Improving chances for all our children

dmu-localMore than 60 schools across Leicester already have active links with De Montfort University’s public engagement programme – but it is hoped to increase that figure to include ALL 100 primary and secondary schools in the city in the coming years. 

Student volunteers last year went out from DMU to work in more than 40 city schools and a further 20 sent their pupils on to the campus for activities. 

DMU Local carried out 185 activities throughout the last year which involved 16,164 participants in a wide range of projects including Paired Reading, Mathletics, Playdough, Excel, education, the regional LEGO league tournament as well as a whole series of campus visits. 

More than 400 DMU students contributed thousands of hours volunteering and Associate Director of Public Engagement Mark Charlton said: “So much good work is done by our volunteers in those 60 schools, but we can - and need - to go further. 

“We want to eventually expand our projects so that we have a relationship with all 100 schools, primary and secondary, across Leicester and help to improve education for all pupils using our resources of volunteers and financial support.” 

Watch: De Montfort University student Paul Weedon talks about his volunteering work with DMU Local to start and run a drama club with pupils at the Beaumont Leys School, in Leicester.

Work has already started on a major project to improve the chances of A-level students in city schools getting into university. 

DMUaspire is a pioneering project, developed with local schools and colleges, to inspire a new generation of undergraduates from hard-to-reach groups and boost their exam results. The project has led to a raft of new university applications from students in city areas of deprivation. 

The project was developed after concerns were raised by the City Mayor’s Office that too many A-level students from the city’s estates were just missing out on the grades needed for higher education. 

In response, the university created an accredited module which gave pupils a UCAS-equivalent tariff on completion, to boost their application for courses, should their final results fall short. 

In the pilot project, 58 students completed the week-long programme, submitting all three assessments with a 100% pass rate. DMU has now had applications from 31 of them to start a course in the new academic year. 

In primary and secondary schools across Leicester, student volunteers have worked with several thousand city schoolchildren. 

There are Mathletics sessions to help talented maths pupils in year six further improve their skills and the Paired Reading scheme has seen student volunteers go into city schools and boost the reading age among pupils. 

More than 130 children, aged from 9 to 16, also took part in the third LEGO regional tournament on the DMU campus. Pupils had to design and create LEGO robots and then code and program their inventions controlling them via a tablet or laptop.

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