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Here at the School of Government and International Affairs, we are passionate about engaging with our community and actively seeking to play a role in furthering local causes. We understand that social mobility is historically low at present and feel that as a department with expertise that directly relates to this problem that we should play a role in trying to affect positive change. As part of this, we spend a great deal of time working on outreach programmes to support and engage with local school children. We regularly engage with both primary and secondary school-aged children, seeking to act as role models, promote interest in politics and civic engagement and also show them the benefits of higher education. We do this through a variety of ways:

1. Visits to schools

We regularly have staff go out to schools to engage with pupils and to talk about political issues, deliver lectures and answer questions that children have about politics. We see this engagement as helping children, but also to assist teachers in thinking about how to talk about political issues which at times can be difficult to engage with. If you are a teacher and would be interested in speaking to us about visits, please do get in touch.

2. School visits to the department

In addition to our outreach events that take place, we also frequently have school visits to the department to introduce them to university life. We give them brief exercises related to a political concept or contemporary issue but also show them the world class facilities that we have here at Durham and talk to them a little bit about what it is like to attend university beyond the academic side of it. We understand that these types of visits and giving students a real clear understanding of university life more broadly can be an important factor in encouraging applications from disadvantaged groups.

3. Politics into schools

Finally, we also offer a module at level three that involves students going out to work with children in local schools. In the first term, we provide our students with a basic introduction to teaching, get them advanced DBS checks to ensure their suitability to go into schools and then place them with one of a number of local schools that we work with. This has proved incredibly popular both with our students and with the schools that they have worked with. Pupils have learnt about issues relating to gender inequality, the importance of voting, what it means to live in a democracy and how they can participate beyond elections as citizens.