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Insight Explore

Applications for Insight Explore in 2022 are now closed. To be informed once applications open for Year 9 students in 2023, please complete this form.  


Insight Explore works with students who attend selected schools in Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and West Norfolk. Applicants must attend one of the participating schools listed below. If you are a school interested in taking part in the Insight programme see Insight for Schools for more information.

Insight Explore is an academic programme for students in Years 9-11. The programme aims to develop students’ academic skills, to support them in their school work. Through a series of engaging workshops students will develop study skills that will help them with their GCSEs and beyond.

The programme is also designed to help young people explore future possibilities, at university and beyond, and to support them to reach their goals. They will have the opportunity to explore academic subjects that are not taught at school in addition to finding out about different career possibilities. Students will receive timely advice and guidance to support in their decision making with regards to A-Level options and will be introduced to the university admissions process to help students prepare, if this is something they choose to move on to. Throughout the programme students will have the opportunity to meet and talk to academics and student ambassadors studying at university.

As part of the programme, participants will come to Cambridge several times each year to attend a combination of compulsory and optional events which are designed to help students to develop skills and their understanding of university life and the future options that are available to them. Some events may also take place online. These events will take place either at the weekend or during the school holidays. The programme will not interfere with school work.

Selection criteria

The University of Cambridge is committed to widening participation to higher education. As part of this work, we would like to work with and support students who may have experienced either educational disadvantage or belong to a group that is statistically less likely to progress to higher education. First priority on this programme will therefore be given to applicants according to the following criteria (in order of importance):

  • Students who are in care or care-experienced
  • Students who have been eligible for free school meals in the last six years
  • Students who belong to an under-represented ethnic group:
    • Black African or Black Caribbean
    • Pakistani or Bangladeshi
    • Roma, Gypsy or Traveller
  • Students who have experienced disruption in their education such as:
    • Medical/health issues (including mental health), particularly those that have resulted in long or extended periods of absence (over eight weeks) from school in the last six years
    • Bereavement of a close family member (eg parent/carer) in the last six years
    • Being a young carer or becoming a parent
    • Being an asylum seeker or refugee
    • Becoming estranged from close family members (eg parents/carers)
    • Moving schools more than once in the last six years
    • Other disruption (to be specified)
  • Students who are resident in areas with relatively low participation in higher education (using POLAR4) or in areas with less advantaged socio-economic characteristics (using IMD).

In order to apply to the Insight Explore programme, students should be on track to achieve five 9-5 grades at GCSE and attend one of the schools listed below. Applications will be verified by a teacher once they have been submitted.

Participating Schools:

  • Downham Market Academy
  • Ely College
  • Jack Hunt School
  • Ken Stimpson Community School
  • King Edward VII Academy
  • Marshlands High School
  • North Cambridge Academy
  • Queen Katharine Academy
  • Sir Harry Smith Community College
  • Smithdon High School
  • Springwood High School
  • St Clement’s High School
  • St John Fisher Roman Catholic School
  • Thomas Clarkson Academy