male teacher with female students in school uniforms

History Social Inclusion Program

Partnering with schools to increase diverse participation
The program works with a number of partner schools across New South Wales to foster educational aspirations in disadvantaged students.

Hosted by the Disciplines of History, and Classics and Ancient History, the History Social Inclusion Program works to address the underrepresentation of students from low socio-economic, regional/rural and diverse backgrounds at the University of Sydney, and in history courses especially.

Ms Mona Baddah, History Teacher, and Arielle and Amy, Year 11 students from Birrong Girls High School, taking a photo with Gwen Dabaja, Program Mentor.

The program initiates and strengthens connections between partner schools and the University and is structured in such a way as to be of service to our partner schools, responding to the needs of both students and their teachers.

By familiarising high school students with the University, the program aims to foster the aspirations of students from disadvantaged communities to acquaint them with university life and foster the aspirations within these communities to pursue and excel in tertiary studies – while supporting their learning at high school.

The program currently works with high school students from Birrong, Bomaderry, Canley Vale, Cecil Hills, Corowa, Gloucester, Granville, Hastings Secondary, Mount Druitt and Liverpool.

As a school community and wider Corowa community, it is really appreciated when institutions and individuals are willing to give a hand to regional students. The Year 12 mentoring program has opened their eyes and, as their teacher, that is the most important thing for me.
Marty Douglas, Head Teacher English / History, Corowa High School

Program initiatives

Please note: this program is currently on hold until further notice.

Piloted in 2011, these visits are usually structured around a short learning module consisting of 1-2 sessions. Sessions may involve mini-lectures from university staff and visits to university museum collections. The session includes campus tours where you can meet with current postgraduate, honours and/or undergraduate students provide campus tours.

Previous examples include the Medieval Sydney history project with Granville Boys, Cecil Hills High School, Kogarah High School and Malek Fahd Islamic School, and the Migrant Sydney history project (or “Who do you think you are? Program) with Chifley College.

The program also worked with University Museums to support Project Based Learning with Year 7 students from Granville Boys High School, where students created virtual museums, presenting what they had learned about curatorial practices to their peers, teachers and parents. Students who give the best presentations receive prizes from the History discipline.

Please note: this program is currently on hold until further notice.

In this program, our postgraduate research students visit low SES partner schools to mentor students in creating historical projects over five sessions. Students from partner schools also visit the University to learn research and library skills, and to present their projects to their peers, faculty and postgraduate students. Students who give the best presentations receive prizes from the  History discipline.

We have been partnering with Granville Boys High School and Miller Technology High School since 2012.

This initiative is similar to the year 11 program, where university students guide HSC Extension students in the research and writing of their history projects. Students who submit the best essays receive prizes from the History discipline. We have worked with Chifley College and Cecil Hills High School since 2016, and in 2023, we relaunched this initiative to include Canley Vale, Birrong Girls, and Corowa High Schools.

Initiated in 2016, current history students are nominated by staff for the best essay on the topic of social inclusion.

We sponsor a number of essay prizes for year 11 and HSC history students at partner schools, and participates in end-of-year prize ceremonies for those high achieving students and their peers, parents, and teachers.

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, we offer undergraduate equity scholarships to study history at the University of Sydney.

Established in 2015, this Scholarship provides assistance to enrolling and current undergraduate students who are majoring in history.

Current students can apply for up to one year of funding, while recent school leavers who enrol in a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Advanced Studies majoring in history can receive three to four years of funding.

For more information, please visit Undergraduate Equity Scholarships in History page.

Our current program is focused on Corowa High School, but the program has previously engaged with regional schools including Willyama High School, Broken Hill High School, Wilcannia Central School, Dubbo Senior College, Gilgandra High School and Coonabarabran High School. We have worked closely with these schools doing local site studies, and hosting them at the University of Sydney for short stays. It is a key goal of the program to continue and expand upon this regional outreach.

Impact on our community

Since 2012, we have supported over 20 schools from low-SES and regional areas, involving hundreds of high school students over the years and some 30 teachers. We have also brought on board and trained approximately 150 student volunteers from our undergraduate and HDR cohorts to support these efforts. While the focus of the program has been on community engagement and student support, it has nevertheless resulted in increased enrolments from at least three of the priority partner schools who rarely sent students to Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney in the past.

Partner with us

If you are a history teacher or school principal interested in a partnership with the department, please email Professor Mike McDonnell, or phone 9351 6733.