07.07.18 | Case Studies

Art and Design Saturday Club, Faculty Of Arts, University Of Wolverhampton

We want every young person, in our region, to be in a position to make an informed and ambitious decision about higher education and their future.

Students from less advantaged backgrounds are less likely to enter higher education that those from more affluent backgrounds, despite attaining good GCSE grades.

Barriers to progressing into higher education include a lack of information, advice and guidance, and access to higher education institutions.

Funded by the government, the Aspire to HE programme works with schools and colleges in the Black Country, Telford and Wrekin to provide students with information and opportunities that are designed to overcome some of the barriers young people face in progressing into higher education.

The Aspire to HE programme offers schools the opportunity for their students to take part in a diverse range of activities including, revision sessions, mentoring programmes, campus day and residential visits, subject specific tasters courses to widen access to higher education institutions.

The Art and Design Saturday Club, part of Aspire to HE programme, offered pupils the unique opportunity to study art, on a Saturday, at their local university, free of charge.

The course was designed and delivered by the Faculty of Art, University of Wolverhampton, in partnership with the Saturday Club Trust and funded by Aspire to HE. As well as learning about and producing a range of art and design subjects, students received travel costs and materials.

The aim of the club was to widen participation in the arts; broaden students’ horizons about the art industry and fire their artistic imaginations to build the foundation of a future art portfolio.

‘We believe that every young person should have the opportunity to attend their local art school, on a Saturday, and experience what it would be like to study art after leaving school.’
The Saturday Club Trust


For students, aged 13 -17 years old;

25 weeks of activity, at Faculty of Arts, University of Wolverhampton including, masterclasses, competitions and exhibitions;

a programme designed for students to explore a range of subjects, taught by academic professionals and industry leaders, including fine art, graphic design, illustration, product design, interior design, fashion, textiles, print making, photography, glass and ceramics;

visits to local and national museums, and art galleries; Tate Modern and Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Somerset House; and information about perusing a career in the arts: student life, costs, course entry requirements.


50 club members, aged 13-17 from the most disadvantaged areas of the Black Country, Telford and Wrekin;

98% of club members that reported never visiting an art museum before can now say they have done so;

student portfolios including, dark photography printing, heat dye scarves, ceramic tiles, glass paper weights, business cards, paintings and drawings, sculptures and print making;

the experience of visiting London and Wolverhampton for the first time for some of our club members;

partnership working and ongoing collaboration with the Saturday Club Trust, past, present and future arts students, and parents;

local and national exhibitions of students work at Somerset House, London and the University of Wolverhampton; and a visit from Lady Sorrell OBE

Evaluation of Aspire to HE programmes is ongoing and final reports cannot be published until the end of each academic year. Please keep up to date with developments are on website: www.aspiretohe.ac.uk

Stay connected with us on Twitter @AspiretoHE

Hearing from students, who are at the very heart of what we do, illustrates just how important it is to ensure all our young people have access to higher education, regardless of what part of the region they live in.
Over the last few years, access to the arts for young people has become limited due to changes in the KS4 curriculum and the introduction of the EBAC. Nowadays, young people have less opportunity to study and experience the arts.

Colleagues from both Aspire to HE and the Faculty of Art, University of Wolverhampton, believe there is a strong case to engage more young people in art based extra-curricular activities. This is particularly true for those from less advantaged backgrounds who may have limited access to art based activities.

On a visit to the Faculty of Art, University of Wolverhampton, Lady Sorrell OBE said:

“It was wonderful to see the Faculty of Arts, University of Wolverhampton, and Aspire to HE working together on this programme to give so many local young people the opportunity to explore the many disciplines in art and design. The work created by our Saturday Club members was expressive and of a high standard.

“Speaking to staff and students, I get a real sense of the passion driving this project. I look forward to seeing more Club members’ work and watching their progress – the staff and students they have worked with have inspired them.”


Image Title: Art and Design Saturday Club, Faculty Of Arts, University Of Wolverhampton

‘We are thrilled to be working with the University of Wolverhampton on the National Saturday Club programme. With their expert guidance, local young people have been introduced to a range of new skills and gained insights into further study and career options. We’re looking forward to seeing them at the National Saturday Club’s Summer Show at Somerset House in June 2018 and celebrating the club members’ impressive achievements this year.’

Gemma Scott, Programme Manager,
Saturday Club Trust