The Bartlett


Bartlett undergraduates mentor A-Level students from London schools

23 March 2012

UCL Bartlett School of Architecture undergraduates are mentoring A-Level students from London schools as part of the Accelerate programme.

GCSE and A Level students model making at the Summer Architecture Academy, a previous design workshop organised by Open-City

The programme aims to raise the aspirations of pupils to go to university, encourage them to consider architecture as a degree and a profession and to prepare them for the university experience.

The 50 pupils participating in the programme, devised and developed by Open-City, are all forecast excellent A-Level results but either have no family history of university education or are on free school meals.

David Sibbald, Head of Design and Technology at Fulham Cross School in Hammersmith, where two students will be taking part in the programme that starts in Easter, explains the potential impact of the initiative:

“For the students involved, often with huge creative potential but without an established support network or contacts in the city it allows them to begin their lives on a more level playing field.  The Bartlett’s direct involvement in an initiative based not only at secondary level but focused on those in hard to reach, inner city schools is both brave and laudable.”

Each pupil is matched with an architecture practice and a student mentor.  Around 20 Bartlett architecture undergraduates are involved along with others from London schools of architecture.  

During the programme, due to start during the Easter holidays, pupils will participate in skills and portfolio development workshops, designed with the help of Frosso Piminides, Year 1 Director at the Bartlett School of Architecture, as well as peer-to-peer tutoring and work experience.

Prof Alan Penn, Dean of the Bartlett explains: “This is a truly revolutionary approach to a longstanding problem facing the social composition of the architectural profession.  At the Bartlett, we believe that an excellent education relies on diversity and are working hard to ensure that we have a socially diverse cohort of students.”

The Accelerate programme, run by the Open-City architecture education charity in partnership with the Bartlett and Make Architects, has proved so popular that the original target of 30 pupils has been surpassed, with over 50 pupils enrolled to date.  Organisers are currently running a new recruitment drive for mentoring practices to meet the increased demand.

If you are an architecture practice in London and would like to apply to be a mentor on this scheme please contact Fiona Macdonald, Education Manager at Open-City.

To find out more about the programme visit the Open-City website.