Keele shortlisted for Widening Participation Initiative of the Year award.

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Posted on 06 September 2011

A programme created by Keele University to encourage university applications and raise aspirations and attainment in science has been shortlisted for one of higher education’s top awards.  Keele University has been shortlisted for the prestigious 2011 Times Higher Education Awards for ‘Widening Participation Initiative of the Year’. The THE Awards celebrate excellence and achievement within UK higher education institutions, and will be presented in November at a gala ceremony.

Keele has introduced a number of initiatives in line with the Government’s agenda to increase the number of young people entering higher education from under-represented groups including lower income families, people with disabilities and looked after children.

The University’s STEM Mentors scheme was developed in response to the need to raise aspiration and attainment in STEM subjects. During the past two years, the project has grown significantly and we now have over 29 trained STEM Mentors who work on the scheme. Our mentors are all current university students who are studying Science subject(s) as part of their degree programme who deliver workshops on campus and also in schools/colleges..

The scheme offers the following:

·       Delivery of classroom-based interactive sessions

·       Delivery of Stardome Sessions (a large inflatable planetarium)

·       Support with after-school clubs and homework clubs

·       One-to-one mentoring

·       Delivery of sessions on our science based campus events and in the Keele Earth and Space Observatory.

·       Community Outreach at events like community fun days or the Green Man Festival

 Feedback on the varied work of the mentors has been extremely positive as some of the comments from our partners show:

·         “A fab day. The mentors were very professional and skilled in their sessions. Thank you for motivating our students.”Elizabeth Palethorpe, Second in Science, Arrow Vale Community High School

·         “Science and Engineering Mentors supported a large scale event with over 200 pupils from nine different schools taking part. The team from Keele were absolutely superb. Many thanks.” Gary Thomson, Deputy Head, Newport Girls’ High School

·         “Special thanks to the Keelelink Science Mentors who led the sessions really well and were motivated and enthusiastic.” Alison Bell, Assistant Headteacher, Corbet School

Kylie Hazeldine, Head of Outreach and Widening Participation, said: “We are delighted to be nominated and recognised for our important work in widening participation and helping those who want to pursue a university education to realise their goals. In the current climate it is a great achievement for the team and the university as whole and a testament to our continued strong commitment to outreach and widening participation.”