300 bright state school students from non-privileged backgrounds in Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire will benefit from a new Sutton Trust programme to help them access the most selective science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) university courses, it was announced today.

Supported by the Kusuma Trust UK and implemented by the Universities of York and Nottingham, Pathways to STEM aims to boost the aspirations and academic performance of 300 academically able low-income students in years 10 – 13 so they have the skills they need to access the most selective STEM degrees, and the wide range of careers they open up.

Previous research by the Sutton Trust identified a strong demand for STEM graduates but found there was a significant under-representation of those from low socio-economic backgrounds at entry and higher levels. Pathways to STEM will work to widen the pipeline from which leading universities can recruit.

The programme will include a range of sessions for students, parents and teachers, including tailored education and careers advice; academic classes in STEM subjects; sessions to develop non-academic skills; a residential summer school; a work experience placement in a relevant STEM setting; assignment of a mentor; and a graduation event for students and parents.

Support from the Kusuma Trust UK has also enabled expansion of the Trust’s flagship programme to support highly able non-privileged students in early secondary school, Sutton Scholars. 600 Nottinghamshire pupils in years 7-9 in the Kusuma Sutton Scholars programme will benefit from a series of school visits, project days, campus visits and academic support provided by the University of Nottingham’s community learning hubs. Students will also receive advice on their GCSE options and further education choices.

Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust and of the Education Endowment Foundation, said today:

“We are pleased to be working with the Kusuma Trust UK on our Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) projects, and are very grateful for their financial support which will allow us to bring our life changing programmes to more disadvantaged children and young people.

“We’re particularly pleased to be piloting the extension of our Pathways model to pre-GCSE years, which will enable us to benefit younger people.”

Dr. Balwant Singh, Chief Executive of The Kusuma Trust UK said today:

“We are very pleased to collaborate with the Sutton Trust and support bright young people who will benefit from the Kusuma Sutton Scholars and Pathways to STEM programmes.

“We aim to increase access to education and improve education outcomes for all young people, particularly those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds that have the potential to go on to top universities. This includes young people from former coalfield communities.”

The impact of both the Kusuma Sutton Scholars and Pathways to STEM programmes will be independently evaluated by Durham University’s Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring.



  1. The Sutton Trust is a foundation set up in 1997, dedicated to improving social mobility through education. It has published over 160 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.
  2. The Kusuma Trust UK is an independent philanthropic organisation with a mission to facilitate and increase access to education and other life opportunities for children and young people, with a focus on the most economically disadvantaged.

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