Students from Stoke get a taste of university life
(29 August 2003)
Students from Stoke Sixth Form College and St Thomas More College received a taster of university life with a four-day stay at Durham University recently.
The year 12 students attended taster sessions in Physics, Law and Philosophy and received information and advice on applying for university, financial support available and on life as a student. The visit formed part of Durham University’s widening participation programme which aims to raise aspirations of able students from neighbourhoods with low rates of participation in higher education who might not feel confident about applying to university. The University also hopes to establish a firm link between Stoke as an Excellence in Cities area and one of Durham’s most popular colleges, Collingwood.
The participants had the opportunity to gain a ‘real’ student experience during their stay at Durham’s Collingwood College. They sampled both the academic and the social side of university life with a schedule of lectures and seminars and evening activities including a quiz and BBQ. They also met Dr Steve Rayner, Senior Tutor at Collingwood College and Tutor in the Physics Department, who has pioneered Durham’s link with Stoke. He is a life-long Stoke City fan and hopes one day to have enough Stoke fans in Durham to warrant a weekly mini-bus to the Britannia Stadium!
Lee Worden, Senior Admissions Adviser at Durham University said: “We are committed to recruiting an increasing number of talented people regardless of their background. There are still perceptions that the top universities are socially elitist. During visits like this one we aim to dispel the perception some people still have that ‘Durham is not for them’. We try to motivate the students into believing that they could be the first generation in their family to benefit from a university education. We have worked extensively in the North East and are happy to be making links with other areas that may benefit.”
The University’s long-standing widening participation programme includes visits to state schools, activity days in the University for pupils, and residential summer schools for sixth formers. The aim is to generate more applications - which in turn lead to a higher proportion of admissions.
Notes to Editors
- Durham University has over 11,000 full-time, 1,500 part-time students and about 150 visiting students who read for a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. The number of students from low participation neighbourhoods represents around 10% of the undergraduate total.
- Last year, 400 year 10 students from across Stoke attended a conference on higher education at the Britannia Stadium where they were able to visit taster seminars as well as speak to students at University who came from Stoke. The event included Keele, Staffordshire, Manchester Metropolitan and Durham Universities.
- “Excellence in Cities” is a targeted programme by the Department of Education and Skills to provide additional resources to address the needs of core urban areas.
Dionne Hamil, Public Relations, 0191 334 6078
Dr Steve Rayner, Physics Department/Collingwood College, 0191 334 5012