University of Leicester eBulletin

University Pilots Masterclasses to Encourage Widening Participation

March 2003
No 93

As part of the Aim Higher National Initiative the University of Leicester is hosting masterclasses during March and April 2003, for Leicester school students.

Subjects covered include Mathematics and Computer Science, Physics and Astronomy, Archaeology and Chemistry, and around 200 school students will be sampling lectures such as Extraterrestrial Life, Hands on Spectroscopy, Introduction to Archaeology, and What is Maths For?. 

Schools involved include English Martyrs Catholic School, St Paul’s Catholic School, Rushey Mead School and Moat Community College

Herabans Kaur, the University’s Widening Participation Officer, believes the masterclasses will raise awareness and raise the aspirations of young people within the context of their own school curriculum. 

Many of the young people involved will have no family or community experience of higher education, and attending the masterclasses, which will be delivered on campus, will go some way to breaking down misconceptions associated with higher education.  

The next masterclass, Archaeology, on March 27 will take place in the Archaeology department, where the young people will examine and analyse the exciting and fascinating bone specimens on display, drawing and recording many of their findings. 

Debbie Miles-Williams from the Archaeology department said: “Imagine the excitement of recording an unusual or rare find; the handling of objects last used by a person over 2000 years ago and, most importantly, being part of a team that makes us ask questions about ourselves and our place in the modern world, by looking at the evidence of past cultures.” 

In this the pilot year for masterclasses it is envisaged that more departments across the University will take part and that more young people will be given the opportunity to enhance their learning and to embrace University as a real option.

NOTE TO EDITORS:  Photo opportunity on Thursday, March 27, 2003 at 10am in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History, Attenborough Building, University of Leicester.  For more information contact Herabans Kaur, University of Leicester Widening Participation Officer, tel 0116 252 5349, email

·       The Government has funded City schools/colleges to promote excellence amongst gifted and talented students, so Excellence Challenge is part of the Excellence in Cities initiative.

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Last updated: March 2003
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