Accessibility statement

Widening Participation

Welcome video

York Law School is committed to equal access for students from all socio-economic backgrounds. 

We currently monitor the educational background of our undergraduate students, and benchmark this against other Russell Group institutions. Significantly more of our students have been educated in state schools than the Russell Group average.

York Law School Widening Participation team

York Law School has a dedicated Widening Participation team that coordinate activities aimed at encouraging and supporting the participation of underrepresented groups in higher education within the School. In 2020/21, the team will be Lucy James and Ailbhe O’Loughlin while Joanna Gilmore is on research leave. You can contact the Widening Participation team by emailing law-widening-participation@york.ac.uk.

Alternative offers for study

The Law School fully supports the University Contextual Offer scheme which aims to provide a fair chance of getting into York for all applicants. Applicants may be eligible for a ‘contextual offer’ if they:

  • have spent time in local authority care
  • have taken part in certain outreach programmes, such as Next Step York or Realising Opportunities
  • live in a UK area with low progression to university.

Further details regarding the scheme (including a Postcode eligibility checker) can be found on the University Contextual Offer page.

Qualifying law applicants receive an alternative offer for entry to study the LLB degree at York, equivalent to:

  • two A level grades below our normal offer; for example, converting an AAA offer to ABB
  • equivalent reductions for other qualifications (a discount considered equivalent to ABB, for example, so not necessarily a two-grade reduction in the other qualification).

Applicants qualifying as care leavers or residents in low progression areas who also complete the York outreach programmes listed above and pass the academic assessment receive a further grade discount.

Further information

  • University of York: Access and Participation Plan 2020/21 to 2024/25
  • The Sutton Trust is a foundation which improves social mobility in the UK through evidence-based programmes, research and policy advocacy. In particular, they have provided evidence that comprehensive school students with one to two grades lower at A level than privately-educated pupils actually perform equivalently at university.
  • Prime is a charity supported by law firms that provides work experience opportunities in law for disadvantaged secondary school students

Post-16 widening participation activities

The University of York offers a range of Widening Participation schemes to 16- to 18-year-olds which aim to encourage fair access and social mobility of students from under-represented groups. Current collaboration schemes and programmes include:

Eligibility for these schemes varies - please see individual schemes for further details. Benefits include:

  • on-campus residential course
  • academic workshops
  • student life sessions
  • mentoring support

In addition to working with students aged 16-18, the University has a number of schemes to enthuse and inspire talented young people from all backgrounds about higher education. The Law School is highly engaged in these programmes. These programmes are coordinated within the Law School by the Widening Participation team. A member of the team sits on the Academic Board that coordinates the University’s access programmes, as the representative for the Faculty of Social Sciences.

WP Champions Project

Our highly successful WP Champions Project seeks to encourage and support applicants from non-traditional backgrounds to apply to Law School.

The project is developed and delivered mainly by current Law students (with financial and other support). Project activities include:

  • working with identified schools/colleges with a view to developing awareness and understanding of the study of Law at degree level, raising aspirations to encourage applications, and encouraging and supporting applicants
  • delivering activities at University WP programmes on campus.

The project is an excellent way for potential applicants to gain support and advice from current YLS students who come from a diverse range of backgrounds. The scheme also provides a valuable opportunity for our current YLS students to gain paid employment and develop their employability skills.

Mature students

We very much value mature students as part of our learning community, and apply a more flexible approach to entry requirements. We assess all applications from mature candidates individually and take all relevant information into account (including prior and any current academic study).

Find more information regarding the University’s support for mature applicants and students.

Bursaries and scholarship support

The University of York offers a number of bursaries to students with low household income. 

The University also offers a number of scholarships and other awards where eligibility may be based upon a range of factors, including students who have had to overcome significant barriers to meet their educational goals.

The Law School also offers its own scholarships and mentoring programmes, which may reopen for the next academic year. These include:

Bridge to the Future Mentoring Scheme

During the 2019/20 academic year, we introduced a new mentoring scheme which is open to Year 2 students who are interested in pursuing a career in law, and who would otherwise lack access to the legal profession.

  • Funding: £100
  • Academic year: 2020/21
  • Application deadline: Friday 16 October 2020, 11.59pm BST
  • Open to: International (including EU) and UK (home) students
  • Number available: Three

Bridge to the Future Law Awards

These awards - worth £2,000 over two years - are open to students who are starting their second year of study, are interested in the public service aspects of law, and have overcome significant barriers in their personal, social or domestic life to achieving their educational goals.

  • Funding: £2,000
  • Academic year: 2020/21
  • Application deadline: Friday 16 October 2020, 11.59pm BST
  • Open to: International (including EU) and UK (home) students
  • Number available: One

In addition to our in-house scholarships and mentoring schemes, YLS participates in a number of external WP schemes that are intended to improve access to the legal profession. These include:

Middle Temple Access to the Bar Awards

The purpose of the Middle Temple Access to the Bar Awards is to encourage able students from disadvantaged or underrepresented backgrounds with the potential to be successful barristers to make a more informed choice about a career at the Bar. Awards provide two funded weeks (£250 per week) of work experience during university summer holidays. This consists of:

  • one week’s work experience in a set of barristers’ chambers
  • one week’s marshalling, ie sitting in court alongside a judge.

Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship Scheme

The aim of the Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship Scheme is to help black and black mixed-race male law students from less privileged backgrounds to overcome disadvantages they may otherwise face, and to increase their representation in large commercial law firms. Benefits include:

  • interview coaching and other development opportunities
  • commercial familiarisation during university holidays provided through work experience
  • an alternative route to interview for a training contract at Freshfields
  • a £3,500 contribution towards course and associated study-related costs
  • mentoring.

YLS is one of a limited number of Law Schools to be invited to participate in these schemes, and we provide support and guidance to our applicants throughout the application process.

Employability initiatives

A large number of external organisations run programmes that aim to support students who face barriers in pursuing legal careers. Chris Wilkinson, York Law School’s employability tutor, circulates details of these schemes to our students in regular newsletters, and runs our Careers and Development Programme. Selected schemes and organisations include:

Hardship funding

Students can apply to the following hardship funds provided by the University if they find themselves in unexpected financial difficulties:

  • University Hardship Fund for UK students
  • International Students Hardship Fund for EU and international students

There is an assessment process, which asks for various pieces of evidence in support of the application.

Grants from the hardship funds do not need to be paid back.