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Pimlico Connection celebrates thirty years of success in local schools

Tuesday 8 November 2005
By Abigail Smith

Shared memories and future plans combined last night as student mentors past and present celebrated the thirtieth birthday of the Pimlico Connection, Imperial's student tutoring in schools programme.

Pimlico Connection founder Sinclair Goodlad remembers 30 years of student tutoring

Begun in 1975 as an undergraduate group project, the scheme has grown over the years to become a key strand in Imperial's widening participation activities. Emeritus Professor Sinclair Goodlad, founder of the Pimlico Connection, recalled the early days of the scheme when just a handful of students began mentoring in local schools.

"It's very gratifying to see how the scheme has gained its own momentum and taken off in a big way," he said. "Originally we were looking at it primarily from the point of view of what students would gain from the experience - developing their communication skills and really getting to know their subject by finding ways to explain concepts clearly. However it soon became clear that there were great benefits to the schools as well."

Over 100 students each year are now placed in local schools to give one-to-one support and help pupils develop their understanding of subjects such as science, maths and IT. This interaction gives a positive image of higher education to young people who may not otherwise consider it and often sparks an interest in science and technology that leads to further study.

This benefit is one of the most important aspects of the scheme, according to Professor David Phillips Opens in new window, Imperial's Senior Science Ambassador to Schools. Thanking all those who take part in the scheme, he said:

"What you are doing is very important - going into schools to raise aspirations and nurture the talent of pupils who might otherwise have gone unnoticed in large classes. Tutors' assistance in classrooms, teaching one-to-one or in small groups, helps to raise levels of achievement and increases the chances that they will apply to universities - including, we hope, Imperial."

David Phillips, Senior Science Ambassador, and Annalisa Alexander, Widening Participation Projects Officer, thank student volunteers

One new recruit to the Pimlico Connection is earth science and engineering undergraduate Naomi Antony, who is about to begin work with the Response Homework Group. For her, Pimlico offers the opportunity to try out teaching as a possible career.

"I'm looking for a career that gives something back and teaching definitely fits the bill," she said. "At the end of the day, I'd like to use the fact that I'm at a good university to achieve more than just a good salary."

Pimlico volunteers help out in schools once a week for a period of five months between November and March in local primary and secondary schools. Students interested in getting involved should contact Dr Annalisa Alexander of the Outreach Office on