Russell Group universities in school awards scheme

15 March 2012

Russell Group universities are to take part in an awards scheme for high achieving school pupils.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb announced a national award scheme to recognise the top achievers in every secondary school in England - and those showing great potential.

The award, open to all maintained secondary schools, will see teachers selecting a Year 9 pupil as their Dux. They will be rewarded with a visit to one of the current 20 Russell Group universities.

Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said:

“Russell Group universities already pump millions into a range of schemes to attract young people from non-traditional backgrounds. Many of our universities run successful summer schools and work with local schools - including those where there is little history of pupils progressing to research-intensive universities.

“Too few pupils from some state schools get the right grades in the right subjects to apply to leading universities but there is also evidence that even with good grades state school students are much less likely to apply to top universities than those at equivalent independent schools.  So we hope this scheme will help raise the aspirations not only of Dux winners but all other bright teenagers at their schools and make sure they are thinking about their options at a younger age.

“We are delighted to be offering bright prospective students the opportunity to come and meet our students and lecturers and have taster sessions. All of our universities look forward to welcoming the winners and their teachers and helping to build long term working relationships so that all young people - whatever their background or school type - know that a Russell Group university could be within their grasp.

“We’re ready to offer all top achievers - whether or not they win the Dux - the chance of a place: we need their teachers or advisors to persuade them to apply. Wherever you’re from, with the right grades, attitude and potential, you have a good chance of getting into a Russell Group university. So if there are pupils out there who don’t manage to win but are still interested we would urge them to find out about general open days and other activities for school pupils’ on university websites.”

Notes to editors

  1. The 2012 Dux Awards Scheme aims to encourage the recognition and reward of top performing pupils in Year 9 (14 year olds).  It is intended to encourage higher aspirations by inviting one high-performing pupil from every secondary school to visit a Russell Group University, accompanied by a teacher or another member of staff. 
  2. Further details of the Dux Award can be found at and Registration will then open immediately after the Easter break on Monday 16th April.  
  3. The Russell Group’s current 20 members are the universities of Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford, Sheffield, Southampton and Warwick, Imperial College London, King’s College London, the London School of Economics, Queen’s University Belfast, and University College London. The Russell Group is expanding to include the universities of Durham, Exeter, Queen Mary and York.
  4. Last year the Russell Group published Informed Choices which gives guidance to teachers and students about how A level subject choice can affect university options. In addition its members are also very clear about preferred subjects.
  5. In 2015-16 the £28.8million which Russell Group Universities will spend on outreach measures will be used to support numerous summer schools, open days, special entry routes and access programmes to give students from lower socio-economic groups the best possible chance of winning a place.


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