This summer more than 500 teenagers from under-represented and disadvantaged backgrounds will have stayed at the University of Cambridge to learn more about what it’s like to study at one of its 31 Colleges. They’ll come from all corners of the UK, keen to find ways of achieving their dream of becoming an undergraduate at one of the world’s leading academic institutions.

Together we have assisted thousands of young people gain access to the country's leading Universities

Prof Graham Virgo, Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the University’s association with the Sutton Trust, a charitable foundation which was set up by the philanthropist Sir Peter Lampl to promote equality in educational opportunity for all young people, regardless of their background.

Since 1998 more than 6,000 young people have attended Sutton Trust summer schools offered by the University.

More than 500 have gone on to study in Cambridge, with many more feeling inspired to apply to other Russell Group Universities.

For the first time, this year, the summer schools are taking place over 6 days - from Monday to Saturday.

When Jenny O’Sullivan came to Cambridge from Huddersfield for her first summer school in 2014 she found the experience extremely helpful in planning her degree.

This paved the way for her to read German and Spanish at King’s College, Cambridge. She’ll be volunteering as a student ambassador this summer, for the second time, offering advice to young people who she hopes will follow in her footsteps.

“Going on both of the summer schools as a student is honestly one of my happiest memories.

"I had such a good time and it made me feel like getting into Cambridge, or Oxford, was possible.

"So getting the chance to relive that and provide the experience for others from similar backgrounds is something I knew from the start I wanted to be part of.”

The Sutton Trust aims to raise aspirations among pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds by providing universities with a framework to pass on practical advice on how to secure a place on a course.

Summer schools are a key component of the diverse range of work being undertaken at Cambridge to widen participation.

This has led to 64% of its new undergraduates coming from state schools, the highest rate on record.

Sutton Trust attendees on a tour of one of the Cambridge Colleges

Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, Professor Graham Virgo, says: “The Collegiate University is committed to the principle that no UK student should be deterred from applying to study at Cambridge for financial reasons.

"We’re working hard to ensure that children from disadvantaged backgrounds, who have the ability to do well, receive the support and encouragement they need in order to secure a place on one of our courses.

"We are proud of our association with the Sutton Trust which has an outstanding record in helping to raise aspirations.

"Together we have assisted thousands of young people gain access to the country’s leading Universities, and we look forward to working with the Trust in future years.”

The chairman of the Sutton Trust, Sir Peter Lampl, says: “Over the past 20 years, our summer schools at Cambridge have given thousands of young people the opportunity to change their life.

"Many of our alumni have gone on to study at the best universities in the country, and secure jobs in the most competitive fields.

"We are thrilled to be in partnership with Cambridge. 

"Cambridge offers unbelievable quality which we want our students to experience. 

"We look forward to building on this partnership in the years to come.”

In addition to the Sutton Trust, the University of Cambridge hosts other residential courses for schools, including those for Target Oxbridge, as well as various Open Days.


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