Access scheme opens door to University of St Andrews

Wednesday 22 February 2017

Hundreds of young people from non-privileged backgrounds have won places at the UK’s top universities after taking part in a summer school scheme at the University of St Andrews.

St Andrews was the first Scottish university to stage the Sutton Trust Summer School scheme and will mark its 16th year as a participant this summer.

Participants get a flavour of life as a first-year undergraduate through a week of taster lectures, workshops and social activities, allowing them to gain the knowledge and insight for making high quality applications.

The University of St Andrews has offered summer school places to 1400 teenagers since 2002, with 220 eventually taking up an offer of a full-time place at university in Fife. Many more who took part in St Andrews summer schools have gone on to apply successfully to other leading UK universities.

Across the UK, there are 12 institutions offering Sutton Trust Summer Schools to 2500 state school pupils – many of whom will be the first in their family to experience higher education.

Over the past two decades thousands have attended residential courses in more than 40 subjects from economics, to medicine, history and English. Those taking part have gone on to become politicians, doctors, lawyers, financiers, journalists and teachers, among other professions.

Applications for the 2017 Summer Schools are open to fifth year state school students until Thursday 2 March and can be made online.

All applicants must have achieved at least five A or B passes at National 5 and come from a low or middle-income background.

Myles Allen, third year Biology student at St Andrews, who is from the Isle of Harris, said: “I attended the Sutton Trust Summer School at St Andrews and was thrilled as it gave me the opportunity to spend a week at St Andrews gaining an insight into university life.

“I had a fantastic week and was able to meet existing students and meet other likeminded people. It gave me the confidence to know that I would be able to deal with what would be a major life change, and to know I would ‘fit in’ at university.”

Mike Johnson, Deputy Director of Admissions at St Andrews, said: “The Sutton Trust Summer School at St Andrews is one of a large number of activities we undertake to make higher education more accessible. The summer schools are aimed at young people who often do not see the University of St Andrews as an option.

“As a university, we’ve benefitted hugely from this influx of bright kids with huge potential, and even if they decide St Andrews isn’t for them, we know that many go on to apply successfully to other leading institutions.”

Sir Peter Lampl, Founder and Chairman of the Sutton Trust and Chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation, said: “Over the past twenty years, our Summer Schools have provided life-changing experiences for thousands of young people by giving them the confidence to apply to top universities. Many of them have gone on to high-flying careers in law, medicine, finance and the media.

“Together with our 12 partner universities, I’m delighted that we are able to offer places to 2500 young people this year.”

Applications for this year’s summer schools are open until 2 March.

Photo caption

Some of the 1400 young people to have benefitted from Sutton Trust Summer Schools at St Andrews


The Sutton Trust is a foundation set up in 1997 dedicated to improving social mobility through education. It has published over 180 research studies and funded and evaluated programmes that have helped hundreds of thousands of young people of all ages, from early years through to access to the professions.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office, contactable on 01334 467310 or [email protected].

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