Young people in Bolton were given a taste of life at one of world's leading universities.

Elsie Linley, from Cambridge University visited The Sixth Form Bolton to inspire students to aim high.

She is the Schools Liaison and Access Officer at St John’s College and met students on the college's B6 Honours programme and RAY pupils.

The B6 Honours Programme is an additional pathway for students whose aspirations are to progress onto highly competitive courses at top universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge and those in the elite Russell Group of universities.

The Honours Programme is designed to equip student with skills in wider academic research, debating and critical thinking.

For the Honours programme, Elsie delivered a session all about supra-curricular engagement ­— the process of building and enhancing what is learned at school by exploring and evaluating a topic of choice.

The students explored issues such as deforestation, the rise of AI, the role of social media, and the moral use of facial recognition.

For the RAY session with local Year 11 pupils, Elsie led an informative subject exploration skills workshop, focusing on critical thinking and using effective questioning.

The Bolton News: Elsie Linley with Honours Programme students

RAY is an innovative after school programme that introduces Year 10 pupils to the fundamental elements of critical thinking they will need for success at GCSE, and beyond.

Pupils apply in Year Nine, and if selected, are invited to attend The Sixth Form Bolton to experience a range of engaging masterclasses over the course of Year 10 and into Year 11.

The Bolton News: B6 staff and RAY students

More than 50 RAY pupils attended the event from a range of local schools included Sharples School, Harper Green School, Westhoughton High School, Atherton High School, St Joseph's RC High School, Mount St Joseph Catholic School, St James’s Church of England High School and Smithills School.

Bradley Forster, a current Year 11 pupils at St Joseph's RC High School in Horwich said about the masterclass:“The session from the University of Cambridge was really challenging; it encouraged us to think for ourselves, discover and explore different levels of questioning, and to listen and respond to other people’s views and opinions. I have really enjoyed being part of the RAY programme and I can’t wait to join the Honours programme at B6 next year.”

Elsie said:“It was a pleasure to deliver these sessions to such engaged cohorts of students. I was very impressed with their confident and thoughtful reflections on each task and topic. Practising these skills in critical thinking and small-group discussion is an excellent way for students to prepare for both applying to, and studying, university courses.”