Ri Masterclasses

Discover Ri Masterclasses, our series of hands-on, interactive, extracurricular workshops for young people across the UK.

A boy looks at a globe
Image credit: Tim Mitchell

Ri Masterclasses are extra curricular workshops in mathematics or computer science. They nurture students’ curiosity and inspire them to continue STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) engagement into the future.

Through Masterclasses, students connect with scientists and STEM enthusiasts, gaining insight into the depth and breadth of these fields. Students are helped to realise that STEM subjects are for everyone, inspiring future science careers.

How can my students access Masterclasses?

Teachers and educators nominate a small group of students who have an emerging interest in STEM subjects to attend a near-by series of Mathematics or Computer Science Masterclasses. Nomination packs go out to schools directly from our regional organisers and we can connect you with the one for your area. Quite a few London series are administered by the Ri team so those packs come directly from us.

If there isn’t a series in your area already, we can discuss opportunities to set up a new one to serve your community. And online Masterclasses can be provided for state schools that cannot access nearby series.

Off-the-shelf Masterclasses  

Did you know that you can run Ri Masterclasses using our range of off-the-shelf Ri Masterclass resources? Teachers also use these for enrichment activities in classrooms and STEM clubs. 

What, where and when are Ri Masterclasses? 

Ri Masterclasses are series of hands-on enriching workshops where students can explore mathematics and computer science beyond the scope of classroom curriculum. Our programme inspires students and results in growing confidence in these subjects.  

Masterclass series run at many places across the UK for both primary and secondary level. We work with teams of dedicated volunteers and collaborators who make Masterclasses happen for their local communities. 

Generally Ri Masterclass series run for six weeks, during term time. Masterclasses for secondary school students tend to be 2.5 hours on Saturday mornings. For primary school students it’s a little different – usually shorter sessions and often during or just after school hours, though some do run on Saturdays. 

We offer formal Science Communication projects for older school and university students (16+ years old) as an exciting add-on to Masterclass series in schools and universities across the UK. 

How can I find out more about Masterclasses?

I'm a parent or student

Masterclasses are free to attend, school students are nominated by their teacher. If you have been nominated for Masterclasses and you have a question about attendance or joining instructions, please email us.

If you attend a school in the UK and are interested in Masterclasses, but have not been nominated, please ask your teacher to email us. They can register their interest on behalf of your school (students cannot attend Masterclasses unless they have a letter of acceptance from the Ri).

This opportunity is normally available for 9/10 year old and 13/14 year old students who have an emerging interest in STEM subjects that we can nurture in Masterclasses. Some groups do work with other ages.  

Opportunities for 16+ year old students studying STEM subjects include science communication projects and volunteering. Find out more about these in the next two information sections

I represent at a school, university, or other STEM organisation

Ri Masterclasses are organised in schools and universities across the UK, as well as in other STEM – related organisations. They are a way for organisations to provide meaningful STEM enrichment, with a focus on Mathematics and Computer Science, for students in their local community.  

A wide range of contributors support the programme including school teachers, university staff and other outreach specialists: organising Masterclasses or undertaking roles of supervisor, helper or speaker (workshop leader). Masterclass groups often connect with local STEM industry companies and heritage organisations who like to get involved with Masterclasses, contributing support or volunteers to better provide an enriching experience.  

Schools and universities often involve older age students (16+ years old) studying STEM subjects as helpers. Involvement provides professional and subject experience and a taste of STEM outreach. We offer more structured science communication projects for these age-groups, such as our in-school Sixth Form – to – Primary Masterclasses. Further reading : 6th Form – to - Primary Masterclasses (PDF). 

Looking for STEM resources and Off-the-Shelf Masterclasses? Science Resources for schools and Masterclass groups can be found here.

I'd like to volunteer at a Masterclass

Ri Masterclasses are a way for those with knowledge or enthusiasm in areas of STEM to connect with enthusiastic audiences. Volunteering provides new skill sets, an opportunity to reconnect with science subjects you love and support the growth of young people. Individuals can volunteer, and we can discuss corporate opportunities. 

There are many ways to get involved in Ri Masterclasses as a volunteer including becoming a Masterclass speaker or helping at workshops to support student learning. We work with lots of volunteers here at the Ri in London, and we connect volunteers with regional groups. We also use volunteers from across the UK to supervise our online Masterclasses.   

Helpers need to have enthusiasm for STEM subjects and for working with young audiences – they support student learning to ensure everyone gets the most out of Masterclasses. 

Speakers need some level of expertise in either STEM or education. We provide training and development for our speakers, ensuring the right level of support regardless of prior experience working with young people, running interactive STEM workshops or presenting to audiences.  

Regular volunteers will need a DBS check and we may request references as well. 

If you'd like to volunteer, please contact us for up-coming opportunities. We can book you in as a helper to try it out, with no commitment to continue. For those wanting to volunteer longer-term, you can download our application form below, and email to masterclasses@ri.ac.uk

Download a Masterclass volunteer application form (Word)

I want to know more about the history of Masterclasses

The Mathematics Masterclasses started from the interest sparked by Professor Sir Christopher Zeeman's CHRISTMAS LECTURES 'Mathematics into Pictures', televised in 1978. These lectures are now available to watch on our Explore Science pages. 

In 1981, the first Masterclasses for secondary school students were set up, offering London children the opportunity to discover new mathematics in a fun, engaging, mathematically-rich session. 

Mathematics Masterclasses for primary school students launched in 1998, and secondary school Computer Science Masterclasses launched in 2014. Engineering Masterclasses ran from 2010 to 2020. 

Safeguarding and Ri Masterclasses 

Safeguarding is extremely important to the Ri. We require everyone involved in running Ri activities to share our commitment to safeguarding children and adults at risk. Dependent on their role, we may request background checks for volunteers and other contributors. 

For more information, please see our safeguarding policies and procedures, or get in touch with our Designated Safeguarding Officers at safeguarding@ri.ac.uk.