Wensleydale student speaks of positive impact of diverse learning environment

Molly Hunter.

A Wensleydale student, who travels a 120-mile round trip to attend school, has spoken out about the positive impact of learning in a diverse and multicultural environment.

Molly Hunter was awarded an academic Burkitt Scholarship to attend the Sixth Form at Durham School.

She travels from her home in Wensleydale to the historic school in Durham City to study A Levels in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Economics.

The Year 12 student, who took her GCSEs at The Wensleydale School, in Leyburn, said studying at Durham School, with pupils from almost 30 different countries, has had a profound impact on her.

“My homelife isn’t multicultural, so it’s been brilliant to come here and meet people from all over the world. It’s really important to me,” said Molly, 17.

“Having pupils of various nationalities makes a huge difference, especially in school clubs like debating and model united nations.”

Durham School’s model united nations is a popular student-led society that meets regularly to simulate the UN General Assembly. Students perform ambassador roles while debating a wide range of global topics.

Molly, who hopes to pursue a career in finance, added: “Coming here, to this environment, has had a huge impact on me and my family. It wouldn’t have been possible without the scholarship.”

Molly is one of more than 200 young people from across the North – from Northumberland down to North Yorkshire – who have been given the chance to study at Durham School Sixth Form on a Burkitt Scholarship, which offers support of up to 100 per cent fee remission.

The Durham Cathedral Schools Foundation’s (DCSF) wider bursary and scholarship programme has benefitted some 420 families. Around 1 in 7 pupils at DCSF attend on means-tested bursaries.

DCSF development director Andrew Beales said: “Bursaries at Durham Cathedral School Foundation are truly transformational. This financial assistance nurtures talents, promotes diversity and supports the development of the future leaders of society.”

Over the last year, more than 250 young people, aged between nine and 17, have accessed academic workshops led by DCSF staff, while 14 partner schools were involved in DCSF led activities. On a weekly basis, 24 community groups access the Foundation’s facilities while more than 500 young people from County Durham learn to swim in Durham School’s pool.

Principal Kieran McLaughlin said: “We take pride in our commitment to inclusivity and diversity. Our holistic approach to education transcends geographical limitations, reflecting our institution’s unwavering dedication to nurturing and empowering the potential of young minds everywhere.”