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Colleges and wider student experience

Student news

Government Minister heralds our outreach work

(8 October 2018)

Government minister, the Rt. Hon Damian Hinds MP, visited the University to hear about its efforts to support disadvantaged, talented, young people from North East England to go to university and flourish there.

Outreach activities 

During his visit the Education Secretary heard details of initiatives – such as campus-based summer schools, partnerships with local schools and academies, and the use of contextual offers – designed to attract students from under-represented backgrounds.

Mr Hinds met with members of the Learning & Engagement Team, in charge of delivering Durham’s 4Schools educational programme, which uses the University’s collections as teaching resources.

The Team has worked with nearly all of the schools in County Durham – helping to promote access to the University and to raise aspirations for local children from a variety of backgrounds.

Helping disadvantaged students prosper 

The Education Secretary met with Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart Corbridge, and senior members of staff, to learn more about the University’s Access and Participation Plan 2019-20, which sets out plans to help disadvantaged pupils access, prosper in, and progress from higher education.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education), Professor Alan Houston, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Secretary of State and to show him our continued efforts to significantly improve access for students who are traditionally under-represented here.

“We’re committed to developing our diverse community, and we aim to attract the best and brightest students with the merit and potential to succeed here, regardless of their background.

Plans for first Maths School in North East England

The University used the occasion of the visit to formally announce its intention to develop North East England’s first Maths School – providing specialist teaching that enables mathematically-gifted youngsters to excel.

Maths Schools like that proposed by the University usually undertake significant work in the community, including ‘masterclasses’ and one-to-one tuition for post-16 pupils across many schools.

Trained postgraduate tutors and undergraduate mentors will work closely with pupils, who will be taught in small groups – only 60 each year – from a special University-designed curriculum, delivered by school teachers.

There are only two other Maths Schools in the country – the King’s College London and the Exeter Mathematics Schools – both of which were opened in 2014, but, currently, no such institution exists in the North East.

While the project is still in early stages of development, the intention is for the Durham Maths School to focus teaching on mathematics and further mathematics, and related subjects, and to potentially accept students from three nearby counties.

A partnership project

The University’s plans for a Maths School are being developed in conjunction with the Department for EducationDurham Sixth Form Centre, and Durham County Council. For more information please contact dms@durham.ac.uk.