Supporting local schools
Russell Group universities are working with schools to help them improve over time, providing academic support by creating challenging curriculum materials and devising projects to enthuse and engage students.
Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) has established close partnerships with schools serving educationally disadvantaged communities in the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Havering.
In particular, the university has taken on the role of the lead trust partner at St Paul’s Way Trust School, in Tower Hamlets, which has now noticeably improved its GCSE results.
Senior members of QMUL staff chair the governing body and Trust Board as part of a broad, long-term programme of academic and governance support being provided by the university.
QMUL has worked with its Trust partners to develop an innovative and exciting curriculum for the school.Its biomedical science programme, for example, examines how to tackle diabetes, a subject with particular relevance to the school as the condition is a serious public health problem in the local community. Pupils studying the programme can talk to Queen Mary’s research scientists and use the university’s world-class labs.
The University of Liverpool is working with North Liverpool Academy - one of three academies with which the university has strategic links - and its feeder primary schools. The university’s Educational Opportunities team provides learning materials for pupils aged 11 to 16, and supports a wide range of bespoke activities including master classes at the university.
The school has very high levels (97.9%) of students from areas of multiple deprivation, but applications from the academy to the university have risen as a result of this hands-on engagement, with 38 students applying in 2014. Consequently the number of students from the academy taking up a place at the University of Liverpool has more than doubled.
The University of Birmingham runs Forward Thinkingwhich is a programme for groups of local schools. Each year the schools involved select five Year 8 Gifted and Talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds to take part in a programme of activity through to Year 11. They are encouraged to think about their future education and career path in order to make informed decisions about progression to university, and to help motivate them to succeed at school and achieve. This programme has a particular focus on progression to selective institutions such as the University of Birmingham and other Russell Group universities, and giving participants an idea of what academic study and student life might be like.