Keele to lead scheme inspiring more young people to enter HE

Posted on 08 December 2016

Keele University is to lead a £11.8 Million government funded programme to develop widening participation in Higher Education.

HEFCE, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, has today announced a new programme to increase participation in Higher Education across the country - the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP). The scheme will drive step-change in the procession into Higher Education of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, including members of ethnic minority groups and young men.

The scheme, which launches on 24th January 2017, will see 29 local consortia across England receive a total of £60 million per year to deliver widening participation activity.

Higher Horizons+, the NCOP consortia led by Keele, will see 80 schools and 25 colleges across Staffordshire, Shropshire and Cheshire engaging in free and funded activity for an initial two years. These activities will build upon and provide a boost to existing outreach work taking place. Activity, which will include residential stays, curriculum and advice sessions, will take place in schools and on University and College campuses.

Professor Mark Ormerod, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost at Keele University said:

“We are delighted and excited to be leading such a large-scale project of such importance. Keele has a long and proud history of working with young people in the region to raise aspirations, and with our partners, Higher Horizons+ will deliver a really rich programme of activities for our schools and colleges in this region.”
The key partners supporting the Keele-led Higher Horizons+ team will be Manchester Metropolitan University, Staffordshire University, Chester University and Harper Adams University, who will have dedicated staff at their sites to deliver and organise sessions.

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said:
“We are seeing record numbers of disadvantaged young people going to university and benefitting from the real opportunities that our world class universities can offer.
“This funding and the schemes that have been developed by universities will make a real difference to young people in key areas. In addition to this, we are legislating for a new transparency duty which will place a clear requirement on all universities to release more information about their admissions process and real incentives on all institutions to go further and faster to promote social mobility.”

The Higher Horizons+ programme will receive an initial £5.9 Million for the first two years, and will also include input from the University of Derby, Reaseheath College, Oxford University, South Cheshire College and Warrington Collegiate 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.

HEFCE Director of Policy Chris Millward said:

“NCOP represents a significant investment by HEFCE in improving the life chances of young people in some of our most disadvantaged communities. Our evidence has shown that there are young people in these areas who are achieving the qualifications they need to benefit from higher education, but are not currently doing so. The programme will ensure that they are better equipped to make the right choice for them by exposing the range of higher education options available and the careers they make possible.”