One of the Summer Mix youngsters having a go at being a dentist

Peninsula Dental School at the University of Plymouth has been named one of two hosts for the UK’s first residential programme based around dentistry.

The Medical Schools Council Summer School is funded by Health Education England, with the aim to widen participation and access to dentistry and to see a greater diversity in the dental profession – particularly targeting students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

The programme will welcome 35 Year 11 and 12 students onto campus and focus on supporting the students’ journey into dental education, from the admissions and selection process to life beyond dental school, showing the range of careers within the oral healthcare profession.

By detailing the specifics of dental school, including study skills and revision workshops and even going through a mock entrance interview, the University hopes to break down barriers; ensuring that the least likely but most able of students who might not otherwise have considered, or felt able to access, a dental career understand how they can enter the profession.  

The four-day, three-night summer school also includes supervised trips around the locality, including beaches, landmarks and attractions such as The Box.

Students for the programme will be recruited from schools across the South West, particularly from schools with a high percentage of students receiving free school meals or studying at a state school that achieved below the national average at GCSE.

Professor Christopher Tredwin, Head of Peninsula Dental School, said: 

“We are keen to give everyone the opportunity to experience the brilliant profession of Dentistry and open access and opportunities wherever we can. Sometimes the people who could excel might not have considered dentistry as a career due to their background, education or social circumstances.
“We’re thrilled to be running the Medical Schools Council Summer School to help reach more dental professionals of the future, and know it’ll build on our already hugely successful widening participation work. Recruiting the best students, regardless of their background, ultimately means we’ll be helping to graduate the best dentists to positively impact on patient care, which is hugely important.”

Professor Christopher Tredwin elected as next Chair of the Dental Schools Council
Julie Monk

Julie Monk, Widening Participation Officer in the University’s Faculty of Health, said: 

“We recognise that engaging with disadvantaged students is not just about making students feel that they can get into higher education, but also that they belong there. Peninsula Dental School is rooted in the Plymouth community and across the South West, with widening access to education embedded in our ethos. 

“We’re so proud to be the first university to offer this programme, and it’s going to be really exciting. Alongside clinical academics, the Summer School will be delivered by student ambassadors who are part of the University’s Widening Access to Dental School initiative, so Y11 and Y12 students can speak to current university students to really get a flavour of what it’s like to study here.”

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