New scheme seeks to help young students realise STEM potential

Sixth Form students from across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are being offered a stepping stone to a STEM degree under a new scheme.

Experts from the University of Leicester will tutor and mentor Year 12 students from traditionally disadvantaged backgrounds as part of Levelling Up – AccessLeicester: Maths.

The project, being run in collaboration with the London Mathematical Society (LMS) and Durham University, aims to support those with a keen interest in Maths take the next step up from A-level to a STEM programme at a research-intensive university.

Participants in the scheme will receive mentoring from current Maths students at Leicester, while also being provided a free graphics tablet to help with their studies. The scheme initially has space for 30 students from across the region.

Tutors will help the students with both A-level mathematics and extension material, and also offer first-hand advice on university life, and how to apply.

Tutoring sessions will be online, beginning in Term 2 of Year 12 (in England) and continuing with regular sessions through Year 13 until shortly before the students’ examinations. The scheme is partly funded through a generous donation from Dr Tony Hill.

Dr Frank Neumann, Director of Admissions and Outreach for the School of Mathematics and Actuarial Science at the University of Leicester, and Member of the LMS Council said:

“We are very excited to be part of this programme, which will really make a difference in the lives of many young people both in our region and across the UK who would love to pursue their passion for mathematics and other STEM subjects beyond school and into university.

“We are also very grateful to Dr Tony Hill, whose generous donation has helped launch this project to see young people realise their potential.”

Dr Tony Hill was formerly a teacher before, in the 1970s, pursuing a career in the software industry. He went on to become Chief Executive Officer of Micro Focus, leading the company to successful floating on the London Stock Exchange in 2005.

Since retiring, he has devoted much of his time to philanthropic projects, focusing on science outreach and widening participation in higher education.

Dr Julia Goedecke, who is leading the curriculum development of the programme for the London Mathematics Society and is also overseeing the academic part of the programme in Leicester, added:

“We hope that we can make a real difference to these students, and that in future years we will be able to reach more and more students with this scheme as it grows.”

You can find out more about Levelling Up – AccessLeicester: Maths on the University of Leicester website.

The scheme follows in the footsteps of the University’s AccessLeicester: Medicine programme, which provides similar support to would-be health professionals beginning their A-level studies.