LEAP (Loughborough’s Education Advancement Programme) is an exciting new initiative that aims to increase the participation in Higher Education amongst some of the most disadvantaged sixth form students in the Midlands and East London.

LEAP is a collaborative effort, delivered in partnership by colleagues from the School and College Liaison (SCL) Team, Future Space Team (London) and the Doctoral College and provides an opportunity for PhD students to share their research and gain teaching experience whilst supporting younger students to develop key study skills.

The initiative will be delivered as part of a wider project (LUDUS) and will play a key role in supporting the University to meet its Access and Participation Plan (APP) targets.

Target audience

LEAP will be offered to target students from disadvantaged backgrounds in both the Midlands and London. These students will be recruited by colleagues from the SCL Team and have been selected as they have the academic potential to progress to Higher Education but face additional obstacles in achieving this. Participating students will be aged 16-18 and will have a range of different academic interests.


LEAP offers you a chance to gain some valuable paid teaching and work experience! You will have the opportunity to develop teaching materials, skills and lesson plans, providing excellent examples of varied experience for your CV. Throughout the duration of the project you will have a chance to collaborate with colleagues from a number of different departments within the University and develop your own skills/knowledge of new areas. Where relevant it will also provide an opportunity for you to share your own academic interests and discuss your particular area of research.

As LEAP is aimed at supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds you will also receive the satisfaction of supporting others to develop their skill set and realise their academic potential.

Initiative format

LEAP will take place during the summer term and will be delivered over the course of 10 - 12 weeks. During this time, the emphasis will be on supporting participants to develop key study skills that will prepare them for Higher Education. The focus will not necessarily be on expanding subject knowledge, although we recognise that this is still a likely and positive outcome.

As LEAP deliverers we are asking PhD students to develop a lesson plan (consisting of 6 one-hour sessions) that introduces students to a topic of your choosing and provides opportunities for them to develop study skills. Whilst the choice of topic is open we would strongly encourage you to focus on something that is widely accessible, doesn’t assume too much prior knowledge (this can be developed during the 6 weeks) and has relevance to an audience of 16-18 year olds, for example, you could choose Sustainability. Each of the sessions should be interactive and engaging and build on the learning from the previous lesson. You will have flexibility to determine how you achieve this and may wish to utilise worksheets, group exercises and quizzes. It is intended that the delivery of these lessons will take place within schools/colleges, however, please be prepared to deliver sessions via MS Teams should COVID restrictions still be in place.

At the end of the six weeks the participating students will then be asked to complete a mini project based on the topic you have covered and evidencing an aspect of it that they have chosen to research further. For instance, for Sustainability we may have one student opting to write an essay on the consequences of using fossil fuels whilst another student from the same group may choose to create a short film reviewing the environmental impact of “fast fashion”. Further guidance on the format of final submissions, including what is expected from the participating students, will be provided at a later date. Once submitted these final projects will then be “marked” by yourselves – we will not be awarding a grade but will provide feedback on the skills that they have developed (research, referencing, structure etc).


  • Support will be provided for each stage of the project (planning, delivery and marking) from the School and College Liaison (SCL) Team.
  • Full training will be provided to help you to successfully deliver all elements of the project. The SCL Team will also arrange for you to undertake a DBS check (you will not need to pay for this)
  • The SCL Team will work with target schools/colleges in the Midlands and East London to identify suitable participants for LEAP. Each PhD student will be assigned a cohort of five students to work with. (If you have capacity and are willing you can work with two cohorts).
  • PhD students will be matched with a school/college that is close to their home address to ease with travel arrangements. Travel expenses can be reimbursed.
  • The SCL Team will support with the development of your lesson plan and ensure all the required skills content is covered. We encourage you to consider creating worksheets to aid with teaching, the SCL Team will support with designing and printing these for you.
  • The SCL Team will provide guidance on the format of the final projects and a guide for “marking them”.

Selection criteria

  • This project is open to PhD students based on both the Loughborough and London campus.
  • You should have completed at least 6 months of your PhD and must be available to work during the delivery period outlined below.
  • You must have the permission of your PhD supervisor to take part.
  • You must be willing to commit to at supporting at least one LEAP cohort to complete all aspects of project. If you have capacity, it is possible for you to work with more than one cohort if you wish.
  • Interested students should complete and return the expression of interest form (see bottom of page) by 14th February.
  • When assessing applications, the project team will be looking for a range of interesting and engaging topics (further guidance can be found on the expression of interest form). It is advisable to consider how you can make a research topic relevant and accessible to students aged 16-18 who have a variety of academic interests.
  • Students whose submission is successful will need to attend mandatory training and be willing to undergo a DBS check.

Payment, training and support

Payment, training and support

LEAP is viewed as a collaborative project; we will ensure that you feel supported through all aspects of the programme. Each PhD student will be assigned a contact from either the SCL or Future Space Team who can help them with the development of their lesson plan, arrangements with their allocated school and marking of final projects.

A full programme of training will be provided for all taking part in the project. This will be mandatory and will include:

-          Introduction to LEAP, further guidance on lesson plans, developing materials, and the final project

-          Safeguarding

-          Classroom management

-          Essential teaching skills (if you have already completed this module there is no need to repeat this course)

LEAP deliverers will be paid £12 per hour, we would anticipate most will earn c.£500 for their involvement, payment will be flexible and we recognise that there may be certain instances where we need to reimburse additional hours. This will be broken down as follows:

  • Mandatory training: 5 hours = £60
  • Up to 10 hours to prep lesson plans, make any amends and prepare any additional materials ahead of each session = £120
  • 6 weeks of delivery sessions (each lasting for around 45 mins – 1 hour) and with two hours per week travel time factored in = £216
  • Up to 10 hours of marking and feedback time = £120

In addition, deliverers can claim travel expenses for travelling to and from their allocated school/college. The University will cover any costs associated with producing teaching materials and the cost of the DBS check.

Next steps - dates




Expressions of interest welcomed

11th January – 14th February

Successful students notified

w/c 22nd February

Mandatory training completed

1st March – 30th April

Lesson plans drafted and approved

1st March – 30th April

Delivery of 6 lessons

3rd May – 11th June

Participating students create their final project

14th June – 27th June

Final projects “marked” and feedback sent to students

28th June – 16th July

Please note the delivery dates in bold above when you must be free to work with your assigned cohort (exact days and times can be negotiated). Dates for training and lesson plan development can be flexible to suit.

Additional information

If you have additional questions about the scheme please contact Kirsty Wilkinson k.l.wilkinson@lboro.ac.uk