Levelling Up: STEM


…is supporting A-level students from under-represented backgrounds in Maths, Physics and Chemistry. The first cohort of students starts in March 2021.

We believe that Levelling Up: STEM will succeed primarily because of its high quality. In particular, the core materials and the tutoring programmes are being designed and led by a team of the UK’s foremost experts in this area of activity.

Moreover, we note that Levelling Up: STEM is:

  • Well-resourced and builds on existing best educational practice;
  • A sustained enrichment, with clear and measurable goals;
  • Founded on the use of new technology, including Zoom (or similar) and graphics tablets.


Increasing diversity among STEM students would expand the pool of graduate talent, enhance our national problem-solving capability and contribute to long-term UK economic growth.

Gender, ethnicity and poverty are all factors which may result in under-representation in STEM. Various local initiatives have demonstrated that sustained high-quality programmes can have a significant positive impact. However, looked at nationally, current STEM outreach is fragmented, ad hoc and inefficient.


In simple terms, we are proposing an eighteen-month academic and pastoral intervention that starts midway through Year 12 and continues until the end of Year 13. We will actively target students from under-represented groups. The academic focus will be on Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry and the programme will be delivered through small groups over Zoom (or similar).

Students will have the opportunity to take part in a variety of online subject specific tutorials, mentoring and guest lectures. The overall goal is inclusion, as we seek to boost their self-confidence, raise their aspirations and accelerate their academic attainment. Putting it another way, we aim to help make sure they are ready to apply for a place at university, and then to succeed once they are there.


Our programme is led, and co-ordinated, by a collaboration between the London Mathematical Society (LMS) and the Institute of Physics (IOP), with support from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). This central hub ensures the quality of all academic material.

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In our model, the delivery of the programme is through a network of universities spread geographically across the UK. Crucially, in this context, each participating university will focus on students from its region. This will amplify the effect of their existing local widening participation activities.

Evidence based

Our approach is evidence based. In our pilot programme we are seeking to understand the successes and challenges faced by students from different backgrounds. We will be evaluating data nationally by subject, for multiple subject programmes within a single university and for the Levelling Up: STEM programme as a whole.

Case study

Durham University has taken a bold and ambitious approach to Levelling Up: STEM. Right from the start, their Science Faculty has adopted an integrated approach across Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. Moreover, they are committed to use this programme as a central feeder into their Supported Progression initiative. In practice, this means that any student from an under-represented group that performs well in the Year 12 component of Levelling Up: STEM, will be made a guaranteed contextual offer by Durham, ahead of the usual UCAS process.

Contact us

Levelling Up: STEM is organised and coordinated by a collaboration between the London Mathematical Society (LMS), the Institute of Physics (IOP) and Durham University. They are responsible for the programmes in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry respectively.

For more information, please contact any one of the following: