, contain and control a deadly virus

28 July 2017

  • Widening participation end their first year with residential summer school
  • Students spend three days living on campus to get taste of university life
  • Professor praises students’ commitment and impressive standard of work
  • Summer school gains accreditation from Royal Society of Public Health

Almost 80 students on a learning and development programme at Aston Medical School designed to encourage aspirations of a medical career have spent three days at a residential summer school on the Aston University campus.

The students are almost halfway through the two-year Sir Doug Ellis Pathway to Healthcare programme which is giving young people from disadvantaged areas and circumstances across Birmingham, the Black Country and Solihull the chance of a future career in medicine and other healthcare professions

The innovative programme is sponsored by Birmingham philanthropist and former Aston Villa chairman Sir Doug Ellis and offers a range of activities including placements at local hospitals, GP practices, clinical research units and other healthcare settings, medical taster days, research projects and an intensive A Level revision “boot camp,” as well as mentorship and practical support around applying to university.

During the summer school the students participated in an emergency healthcare scenario focusing on how to identify, contain and control a deadly infection, moving on to its impact and the recovery phase, medical ethics and the emotional wellbeing of those affected.   

The students presented posters detailing an NHS health campaign and also designed a recovery hub involving making decisions on its location, accessibility, type of services needed and who would deliver them and how they would evaluate its success.

The summer school has been accredited by the Royal Society for Public Health and for the first time ever, students who completed the workbook were awarded a Level 2 certificate as a Youth Health Champion.  

Professor Tony Stewart, Honorary Professor of Epidemiology at Aston Medical School said: “We know that people who live in less advantaged areas can find it harder to get into university education and particularly in the science subjects. What we are doing here is offering an innovative scheme to help young people from these areas get the education they deserve and aspire to. I was impressed with the students at summer school; their presentations are on a par with work I have seen by undergraduates in their final year.”

Student Dean Elsmore, aged 17, a pupil at Wood Green Academy at Wednesbury, said: “I’ve enjoyed the first year of the programme and found it inspiring. I’ve learned about really interesting areas of medicine that I didn’t know existed such as physiology and neuroscience and am looking forward to my placement next month at a clinical trials unit and in the university’s laboratories.”   

Student Mommna Mirza, aged 17, a pupil at Waverley School Sixth Form in Small Heath, Birmingham said: “It’s been a tough year as in addition to normal school and this programme, I went on a residential biology course and am working for the Duke of Edinburgh Award – but it has been fun. I’ve done many things on the programme that will boost my personal statement and help me get into university and the Royal Society for Public Health certificate is fantastic. I’m so grateful for all the help I am receiving.”

Amy Waters, also 17, a pupil at Old Swinford Hospital School, Stourbridge added: “This is such a great opportunity to learn about what a career in medicine would be like. One of the highlights so far for me was taking part in a ward round at Russells Hall Hospital and learning about outpatients, paediatrics and orthopaedics. There is a lot of work but I like to be busy and I’m enjoying it.” 

The summer school was sponsored by Palatium Investment Management, founded by Aston University alumnus Neil Lawson-May. He said: “As a graduate of Aston University I was delighted to support these amazing young people in their journey towards university and a career in medicine. The Sir Doug Ellis Pathway to Healthcare programme is innovative and engaging and I was hugely impressed by the high standard and maturity of the presentations made by the students at the end of their summer school.”  

The residential summer school ran from 25-27 July, inclusive. 


Notes to the editor

The new Aston Medical School is scheduled to open its doors to its first medical undergraduate students in the autumn of 2018. In addition to a small number of places reserved for local students (13 per cent of the current 99 students) completing the Pathway to Healthcare programme and achieving entry requirements, the School will have an annual intake of international medical students.

On acceptance, students will spend five years studying for the MBChB undergraduate degree in medicine.

Year 12 pupils applying to join the Pathway to Healthcare Programme must meet at least one of the following criteria: be in receipt of a means-tested bursary (eg 16-19 Bursary); be eligible, or have been, for free school meals during secondary education (Ever 6); be from a local authority care background; be from a family where neither parent has attended university.

They must also have attained B grades, or above, in five GCSE subjects including mathematics, English language, chemistry, biology or double science.

Work to create a purpose-designed medical school at the heart of the Aston University campus is expected to commence in 2017 at a cost of £15 million.

Sir Doug Ellis  is deeply committed to Birmingham and to Aston University and is one of the city's leading philanthropists. He assisted the university to undertake the refurbishment of the Sir Doug Ellis Woodcock Sports Centre which benefits students and staff and the local community. He is recognised as the pioneer of the package holiday industry and his business activities have included electronics, insurance, farming and retailing. He was Chairman of Aston Villa Football Club for 35 years and is now the club's Honorary Life President. Sir Doug was awarded the OBE for services to football and the community in 2004 and received an Honorary Degree from Aston in 2007. 

Palatium Investment Management. CEO Neil Lawson-May graduated with a degree in management studies from Aston University in 1982, working for Riggs Bank and James Capel before joining Morgan Grenfell (later acquired by Deutsche Bank) in 1988. At Morgan Grenfell he was involved in a wide range of real estate transactions, including over €1bn of public house sale and leasebacks for Diageo and Scottish & Newcastle, over €1.5bn of superstore sale and leasebacks for Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda, as real estate adviser to Sir Terence Conran and in relation to the reconstruction of Trencherwood plc. From 2002-2007 he was jointly responsible for Eurohypo’s Real Estate Investment Banking business in Europe.  

For media queries, call Susi Turner, Press & PR Officer, on 0121 204 4978 or email [email protected]  

More information regarding the programme, eligibility, how to apply, etc is here.

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