UCL and UCL Academy Initiatives

UCL’s sponsorship of UCL Academy was the first example of a University sole-sponsoring a new Academy. The vision, curriculum and building of the Academy was founded on UCL’s own principles and values. Since opening, Academy leaders and the Education office of UCL have worked together innovating, evaluating and implementing its approach to partnership to fulfil the vision of university sponsorship offering unique opportunities for secondary schools.


This programme is co-run by UCL Academy and UCL and is for students throughout the school. UCL Academy Students are matched with UCL mentors on a 1:1 basis using the mentor matching tool. Mentees are highly engaged with their students and provide advice and support on a range of themes. The themes are as follows: Awareness of own skills; Understanding of university life; Confidence about choosing GCSE subjects in Level 1+; Understanding of university application process; Knowledge about communicating skills and experience in applications; Understanding of university study and student life; Confidence about applying for university or an apprenticeship.


UCL Academy’s curriculum has been designed to incorporate our sponsor UCLs 6 Grand Challenges. Grand challenges students complete projects aligned with UCLs six Grand Challenges themes. “Grand Challenges convenes and cultivates cross-disciplinary collaborations that explore interconnected solutions in six areas related to matters of pressing societal concern”. Furthermore, Grand Challenge days provide students and staff across the school with an opportunity to learn from academics and link their day to day learning with global concepts and ideas, preparing them for the real world. The themes are as follows: Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Cultural Understanding; Human Wellbeing; Justice & Equality; Transformative Technology.


UCL academic staff deliver guest lectures at UCL Academy in order to educate and help raise student aspirations. Throughout the academic year, a range of internationally renowned public speakers engage with our students for these unique experiences. Topics covered have included ‘Life in a Post Pandemic World‘, ‘The Impact of Transformative Technology on Society‘ and ‘How to make Industrial Levels of Ice Cream‘.


UCLs volunteering services help support our SDL programme (Self Directed Learning) for all our students. This well established and invaluable partnership has contributed to our student experiences since we opened in 2012. From chess to cheerleading, debate, netball and university quality musical performances, this ongoing partnership provides the most extraordinary opportunities for every one of our students. The SDL programme for the current academic year can be found on our Curriculum Plan page.



Throughout their career at the Academy, students have the opportunity to visit the campus on at least 3 occasions. All new students are formally welcomed in their first term to the UCL family with a day onsite touring lecture theatres, the quad and some of the museums. The Provost and Vice Provost of UCL welcomes students at their UCL inauguration. Later in their time, students in the GCSE studies research interdisciplinary projects and formally present them to UCL academics in the UCL’s cloisters. As part of their sixth form experience, students visit the site to work with and learn from undergraduates about life at University. We also biannually offer parents the chance to visit UCL and hear from academics and UCL staff.