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Five people standing outside Teaching and Learning Centre. Bridget Phillpson is centre, with four university leaders

UK Shadow Secretary of State for Education Bridget Phillipson has praised our work to widen access to university during a visit to campus.

Ms Phillipson, who is the opposition Labour Party’s education spokeswoman, said: “The opportunity to study at the UK’s world-class universities should be open to all, and I am glad Durham University is taking steps to widen access.”

Raising aspirations

We’re working hard to attract students with the potential to thrive and succeed with us, whatever their background. We invest £14 million a year in supporting less advantaged students reach and thrive at university.

A quarter of our UK undergraduates come to us through a scheme to widen access, and we have the highest offer rate to students from areas with the lowest university participation rates of any member of the UK’s Russell Group of research-intensive universities.

Promoting prosperity across our region

During her visit, Ms Phillipson met with our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Karen O’Brien, and leaders from other North East England universities – Newcastle, Northumbria and Sunderland – to discuss how we are working together to promote prosperity and education for as many people as possible.

Britain’s universities are engines of regional growth and opportunity, and that is no different here in the North East.

Bridget Phillipson
UK Shadow Secretary of State for Education
Left to right, head and shoulder pictures of Durham University students Holly Northmore, Sabrina Yu and Scott Wilson.

Durham University students Holly Northmore, Sabrina Yu and Scott Wilson met Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Bridget Phillipson MP. Holly, Sabrina and Scott have benefited from a scholarship to support students from North East England.

A group of people outside Durham University's Teaching and Learning Centre including Bridget Phillipson MP (centre)

During her visit, Bridget Phillipson MP (centre) met our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Karen O’Brien (second right), and leaders from other North East England universities. Also pictured are (left to right)  – Professor Michael Young, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), University of Sunderland, Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellor, Newcastle University, Professor Andy Long, Vice-Chancellor, Northumbria University.

Meet our inspiring students

Ms Phillipson also met Joe Docherty, chair of our University Council; Dan Lonsdale, President of Durham Students’ Union; Jonathan Batty, our Deputy Academic Registrar (Access, Recruitment and Admissions); and three students who have benefited from a scholarship for students from North East England.

Holly Northmore, a third year Combined Honours student from Gateshead, spoke about the support she had received to apply to Durham, and internship opportunities she has enjoyed during her time here.

Sabrina Yu, a first year Economics student from Guisborough, said she had benefitted from the Supported Progression programme for Year 12 students and the Durham Grant Scheme bursary.

Scott Wilson, who lives in Darlington, began a Combined Honours degree after working in the financial sector and completing our Foundation Programme. Scott became a father during his degree and has worked part-time. He said he had enjoyed the range of opinions shared in his seminars.

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