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The History and Classics Ancient 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 aspiration in disadvantaged students.

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

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 pursue and excel in tertiary studies – while supporting their learning at high school.

The program works with high school students from Mount Druitt, Parramatta, Granville, Campbelltown, Auburn, Liverpool, Coonabarabran and Broken Hill to acquaint them with university life and foster the aspirations within these communities to pursue and excel in tertiary studies.

Future editions of the program will endeavour to expand these efforts to the entire School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry.


Program initiatives

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. 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 Department of History.

Since 2012, the program has run a Year 11 Mentoring Program with Granville Boys High School and Miller Technology High School. Taking place over 5 sessions, postgraduate research students visit low SES partner schools to mentor students in creating historical projects. Students visit the University to learn research and library skills, and to present their projects before an audience of their peers, faculty and students. Students who give the best presentations receive prizes from the Department of History.

Started with 2015 HSC students at Chifley College, 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. Since 2016, we have worked with Chifley College and Cecil Hills High School. Students who submit the best essays receive prizes from the Department of History.

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

The Department sponsors 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, the Department of History also offers 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.

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. It is a key goal of the program to continue and expand upon this regional outreach.

The program has 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.

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.