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120 Children from military service families in Hampshire have discovered more about what life and study at university is like at special taster days hosted by the University of Winchester.

The two Creative Forces Days, held in association with Hampshire County Council and Bath Spa University, gave Service children aged 9-15 years from schools across the county an opportunity to experience life on campus for themselves.

Children took part in creative writing sessions and had guided tours around the University campus. They then fed back to their teachers their own top ten tips on how schools can better support them as they aim for higher education. University of Winchester students who are from Service families were on hand to share their own personal experiences of higher education with pupils and teachers. 

The events also included dedicated sessions for teachers highlighting the range of information and practical advice available to help them support pupils from Service families during their time at school.

Katherine Lawrence, the event's project manager at the University of Winchester, said: "Our Creative Forces Days, now in their third year, are proving to be a very successful way to highlight what higher education can offer to children from military Service families who might not consider that university is an option for them. The days enable young people to explore the challenges and opportunities their experiences bring and to share that with other young people and their teachers."

Leanne Andrews, a third year Education Studies student and a Winchester student ambassador at the event, said: "As students, we're role models to the children here today and they can see that I'm also a military child and am now a student here at Winchester. It shows them that anything is possible and it's great to hear children say that they want to go to university too".

Claire Edwards, Widening Participation Officer at Bath Spa University, said: "These taster days show children from military service families that university can be a choice for them in the future. Being on campus also grounds the experience in reality and makes it seem more achievable. It's inspiring for them."

Drawing on resources from the Ministry of Defence, Hampshire's Civilian-Military Partnership and Hampshire County Council's Children's Services, the project aims to help Service children with academic potential make a smooth and secure transition through school and into higher education. 

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