More children will benefit from the Dux Awards scheme next year, which aims to offer the best Year 9 students a chance to visit some of the UK's top universities.
All 24 universities within the Russell Group have agreed to take part in the 2013 edition of the scheme, which aims to recognise performance at secondary school level while also instilling in children aspirations to attend the top higher education institutions.
It is the job of those people in teaching jobs to identify a Year 9 student at their school as their 'Dux', which is Latin for champion. These children will then be given the chance to visit one of the prestigious universities that make up the group.
This year, 1,400 pupils from 750 schools attended an event at one of the universities, however the Department for Education has highlighted the fact that the success of the scheme is leading to its expansion.
In 2013, schools minister David Laws is hopeful that around 2,000 schools will register, which would mean many more children being given an opportunity to visit one of these institutions and start thinking about their future educational development.
Schools minister David Laws said that registration for next year's scheme will open to schools and teachers in late January and will close in mid-February. The events themselves while be held from May until July.
He said: "I now want to see the scheme help raise the aspirations of more pupils, and I want more schools to take part and reward those who have performed to a very high level or shown real promise. All schools should play their part in supporting their pupils to set their sights high.
"A visit to one of our great universities is an eye-opening experience that should raise the sights of both pupils and teachers."
One of the central messages of the Dux Awards is that children with the "right grades, attitudes and potential" will have a chance to attend these top universities whatever their background, according to Dr Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group.
Posted by Theo Foulds