Aspirations, skills and knowledge (ASK)

Dr Darren Kelsey, Senior Lecturer

School of Arts and Cultures

Humanities and Social Sciences

Interdisciplinary programme across faculties

What did you do?

A Faculty Futures project team designed an interdisciplinary engagement programme with a local secondary school.

Who is involved?

A range of university staff from different subject areas. Full details in the table below.

A local comprehensive school.

How did you do it?

We designed a programme to provide students with taster sessions from multiple subject areas across the university, to develop independent study skills, and to reflect on aspirations students have for careers and/or further study beyond school. The taster sessions also provided students with information on courses and opportunities available in university education within and beyond Newcastle.


  • 20 students from year 9 in a local comprehensive school.
  • 6 in school afternoon sessions.
  • One hour per session – 10 students in each session.
  • Sessions led by university staff according to the timetable below.
  • Seventh session – full day trip to Newcastle University, campus tour, workshops with MCH staff, Martin L. King screening, presentation for completing course (Boiler House).
2.10.17 What makes a good NHS practitioner? Andrew Clayton
6.11.17 Why does media matter? Darren Kelsey
22.1.18 Study skills for Science. Paul Hubbard
5.3.18 Transition from school to university. Helen Stringer
30.4.18 Study skills and independent study. Aditi Nafde
4.6.18 Phonology and the history of regional accents. Danielle Turton
18th or 25th June 18 Campus visit: workshops, tour and presentation Darren Kelsey


Why did you do it?

This was not a recruitment exercise. Our aim was (is) to become a familiar face in local schools. If students want to study at Newcastle then we welcome them to consider the options we offer. But more importantly, the project team felt we have a civic and educational responsibility to engage with local schools and to become a familiar, friendly face to students who might not consider university as an option available to them.

Furthermore, through our conversations with local schools, we have found that students from certain socio-economic backgrounds in the North-East do not consider Newcastle as an option available to them compared to other institutions in the region. This project was designed to help overcome those perceptions. Upon completing the sessions with staff visiting the school, the students came to the university for a campus tour, series of workshops with staff, a short film screening and a presentation to celebrate their completing of the ASK programme.

Does it work?

Yes. Feedback from the school has been very positive. We have continued to engage with other schools and used aspects from the programme for recent campus visits. The Media, Culture, Heritage (MCH) subject area is currently developing a replication of ASK to deliver sessions from a team of staff working across multiple disciplines.

Contact details

Dr Darren Kelsey, Head of Media, Culture and HeritageDr Darren Kelsey

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