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University and City: Growing together

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Supporting young people from all backgrounds through their education journeys

(31 August 2018)

Young people on a Supported Progression summer school

Professor Stuart Corbridge, the Vice-Chancellor, writes on our commitment to supporting young people.

It has been wonderful to see the happy faces of young people collecting their A-level and GCSE results recently.

Here at Durham University we’ve been working hard to process the results of those who have applied to study with us.

But our interaction with young people starts way before that. While the main focus of our teaching is our undergraduates and postgraduates, it is part of our wider purpose to foster passion for learning and to support young people from all backgrounds through their education journeys.

Supporting young people to flourish

For example, every year Durham undergraduates go into local schools to help with science teaching. And we welcome thousands of young people and their families to Palace Green every October half-term for our Celebrate Science festival.

Many of our students are involved in school-based sports projects, just as many staff members serve as governors in local schools. Through the Young Persons’ Project at Van Mildert College, our students are also helping to raise the aspirations of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in Gateshead and Hartlepool.

We’re proud as a University to be the custodian of many precious treasures and artefacts. In addition to welcoming 200,000 visitors a year to our various tourist attractions, we deliver 22,000 hours of teaching for school-aged children focused around our historic collections.

In recent weeks, we’ve welcomed over 600 young people for week-long summer schools aimed at providing a taste of university-style study and the Durham student experience. And over 600 local children have enjoyed our summer holiday camps at Maiden Castle.

£11.5m investment in outreach

These are costly but important commitments for the University. Our 2018/19 Access Agreement with the government represents an £11.5 million investment in outreach-related activities. We’re offering more bursaries and scholarships than ever before and supporting students right through to graduation and beyond.

I’m very proud that Durham now has the highest graduate employment rate of any UK university and that many of our graduates stay in the North East to set up businesses, start families and mentor the next generation.

For those who have just picked up their A-level or GCSE results, I’m sure that will all seem a long way off. But for now: my congratulations to all involved – students, teachers and parents and carers alike. And, if you’re joining us at Durham University this September, we look forward to seeing you then.

This article was originally published in the Durham Times.