February 2020

Children's project set to make real change in schools as Young Researchers Conference kicks off at UCB

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Pupils from schools across the West Midlands and beyond will be researching how to change their own education for the better as part of an event held at University College Birmingham.

Dozens of schoolchildren visited UCB's McIntyre House campus last month for the opening of the fifth annual Young Researchers Conference, ahead of conducting their own research project identifying ways to make positive change in their schools.

Run in partnership with the Colmore Partnership Teaching School Alliance (CPTSA), the project will see children as young as six carrying out their own research over the next few months before presenting their findings at the main conference event at UCB on 11 June.

Around 80 pupils from 11 primary and secondary schools are taking part for 2020, including a school from Spain, who will present their research to the conference via video link.

January’s launch event saw pupils learn more about the meaning of research, methods and ethics as part of a talk by University of Birmingham lecturer Nicola Smith, who will join UCB lecturer Debbie Reel in acting as an assistant for the children's project.

"Being part of this project is fabulous," said Debbie. "It shows that even very young children engaging in a research process are very capable of making real change within their schools."

The day also gave the pupils the chance to experience the university environment at UCB and consider what it might be like to return for future study.

"It is one of the highlights of my year, having children on campus who could potentially come back to UCB," said Debbie.

"The children were in awe of the building, being in a lecture theatre and what it feels like to be in a university.

"We're really looking forward to them now carrying out their research and seeing them present their findings at the conference in June."

University College Birmingham offers a variety of courses for anyone interested in working with children and young people, as well as having close links with partners in the education sector providing a range of placements and other engagement opportunities.

Find out more about our courses at UCB's School of Education, Health and Community here. You can also follow the latest updates from the school on Twitter.

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