Millionaire gives pupils university opportunity
PUBLISHED: 10:50 03 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:48 11 May 2010
ENTREPRENEUR Ros Edwards is playing a key role in giving school pupils the opportunity to see university life. The multi-millionaire - who with her husband Steve has donated £30 million to the Cambridge College New Hall - has been working as a voluntary
ENTREPRENEUR Ros Edwards is playing a key role in giving school pupils the opportunity to see university life.
The multi-millionaire - who with her husband Steve has donated £30 million to the Cambridge College New Hall - has been working as a voluntary teaching assistant at Greneway School in Royston.
While talking with head teacher Sue Kennedy she spoke about the need to encourage State school pupils to attend university.
"We were discussing ideas initially about older children," said Mrs Kennedy.
"But then we got on to the idea of why not start young and take some of our children from Greneway."
This led to 22 pupils from Year 8 spending a day at New Hall and later at Fitzwilliam College.
"Parents have come back to me and talked about how enthusiastic the pupils have been about the visit," said Mrs Kennedy.
She continued that a number of pupils had not considered applying for a university place at Cambridge.
"Now they realise that they are good enough and can do it," said Mrs Kennedy. "The visit certainly got some of them thinking about the future."
During the day the pupils had the opportunity to see all aspects of university life.
"This is something we want to continue on an annual basis, but also attempt to develop opportunities in Royston for young people who are going to apply to Cambridge," said Mrs Kennedy.
She said it was hoped that the idea would develop into a way of "keeping young talent in this country".
Ros Edwards became a teaching assistant at Greneway School after visiting the Royston Volunteer Bureau.
"She came to the school to help with the reading in Year 5.
"She was just a willing person who wanted to give something back to the community," said Mrs Kennedy.
Ros Edwards was a student at New Hall where she read natural science in the 1980s.
With her husband, they created the Cambridge-based software company Geneva Technology which was sold to the US company Convergys Corporation for about £350 million in 2001.
On making the donation to New Hall, Ros said: "We need to fund our universities so they can compete with richly endowed ones in the United States.