The University of Bristol’s Students in Schools programme works in partnership with Bristol secondary schools to encourage young people to aim high and achieve their potential. Students from the university work with young people from backgrounds which are currently under-represented in higher education, supporting their attainment and providing positive role models for learning.

Students from the university learn from and work alongside school staff from October to Easter each year, providing encouragement for learners and valuable help for classroom teachers.

They often work in the classroom much like a learning support assistant; and can answer questions, explain subject material and support learners in the ways which work best for them. Students usually work in their degree subject so are able to share up-to-date subject knowledge informed by research, and talk about their subject with passion and enthusiasm, making it relevant and exciting for young people. The focus is on exploring young people’s aspirations and encouraging them to achieve and make the most of the opportunities available to them.

As well as the work in schools, students from UoB also have the opportunity to work as post-16 tutors, running small-group study sessions in their degree subject with local colleges. This can include subject enrichment activities, support with homework, or focused revision.

The University provides training for students, conducts all the checks required for working with young people, as well as providing line management and support. Schools nominate a named coordinator as a contact for the University and for students when they are working in school; this person becomes the point of contact for all involved

There are benefits for students and schools alike. Schools benefit from having an extra pair of hands in the classroom, or someone who can spend focused 1:1 time working with young people wherever it is needed most, be that with motivation, study skills or revision.

‘The scheme has allowed us to deploy an additional resource to support a group of disadvantaged Year 11 girls. This work has included class support, assistance with assessments and focused conversations around higher education and careers.”
Deputy Head at a Students in Schools partner school

For university students, being able to help and encourage understanding in a subject they are passionate about can be very rewarding.

“I once covered a topic with a girl that she had not understood in her Biology class; afterwards she was not only able to answer questions on it but I later overheard her explaining it perfectly to another student. This showed me I was really making a difference, not only to the students I was working with but also to their peers.”
Student working with the Students in Schools programme

The Students in Schools programme timeline:

  • April to June – students are recruited and DBS checks carried out
  • June – schools and colleges confirm their requests
  • July to September – students allocated to schools & colleges
  • October – training takes place & students begin work in schools

If you’d like to find out more or get involved with the Students in Schools programme, please contact or visit