We’ve teamed up with the London Mathematical Society to bring Levelling Up to Queen Mary.
The Levelling Up scheme promotes diversity and inclusion in STEM and is dedicated to making university courses more accessible to students from underrepresented backgrounds.
Our programme Levelling Up: Maths for Black Heritage Students is designed for year 12 A-Level Maths students who identify as Black heritage. Together with The London Mathematical Society and our donor, we identified Black heritage students as a priority group for this scheme as they are currently underrepresented in STEM subjects at Queen Mary and across Russell Group universities in general.
The 16-month programme will consist of regular online tutorials which are designed to supplement the A-Level Maths syllabus. We will also be on hand to offer guidance with university applications and students enrolled on the scheme will have the opportunity to visit Queen Mary and get a feel for a day in the life of a university student.
We’re incredibly proud of the team of Black heritage tutors we have recruited to deliver the online tutorials. They were handpicked for their excellent maths skills, engaging teaching style, and their ability to connect with and inspire the next generation of STEM students. They represent the diversity of our subject with a mix of undergraduate and postgraduate students studying across all areas of mathematics from mathematical physics to finance and accounting to computer science.
One of our tutors, Agape, is in her third year of a joint honours Computer Science and Mathematics degree.
"I wanted to become a tutor to inspire Black heritage students to study Mathematics or any other Maths-based degrees at university. This role is a form of giving back as I was in their position, questioning whether I should study a degree in Maths due to the lack of representation I saw. If it wasn't for the community I had around me at the time, I would have given up a long time ago, so I am passionate about providing that same confidence to the tutees."
We asked Agape if she had any advice for students enrolling on the scheme and she said to “make the most out of the tutoring sessions by asking all the questions you have. This is a great opportunity to discover more about Mathematics beyond A-Levels.”
Queen Mary works hard to ensure that students from underrepresented backgrounds have access to additional support and opportunities when they need it. With initiatives such as Queen Mary Futures and Access Queen Mary, we’ve been able to nurture and support hundreds of young people who need extra support navigating higher education.
In the School of Mathematical Sciences, we are known for our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and we’ve made excellent progress in gender equality, but we acknowledge there is still a lot of work to be done to make our School even more inclusive.
Black students account for less than 4% of Russell Group University students and while Queen Mary is widely considered the most diverse university in the Russell Group, Black students only made up 11% of our total student body in 2021/22 according to HESA data. We know that this doesn’t reflect the ethnic diversity of our local communities, so we need to do more for Black heritage students in London. Levelling Up will allow us to provide them with tailored academic and pastoral support, connecting them with Black heritage tutors who were in their shoes not long ago.
We spoke to Dr Claudia Garetto, the School of Mathematical Science’s EDI lead and she told us: “I believe that the Levelling Up scheme is a great opportunity for students of Black heritage to focus on their A-Level maths preparation and to get the best start in their university experience. It is very important to us that they are tutored and mentored by university students who share common experiences and challenges. I am so impressed by the enthusiasm of the tutors we have recruited and by their desire to give back. This gives me a lot of confidence in the success of this project.”
If you’d like to learn more about the Levelling Up scheme, please visit the outreach section of our website. Applications for 2023-24 will close on Wednesday 25th January 2023.