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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Widening participation  and Outreach

Widening participation

BSMS is committed to offering accurate and detailed information advice and guidance to those who require it. 


BrightMed students in scrubs


About BrightMed

Greater diversity within the medical profession is a goal that benefits us all. The BSMS widening participation programme BrightMed seeks out young, talented people who have the potential to become tomorrow’s doctors but who may not have considered it as a possibility, thus enabling medicine to better reflect the patient population.

BrightMed approaches state schools within Sussex during the spring term of each academic year. Schools will be invited to nominate pupils from their gifted and talented cohorts who have expressed a strong desire to study medicine or who excel at science and wish to explore a potential avenue for their talents. Priority is given to students who most closely fit the selection criteria, most of the successful students have no family background in higher education.

We make these exceptional young people aware of potential careers in medicine, the study that’s involved and what they need to do academically to realise their potential and make the right choices early on.

We help build their confidence and enable them to submit strong applications to medical schools throughout the UK providing advice, hands-on experience and practical exercises to enable students to make informed decisions concerning their future education. It’s an approach that’s already had great success, with 81 out of 141 students who completed the programme going on to apply for medicine and obtaining at least one interview.

The focus of recruitment is on students who have no family background of higher education. BrightMed aims to recruit 50 Year 8 students each year. Successful students will then join the programme at the beginning of the following academic year. BrightMed is a rolling five-year programme which works with students through to the end of year 13.

For further details on BrightMed please email Sam Wickham:


Years 8-11 - BrightMed

BrightMed applications for 2017/18 are now closed. 

Applications for BrightMed September 2018 entry will open in April 2018.

For further details about the BrightMed programme and to register your interest for next year, please email Sam Wickham on or call 01273 641841.

BrightMed plastic heart

Sixth Form - BrightMed 12x3

We realise that many young people may only decide they want to pursue a career in medicine after GCSEs and we often have requests from students currently in Year 12 to join the BrightMed programme. Each year we run a three-day condensed Year 12 programme called BrightMed 12x3 over a weekend in July. This is open to Year 12 students who meet specific widening participation criteria.

Applications for the BrightMed 12x3 event are now closed. For students about to enter Year 12, we will be releasing details of a new initiative over the summer break, so please check back soon!


Widening participation criteria

BrightMed and BrightMed 12x3 are widening participation programmes aimed at supporting young people from non-traditional and disadvantaged backgrounds to make a competitive application to medicine.

While we would welcome applications from all students, BSMS prioritises students who meet specific widening participation criteria for these events and most students invited to attend will meet at least two of the below criteria:

  • No immediate family history of higher education (excluding siblings)
  • Currently in, or have been in, the care of a local authority
  • Care for someone at home with a long-term illness or disability
  • Have a registered disability
  • Are eligible for free school meals or a 16-19 college bursary
  • Are eligible for any other means tested benefit
  • Likely to live in a low participation neighbourhood (POLAR3 data)
  • Likely to be from NS-SEC 4-7 groups
  • Is attending or has attended an underperforming state school (GCSE national average)

For further details and information, please contact Sam Wickham on or call 01273 641841.

Schools outreach

In addition to the BrightMed programme, BSMS runs a number of other widening participation and outreach activities throughout the year, as well as visits to schools and colleges across the South East.


School visits

We can run sessions on demystifying the application process, writing personal statements, choosing the right medical school, the NHS as well as interview advice and guidance. Depending on the timing, we may be able to bring current BSMS medical students to speak with students.

If you are interested in a member of the BSMS Widening Participation and Outreach team visiting your school to speak with your gifted and talented cohort about applying to medicine, please get in touch with Sam Wickham (



BrightWAMS (Widening Access to Medical School in Sussex) is a student-led outreach program and society with the principle aim of promoting educational awareness in the local community. The society works with pupils in Year 5 and 6 in local state primary schools to drive educational attainment, raise future aspirations and form strong links between BSMS and the local community. The society also branches out into local community events, such as the Brighton Science Festival, held in February/March every year.


BrightWAMS events 

School visits

The society will normally organise two school visits per term. Student volunteers will travel to a local primary school and teach a class of pupils as part of a team. These normally occur on Wednesday afternoons, and are open to any medical students currently studying at BSMS.

Brighton Science Festival

Every year, the society is given a place to host a workshop at the Brighton Science Festival for a day. Student volunteers will teach a part of the workshop, normally based on a central theme. 

Campus visit

We host a teaching session on campus for a local school every year, normally in Term 3. This follows a similar format to our school visits, but also often includes a guest speaker from the medical school.

If you are a primary school teacher and are interested in having the BrightWAMS team visit your school, please get in touch with the committee by emailing