Press release

Record breaking demand for Access courses 

Published on 29 June 2020

Uptake of the University of Dundee’s Access Summer Schools has rocketed this year by over 80%, with over 360 degree applicants taking part in the intensive courses to help them prepare for entry to the University.

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Uptake of the University of Dundee’s Access Summer Schools has rocketed this year by over 80%, with over 360 degree applicants taking part in the intensive courses to help them prepare for entry to the University.

The courses have been moved fully online for the first time to ensure that despite lockdown, as many students as possible benefit. This year offers were made to all contextually eligible students, giving more the opportunity to participate in the six-and-a-half week programme.  

The Access Summer Schools help students whose academic performance is hindered by circumstance prepare for entry to degree courses across all ten of the University’s Schools, with uptake towards Nursing, Art and Design and Medicine growing most rapidly. 

Dr John Blicharski, now in his twenty-sixth year of leading the course, said, “Despite the changes to teaching and learning, we have a record number of students engaging in the courses and we continue to offer the highest quality learning experience of its kind. 

“The courses are now in their fourth week and we are incredibly encouraged by the work and enthusiasm of students participating, especially in the current environment. We look forward to seeing what the students will achieve upon completion." 

Since launching in 1993, the Access Summer Schools have helped nearly 3,000 students toward higher education and the programmes have been cited nationally as an example of best practice. 

The initiative would usually see students brought on-campus but due to the current coronavirus situation the courses have been moved fully online for the first time.  

“The commitment needed to bring over one hundred staff and so many students together online for intensive degree preparation has been both humbling and challenging,” continued Dr Blicharski. “With many secondary schools working fully online during lockdown the transition for this group has been a little easier to manage.  

“There has been a real buzz around the sessions with Student Mentors, as the class of 2020 make new friends for the new semester.  

“Being able to make such positive contribution, all whilst working and studying from home, captures the spirit of what Access to Higher Education is all about.” 


Jessica Rorke

Media Relations Officer

+44 (0)1382 388878