Higher Horizons+ celebrates first birthday with key milestone

Higher Horizons+, the aspiration-raising National Collaborative Outreach Programme that operates across Staffordshire, Cheshire and Shropshire, is celebrating having worked with more than 13,000 young people in the region in its first twelve months of existence.

Higher Horizons+ encourages young people from underrepresented groups in higher education to achieve their potential by enrolling on university courses. Much of the work is focused on young people who may be the first in their family to think about higher education, or who have low expectations of their routes through education.

The government-funded scheme, which has its central hub at Keele University, has delivered 480 activities across 96 schools and colleges in Staffordshire, Cheshire and Shropshire in the past year. More than 13,000 young people aged 13-18 years-old have already taken part in a programme of free, engaging activities that are aimed at raising aspirations and increasing progression to higher education. Many of the young people have engaged with the programme on numerous occasions, with almost 30,000 individual interactions in total.

Emily in Year 13 at Trinity Sixth Form said: “I was getting so stressed about writing my personal statement, but after talking to the Higher Horizons+ staff they showed me all the relevant information and gave me the help that I needed. I now feel so much better and more confident about applying to university, I couldn't have done it without their support."

All of the key partner universities, including Keele University, Staffordshire University, University of Chester and Harper Adams University, have dedicated hubs and staff on their campuses to deliver and organise engaging and innovative activities and projects within surrounding areas.

The project also includes input from the University of Oxford, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Derby, Cheshire College South and West, Reaseheath College, and Warrington & Vale Royal College, in an attempt to double the amount of 18-year-olds entering higher education from economically disadvantaged areas, including Stoke-on-Trent and Crewe.

The 480 activities delivered by the Higher Horizons+ team include residential Summer School stays at Staffordshire University and Keele University, mentoring schemes, drama performances, talks from inspiring local professors and lecturers, as well as the opportunity for young people to write and publish a book in a week with White Water Writers.

Ant Sutcliffe, Head of the Higher Horizons+ network, commented:

“We are thrilled that so many young people have engaged with the programme so far. The feedback from the children and teachers has been overwhelmingly positive. We believe so strongly in the talent of the young people of Stoke-on-Trent, Crewe and beyond, and aim to provide a platform for every young person to fulfil their potential.”

For more information about Higher Horizons+, visit the website or call Mr Sutcliffe on 01782 733164.