New award to raise university aspirations of all pupils

Cambridge UniversitySchools Minister Nick Gibb today announced a new national award scheme to recognise the top achievers in every secondary school in England – and those showing great potential.

He said that the “Dux” – Latin for leader or champion – would help raise the aspirations of all pupils, including those from less affluent backgrounds, to go to university, including our top higher education institutions. A similar scheme, also called Dux, already exists in schools in Scotland.

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 20 current Russell Group universities.

The Russell Group represents leading UK universities which are committed to maintaining high-quality research, outstanding teaching and education, and excellent links with business and the public sector.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said:

This is an opportunity for schools to celebrate success, and to develop and reward high performing pupils.

Teachers may decide to choose pupils who might not be at the top of the class but who have outstanding potential to become high achievers. These could include children whose families may traditionally not have gone to higher education. They may wrongly assume that university is something ‘other people’ do.

Visiting any of these great educational institutions, and seeing first-hand the possibilities that exist there, will open pupils’ eyes to an exciting world in which they can not only take part, but thrive.

Nick Gibb added:

Our world-class universities are for all those with good qualifications and real promise – not just the few. They already do a great deal to increase access to higher education and run extensive outreach programmes offering a wide range of opportunities for school pupils.

This is about ensuring that schools are playing their part in promoting excellence and in supporting pupils, including from disadvantaged backgrounds, to aim for prestigious universities.

I am delighted that so many leading universities are committed to the programme.

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