A new award scheme being introduced across schools in England will recognise the best pupils and help them achieve their aspirations.
Called the 'Dux', which is Latin for champion, the award will be presented by secondary teachers to outstanding pupils or those considered to have great potential.
Announcing the new programme today (March 15th), schools minister Nick Gibb said that it would help raise the aspirations of England's young people and improve the possibility of going to university for those from less affluent backgrounds.
The scheme, which follows the lead of the Dux in Scotland, will see secondary teachers at maintained schools choose a Year Nine pupil to be a Dux, celebrating their success and rewarding them for their performance.
As part of the award, that pupil will then visit one of the 20 Russell Group universities.
Mr Gibb said that teachers could decide to award the Dux to those who demonstrate the potential to achieve great things, particularly those whose family may not traditionally have gone to university, and not necessarily to the pupil who is top of their class.
"Visiting any of these great educational institutions, and seeing first-hand the possibilities that exist there, will open pupils' eyes to an exciting world in which they can not only take part, but thrive," he commented.
Director general of the Russell Group, Dr Wendy Piatt, said that the award would help address the imbalance that saw too few state-educated pupils get the right grades in the right subjects to attend one of the country's top universities.
"We hope this scheme will help raise the aspirations not only of Dux winners but all other bright teenagers at their schools and make sure they are thinking about their options at a younger age," she said.
She added that for pupils who miss out on the Dux award, there are many general open days and other activities that interested pupils can attend.
As well as Scotland, similar programmes also exist in the US, Australia and New Zealand.
Posted by Charlotte Michaels