Information for Teachers

 Teacher and students

Pathway Opportunity Programme

Information for Teachers

Guidance on how to support your students with their application


The reference section provides an opportunity for the Widening Participation team to gain further insight into the applicant. It has also been designed to act as form of verification for some of the information provided by the applicant. Students are advised to nominate a teacher that they feel knows them best, unless there are specific policies for academic references within the student's school or college.

The reference will also provide an opportunity for teachers to highlight any exceptional circumstances which may have impacted on the student's performance at GCSE. We are aware that on occasion, a student may be new to your school. If this is the case please indicate this on the reference and provide us with as much information as feasible.

If you have been nominated to provide a reference for an applicant, a member of the Widening Participation team will contact you directly. All references will be submitted electronically.

Please note that a student's application cannot progress to the final selection stage without a completed teacher reference. If you would like to discuss a reference request further, please contact the Widening Participation team at Queen's University.

‌Encourage a student to apply

Whilst many students will be confident to apply directly to the PATHWAY programme, we are conscious that some students may succumb to the perceived barriers associated with applying to a Russell Group University. As a teacher/mentor in a school or college you will play a key role in helping to identify students who will most benefit from the scheme. If you would like the Widening Participation team to call to your school or college to showcase the PATHWAY programme to students, please contact us on 028 9097 5020. Please note that it may not be possible to accommodate all requests.

To be eligible for the programme students must meet the following criteria:

Section A

  • Applicants must be ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland and be in attendance full-time at a school or college in Northern Ireland.
  • Be currently in year 1 of an acceptable two-year level 3 qualification* such as A-Levels, BTEC etc.
  • Have at least 7 grades A*-C at GCSE (or equivalent e.g. BTEC certificate), including English Language. (5 of these must be at grade B or above).

In addition to meeting all of the above criteria in section A, we are looking for students who meet at least two of the following:

Section B

  • Neither of your parents have attended university and obtained an undergraduate degree or equivalent level qualification in the UK or abroad unless they are currently studying for their first degree, or they have graduated from their first degree within the last five years.
  • You are currently in receipt of/eligible to receive free school meals (FSM) at your school or college.
  • You receive Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) at your school or college.
  • You live in a 'disadvantaged neighbourhood' according to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. This will be defined by your permanent residence postcode.
  • You are currently in the care of or have previously experienced Local Authority Care.

*Applicants are required to meet any specific subject requirements for the course they are applying to. We advise students to research course specific entry requirements via our Course Finder on our website ( prior to application.

These criteria are used to identify students with merit and potential who are currently under-represented in higher education in Northern Ireland.

Queen's University welcomes applications from students with a disability or long-term condition and will make reasonable adjustments as outlined in the Student Disability Policy, which is available at,718882,en.pdf to facilitate access to the summer school.

Queen's University has been awarded the Buttle UK Quality Mark in recognition of our commitment to care leavers. Queen's University has a designated care leaver coordinator, Deirdre Lynskey. Deirdre can be contacted on 028 9097 1567 and can provide advice and guidance on the support that is available at Queen's University to care leavers and those who have experienced care.


More information is available in Media and FAQs.