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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

We are currently finalising the 2016 dates. These and details of how to apply will be available on the website at the end of November.

Eligibility criteria and Application Process

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).

Once we have collected all the applications, 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.

Contact Challenge Days

Rachel Cox
Widening Participation Project Coordinator
T 01223 330873