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Durham University

Supported Progression

Supported Progression

SP Digital - Launching on Wednesday 15 April 2020

This year's Supported Progression programme will now take place online. We will be referring to this new programme as SP Digital. SP Digital is only available to students who were accepted onto the Supported Progression programme for this year. We are unable to accept any new applications at this stage.

As of 17th March 2020, the Access and Engagement team will be following the latest advice by working remotely from home. The University will also be closed for an extended period of six days as of 9 April 2020. The Access and Engagement team will be working again from Wednesday 15 April 2020.

If you have any questions or need to get in touch please email:

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this challenging time.

What is Supported Progression and why should I apply?

Supported Progression (SP) is a programme for Year 12 students in the North East. Some students who have the potential to study with us will benefit from extra help and support. We aim to give these students the chance to show their potential in a different way. By passing the assessed summer school project, you can work toward a guaranteed, conditional offer from us as well as developing your academic skills.

As an SP student you will have the opportunity to come to events and activities during Year 12 and 13. You’ll learn about Durham and all we have to offer you. You’ll also get to stay with us for an authentic student experience. Our students need a few key personal skills. We’ll help you work on some of them, such as presentation skills, budgeting, time-management, and so on!

Applying to universities can be a little daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! We’ll help you to find your way around UCAS and student finance, as well as give you support with your personal statement. We hope that SP will help you build the knowledge, confidence, and resilience to join us at Durham.

Click on the tabs below to find out more:

Benefits of SP

There are many reasons to take part in SP and of course everyone is different, so SP benefits students in different ways depending on what's most important for them. We've pulled together a list of the key reasons we think you might like to apply:

Guaranteed conditional offer - Students complete an assessed academic project during the residential summer school. Those who pass this will be recognised by Durham as having achieved a qualification equivalent to at least two grades at A level (or equivalent) that can contribute toward entry at the University for that subject if they apply the following year (i.e. in Year 13). For example, if the typical offer for your subject is AAA, you could get a guaranteed offer of ABB by successfully completing SP!

Authentic student experience - All events and activities take place here at Durham. You will have the opportunity to visit several times over the course of Year 12 and 13; sometimes just for an evening and other times you will be invited to stay over on the residential events (one night in spring and four nights in summer). This combination of activities and particularly the immersive experience of the summer school will give you a real flavour of life as a Durham student.

Skills – You will have the opportunity to develop a variety of skills from teamwork and leadership to presentation and communication skills, as well as student favourites such as budgeting and time-management. Often you will develop these skills simply by taking part in the programme but we also run a number of dedicated talks and workshops to help focus your thinking.

Knowledge – Yes. You will learn a lot by taking part. Naturally you will learn academic content and what it's like to study it at Durham, but we also provide ample opportunities for you to learn about UCAS, personal statements, and student finance. By the time you complete SP you will be fully prepared to apply to universities in Year 13.

Meet like-minded people - This may seem like a strange one. It is actually quite hard to explain, too. Essentially, SP students have a lot of choice over what activities they take part in, starting with the subject choice. You will spend time with people who share your enthusiasm for your subject and meet others through the social programme who've signed up to the same things as you. As cheesy as it sounds, it's relatively common for SP students who met on the programme to still be in touch with each other when they graduate!

Meet current Durham students - Our friendly team of 'mentors' are all current Durham students. They're the ones who'll look after you at the events, whether by running activities, offering practical support, or just being there! Time and time again the mentors receive the highest praise from SP students, consistently ranking above everything else in terms of positive experience.

How does it work?

Step 1.

Apply using the online application form – the deadline is 31 January 2020! The SP team will make decisions and get back to you by 14 February 2020. We'll let you know either way, so if you haven't heard after that date then please get in touch as something will have gone wrong.

Step 2.

Attend a number of events throughout Year 12 and complete the assessed project (summer school in July 2020).

Step 3.

Academic staff will mark the assessment and tell us whether or not you've passed. We then write to you by email with your assessment outcome. If you pass, you will receive confirmation of your guaranteed offer in writing from us, by email first and by post shortly afterward. We hope to let everybody know by the end of August 2020.

Step 4.

You apply to universities through UCAS in Year 13 as normal. If you apply to Durham for your SP subject, we will process your SP offer if you have one. If you didn't quite pass the SP assessment then don't worry - this won't be held against you and your application will be considered in the usual way.

Step 5.

If you are made an offer from Durham you then have a little while to decide whether or not to accept the offer in UCAS. Otherwise, you just continue as normal with your A levels (or equivalent) and work hard to get the grades!

Step 6.

Results day – 13 August 2020! If you get the grades (i.e. meet the conditions of your offer) then congratulations! You have a place at Durham!

Application form is live!

The application form for the 2020 Supported Progression programme is available now! The deadline for applications is 31 January 2020 - so there is still plenty of time!

Before you apply, please make sure you prepare by:

  • reading all the information on the website - including familiarising yourself with the event dates and subject specific requirements (these are important!).
  • speak to the person in school who you want to verify your application - you should make sure they agree to provide this and that they consent to you providing us with their name and email address.

If you have any questions you are welcome to get in touch with us. You can find our contact details on the next tab 'Get in touch'.

Contact the SP Team

To get in touch with the Supported Progression Team please contact:


Tel: 0191 334 9126

Access and Engagement

Durham University
The Palatine Centre
Stockton Road
Please note that if you wish to make a complaint to or about any decision or action related to Supported Progression, you should use the procedures set out in the documents below. If you cannot see the documents under "Resources" below or for any other reason you are unable to access the procedure, please contact us using the details above and we will make arrangement for you to receive this procedure through another medium.


Contact us

0191 3349126

Access and Engagement, The Palatine Centre, Durham University, Stockton Road, Durham DH1 3LE

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