Shine aims to support pupils from schools across Yorkshire, the Humber and North East to reach their full potential. 

Shine is open to pupils in Year 6 to 11 who have been identified by their school as being high achieving and are from a group that is currently under-represented at university. It aims to inspire, motivate and encourage pupils to achieve academic success and raise their aspirations towards higher education.

Given the ongoing COVID-19 situation, we’ve postponed all on-campus Access and Outreach activities and events until further notice. In the meantime we are working to provide lots of interactive online activities, events and resources for pupils. If you’d like to find out more, please contact

"Being on the Shine programme has had a positive influence on my daughter. She thoroughly enjoyed completing the passport and took great pride in it. She has benefited from being part of a group and really enjoyed the visit to the University."

Parent of year 7 pupil


We run a wide range of activities for pupils, all of which are fully funded by the University.

In year 6 pupils are introduced to the idea of university through a range of interactive games and activities. The day concludes with a graduation ceremony to celebrate everything they have achieved so far and to help inspire them to work hard in the next stage of their academic life.

In year 7 pupils increase their knowledge and understanding of university through a range of activities. Working in groups with a student ambassador and pupils from other schools, young people learn about different types of universities and how higher education is different from school.

In Year 8 pupils learn more about what it is like to study at university level, including different teaching styles. Pupils take part in a taster lecture and deliver their own presentation about an academic department.

In Year 9 there is a strong focus on student finance and budgeting, which helps pupils to understand that finance shouldn’t be a barrier to accessing higher education. Pupils also participate in an online career progression activity to make them aware of the wide range of options available to them.

In Year 10 pupils take part in an exciting 3 day/2 night residential here at the University of York. Pupils get involved in numerous activities, including academic taster workshops, student life sessions, sporting activities, a topical lecture and evening social events. Pupils stay in secure university accommodation, fully supervised by university staff, which gives them a realistic insight into life as a student. The residential has a significant impact on the young people as it gives them an in-depth experience of university life, and helps them to realise that university is an achievable goal.

In Year 11 pupils return to campus for a conference, which aims to help with their progression to sixth form or college. Pupils rotate around multiple workshops and benefit from a revision session delivered by an external speaker, who specialises in motivating young people. The conference is also a celebration of their time on Shine and all participants receive a certificate commending their commitment to the programme. During the conference, and throughout their time on Shine, pupils are informed about programmes they can participate in after Shine, at sixth form or college.

After Shine, pupils will also have the opportunity to join one of the University’s post-16 programmes which aim to prepare pupils for application and entry to higher education.

"I was very proud when my son got selected for Shine in Year 7 and that he has continued on the programme through to Year 11. It has given him a target to aim for and encouraged him to work hard to get to University. He made loads of new friends on the residential and has had good support from the Shine team."

Parent of a year 11 pupil

“Shine is a really worthwhile experience to help shape the future of young people. The programme has helped my son get a better view of what he wants to do at university and the Student Ambassadors have been an invaluable source of information and great role models. I also feel more comfortable and know lots more about university than I did before.”

Parent of a year 9 pupil

How to get involved

We currently work with 21 secondary schools and a number of primary schools.

Shine is currently at full capacity. However, if you are interested in your school joining the programme, please email to register an interest.

Postcode checker

You can check the eligibility of your pupils by using our postcode checker (at the bottom of the Next Step York page).