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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Mr Steve Leech, MSc | PGCETLHE | SFHEA

Research Student in the School of Education

(email at


Steve is Head of the Foundation Programme at Durham University. He is an Anthropologist and educator and has been teaching in HE since 2002. Steve entered higher education as an adult via the Durham University Foundation Programme. He went on to complete a BSc in Human Sciences before becoming a researcher for the Durham University Parent-Infant Sleep Lab where he worked as part of an international team exploring infant health and parental care. His MSc thesis explored synchronicity in parent and infant sleep and applied an anthropological paradigm to understanding human night-time care-giving behaviour. Steve has lectured in Anthropology, specifically in the field of Human Evolution and cultural diversity, and for the Medical Programme raising awareness of human diversity amongst the next generation of medical Doctors.

Since 2005 Steve has worked for Durham University’s Foundation Programme, a dedicated academic unit, now part of Durham Centre for Academic Development (DCAD), with a remit to widen participation and to support Fair Access to Durham University. His main role has been to develop and deliver pathways into Higher Education for mature, non-traditional and International learners. He has also been responsible for the design and implementation of a wide range of academic programmes and modules that prepare students for successful transition to undergraduate study at Durham. He has previously led a team of staff in the unique and complex process of UK, EU and International marketing, recruitment and admissions for the Foundation Centre. He provides expertise in the fields of Fair Access and Social Mobility, developing departmental strategy for the engagement of under-represented groups within Higher Education.

Steve is also engaged in the education sector more widely, as a primary contributor in the professionalisation of the Foundation Year sector within the UK through his leading role within the Foundation Year Network, which represents practitioners in Foundation Year delivery and as a Chair of Governors for a local Academy, and as an Executive Director of a local Multi-Academy Trust.

Research Projects

Department of Anthropology

Selected Publications

Chapter in book

  • Leech, S & Marshall, C (2016). Understanding Foundation Year Provision. In Widening Participation, Higher Education and Non-traditional Students: Supporting Transitions through Foundation Programmes. Marshall, C, Nolan, S & Newton, D Palgrave Macmillan.

Conference Paper

  • Leech, S & Dunn, R (2019), Foundation Skills: An Innovative Approach to Multi-Disciplinary Foundation Year Teaching, UALL Annual Conference. UEA, England.
  • Leech, S (2017), Gateway to Medicine: Lessons for Widening Participation, Learning and Teaching Network. Durham University, England.
  • Leech, S (2017), Working toward an Admissions Toolkit to support non-traditional entry to HE, Learning and Teaching Network. Durham University, England.
  • Leech, S (2016), Modelling Foundation Year Provision in the UK, Foundation Year Network Annual Conference (FYNAC). University of Southampton, England.
  • Nolan, S, Bruce, M & Leech, S (2013), Foundation Centre: Enhancing Learning from Day One, Foundation Year Network Annual Conference (FYNAC). Durham University, England.
  • Leech, S (2005), Three in the bed and the little one said “please don’t roll over” Sleep position and synchrony in triadic infant bed sharing, University of Notre Dame, USA.
  • Leech, S (2005), Toward an understanding of triadic bed sharing. Foundation for Sudden Infant Death, Foundation for Sudden Infant Death (FSID). London, UK.


  • Leech, S (2019), Augar and Foundation Years: Love or Hate, FYN and OfS Training Workshop. University of Chester, England.

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