Free digital resources for students released by Hay Festival

The new project, named Compass, is released to coincide with Hay Levels series 4, a series of curriculum-aligned digital A-level resources

Students across the UK will enjoy free access to Hay Festival’s rich digital archive as part of a new offer for 16-25-year-olds in education – Compass– launched to coincide with the release of Hay Levels series 4.

By signing up to Compass, students will enjoy free Hay Player access, plus tickets to festival events and workshops, created and curated for them. Hay Player, available to the general public for a subscription fee of £10/year, offers festival writers and thinkers on film and audio, from Caitlin Moran and Stephen Fry, to Kazuo Ishiguro and Margaret Atwood.

Supporting the new project, the festival’s fourth series of Hay Levels has launched. An inspiring, free series of educational videos, Hay Levels features festival experts from a range of disciplines offering bite-sized inspiration for A-level students.

Hay Levels is a joint collaboration between Hay Festival and Hereford Sixth Form College, in partnership with the Tata group, giving students open access to some of the most renowned experts in their fields.

Matched to current A-level subject curricula, the latest series includes contributions from mathematicians Marcus du Sautoy and Ursula Martin; lawyer Sarah Nouwen; biologist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore; professor of immunology Daniel Davis; broadcaster Gemma Cairney; Stemettes founder Anne-Marie Imafidon; astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell and space scientist Maggie Aderin Pocock; classicist Emily Wilson; historians David Olusoga and Janina Ramirez; sociologist Rehinde Andrews; economist Linda Yueh; V&A curator Claire Wilcox; geographer Emily Shuckburgh; writers Bidisha, Tishani Doshi and Fiona Sampson; and activist Helen Pankhurst.

Videos will be released fortnightly throughout the school year on the Hay Levels YouTube channel and shared across social media (#HayLevels), supplementing the growing bank of content already available online.

We hope students will sign up in droves and make use of the inspiring content on offer, and we hope teachers make use of them, too.
– Aine Venables, Education Manager, Hay Festival

Aine Venables, Education Manager at Hay Festival, said: “Opening up inspiring opportunities for young people is a core part of our mission here and around the world. Hay Festival Compass and Hay Levels continue that into the digital space, offering free access to some of the world’s greatest teachers and thinkers. We hope students will sign up in droves and make use of the inspiring content on offer, and we hope teachers make use of them, too. And, of course, while these resources have been designed with A-level students in mind, it’s not to say everyone can’t learn something from them.”

Helen Williams, Head of English at Hereford Sixth Form College, said: “I have found the Hay Levels to be a fabulous way of engaging students in a topic and encouraging them to read around the subject. The talks on Shakespeare such as David Crystal on Performance Practice have been particularly useful.”

Andy Clark, Head of Biology at Hereford Sixth Form College, said: “The biology videos are excellent, especially those presented by Steve Jones – his subject knowledge, and humour, enable him to deliver key concepts clearly in a short space of time. His ability to pitch the subject matter at the appropriate level, using language accessible to all A-level students is exceptional. They are perfect to use as a general introduction to a topic.”

Highlights from the first three series of Hay Levels include: Amanda Vickery on Gender History; Peter Singer on Utilitarianism; Sarah Churchwell on Gatsby; Richard Dawkins on Irreducible Complexity; Stephen Fry on Exam Tips; and Angie Hobbs on Platonic Ethics.

Hay Levels and Hay Compass are part of the wider Hay Festival Foundation’s education work, which includes free programming for schools, Beacons Project and Hay Academy.

Hay Festival Winter Weekend takes place 22-25 November 2018 with tickets on sale now at hayfestival.org. Hay Festival 2019 takes place 23 May to 2 June 2019.

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