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Durham University News



Opportunity for North East students to sample life at Durham University

(10 March 2003)

The University of Durham is running a four day residential master class in July and a series of follow-up sessions in the next academic year to attract bright students from the north-east with no family tradition of higher education.

The project is being sponsored by two educational philanthropists working together for the first time; Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust, and Peter Ogden, Chairman of the Ogden Trust. Both Trusts aim to help students from non-privileged backgrounds to achieve their full potential.

Peter Ogden is a graduate of Durham University who gained his BSc and PhD degrees in physics at the end of the 1960s. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Civil Law by the University last year for his contribution in raising the quality of scientific research and education.

The residential master classes will be free for up to 200 lower sixth form students. Priority will be given to students from backgrounds where neither parent went to university.

Participants will be linked to an undergraduate student during the residential master classes who will act as their mentor throughout their final year at school. During that year the students will be expected to return to the university to attend a series of follow-up sessions designed to encourage and stretch the most able sixth form students with learning geared towards the student’s A’Level curriculum.

The university’s A’Level Masterclass Study Support programme covers 13 subject strands – Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Economics, English Literature, French, Geography, History, Mathematics, Medicine, Physics, Politics and Religious Studies.

The programme starts with a four day residential master class running from 5pm on Wednesday July 9th to 11.30am on Saturday July 12th. The first evening will be spent on registration and introductions. The next two days will be taken up in lectures incorporating study time and a social programme that includes quizzes, live music and a disco. The final morning will be devoted to Higher Education applications such as the completion of the UCAS form.

The programme is being organised by the university’s Schools Liaison and Student Recruitment office. Lorraine Jolley, Masterclass Co-ordinator for the University said: "The residential master class builds on last year’s successful pilot which involved students spending a day in an academic department. Applications have now been distributed to Excellence Challenge Co-ordinators in North East regional schools and we are expecting an excellent response”.

Mike Kirkbright, Excellence Challenge Co-ordinator for Redcar & Cleveland College whose students participated in last year’s master class commented:” First and foremost, the experiences were enjoyable and appear to have given our students a purpose and focus to their second year A2 studies. Mixing with other students also gave them confidence and an appreciation of their own worth and potential. I think that the help they received, has enabled them to cope with the more challenging elements of the A2 syllabus. The masterclasses appeared to confirm their next career move and was a useful "bridge" for them to cross from further to higher education. This year's programme, which has a residential and social element will, I think, be an even better experience, giving students a first hand insight into university life”.

The deadline for registration is 11 April. Once applications are completed they can be sent directly to Lorraine Jolley by the applicant or can be returned via the school co-ordinator.

For more information, schools and students should contact Lorraine Jolley, Masterclass Co-ordinator, University of Durham, The University Office, Old Elvet, Durham DH1 3HP. Tel: 0191 334 6059 or E-mail:
Further information contact:
Jan Cawood, Public Relations Officer, University of Durham, on 01642-335318 Tim Devlin, Press Officer, The Sutton Trust, on 01580-893176

Notes to Editors
  1. In a region with one of the lowest take-up rates in higher education in the UK, the University of Durham’s widening participation team have been working hard to encourage the brightest and best students to apply and join the University regardless of their background.
  2. The Schools Liaison Office are also preparing two other events which will run this summer. They include:-

    Higher Education Summer School
    An exciting week long residential experience for up to 130 student Year 11 students will run from 20-25 July which provides participants with an insight into all aspects of University life.

    National Academy for Gifted & Talented Youth
    In August 2003 the University will host a pilot summer school for up to 180 able students aged 11-16.

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