Schoolchildren have marked the completion of university-led studies with a special ‘graduation’.

More than 100 primary pupils from seven schools attended the event at University of Southampton last week.

Their achievement comes after they successfully completed university-organised literacy and numeracy programmes.

Eleven-year-old Olivia Dabrowska was among those who attended the ceremony.

The year 6 Mansbridge Primary pupil said: “It feels nice to graduate today, even though I am not old enough for a real graduation.

“My favourite part of the sessions was learning fractions.”

Alison Von Landau, deputy headteacher at Mansbridge Primary School, said: “Through the programme, the children have become a lot more engaged in their reading and are really enjoying books.

“You can see their engagement shining through, which is fabulous.”

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Student ambassadors from the university have worked with 123 children over 10 weeks, visiting their schools to deliver small sessions to support their maths and literacy.

They have also worked with pupils in years 7 to 10 at Cantell School and year 7 pupils at St George Catholic College in Swaythling – a total of 115 secondary school children.

Student ambassador Isobel Buck, 21, said: “I’ve always had a passion for helping young people, and it was really enjoyable to take part in this programme and see them grow in confidence.

“It was great experience because I would like to be a teacher.”

The aim of the programmes is to support additional education for children who need it most, to help reduce the attainment gap that has widened since the impact of the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Chantelle Veneroso, widening participation coordinator at the university, said: “Our focus with primary schools is to support the children’s transition to secondary school, and their lifelong learning beyond that.

“It’s been wonderful to see the children’s confidence grow in their maths and literacy, and fantastic to be able to offer them that extra bit of support.”

The participating primary schools were Hope Community School, Kanes Hill Primary School, Mansbridge Primary School, Mason Moor Primary School, Moorlands Primary School, St Denys Primary School, and St Mary’s CE Primary School.