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Challenge Days are large-scale day events designed to offer a taste of higher education to students in Year 10. The days involve introductory sessions on higher education and Cambridge, lunch in one of the Cambridge Colleges, one or two subject taster lectures and an inter-school debating challenge.

Challenge Days give participants the opportunity to explore subjects that they may not previously have experienced, and offer a chance to meet current undergraduate students.

The days run on selected dates from January to March, between 10.30am and 3.30pm. There are places for approximately 80 students on each event, with a maximum of 10 from any one school or college. Events are free to attend.

2015 Dates

In 2015 Challenge Days will be running on the following dates:

  • Monday 19 January
  • Tuesday 20 January
  • Wednesday 21 January
  • Monday 26 January
  • Monday 2 February
  • Wednesday 11 February
  • Thursday 12 February
  • Tuesday 24 February
  • Wednesday 25 February
  • Thursday 26 February
  • Monday 2nd March
  • Friday 6th March

Eligibility criteria

Applications are open to UK state-maintained schools. Applications must be submitted by a staff member at the individual school – we’re unable to take individual applications for these events.

Schools can apply for a maximum of 10 student places. The Challenge Days are designed for students who are academically at the top of their cohort. This means that we expect all participants to be on course for a minimum of five A/A* grades in their GCSEs.

All groups must be accompanied on the day by a maximum of 2 members of staff (groups cannot be accompanied by parents).

Application process

To apply, schools should fill out the application form below which asks for the following information:

  • the school name and address
  • a list of up to three dates in preference order
  • the name and contact details of the school contact
  • the estimated number of students (up to a maximum of 10) they hope to bring, bearing in mind the academic eligibility criteria listed above

After the application deadline has passed, all Challenge Day applications will be ranked, with priority given as follows:

  • schools with below national average A*-C GCSE rate (including English and Maths) and above national average free school meals eligibility (FSM)
  • schools with below average A*-C GCSE rate but below average FSM
  • schools with above average A*-C GCSE rate but above average FSM

Within these categories, priority will be given to schools with the lowest GCSE A*-C pass rate and highest proportion of students in receipt of free school meals.

Schools will be informed of the result of their application by email approximately one to two weeks after the application closing date. Schools that have been successful in their application will be allocated a date at this stage. No applications will be considered until after the application deadline has passed and, as such, it won’t be possible for us to confirm the allocated date until this stage.

Schools that have been successful in their application will be required to provide the names and dates of birth of their student attendees on a secure online form by a particular date. Any schools not having completed the form by this date will lose the offer of a place.

Contact Challenge Days

Rachel Cox
Widening Participation Project Coordinator
T 01223 330873