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North East Collaborative Outreach Programme

Funding boost for outreach programme

Published on: 8 December 2016

A Newcastle University-led programme aiming to encourage more young people into higher education has received multi-million pound funding.

The North East Collaborative Outreach Programme has been awarded a £7.7 million grant to increase the number of young people from low participation neighbourhoods entering higher education by 2020. 

The outreach activities will be carried out by The North East Collaborative Programme Partners, a collaboration of the universities and colleges in the region working together to support the progression to higher education for young people. 

Newcastle University campus

Progression into higher education

Professor Suzanne Cholerton, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Learning and Teaching, Newcastle University, said: “We’re delighted to be leading this exciting and ambitious bid that will bring together the five universities, 19 colleges and over 100 schools in the North East. We all have an important role to play in encouraging and supporting young people to making informed choices about their future, and we believe that by working in partnership, we’ll be able to offer them much more.

“We can’t wait to build on and develop the brilliant work that is already being done by teachers, careers advisers and university outreach staff in the region.”

Ashley Harper is a Newcastle University graduate who received one-to-one subject tutoring before enrolling at university.

The BA (Honours) Accounting and Finance graduate said: “During my time at sixth form I was offered the opportunity to receive one-to-one tutoring with a university student. Although I didn’t feel like I was struggling at this time, I knew I wasn’t achieving my full potential. Receiving this dedicated support was a game changer, and without this experience I wouldn’t have met and exceeded my higher education goals.”

'Real opportunities'

The North East Collaborative Outreach Programme will focus outreach activity in areas where HEFCE’s analysis has shown participation in Higher Education to be particularly low overall, and lower than would be expected given KS4 attainment levels in those areas. The Programme is focused on supporting a very specific cohort of young people in Years 9 – 13 to make a quick improvement in higher education progression rates. 

The Programme will run from January 2017 to December 2018. In the initial instance and will involve the development of a Regional Progression Framework and related activities designed to provide intensive support for young people to encourage progression to higher education.

The North East Collaborative Outreach Programme is one of 29 local consortia will receive funding to deliver activity under the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP). With funding of £60 million per year, the programme will drive a step change in the progression into higher education of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, including members of ethnic minority groups and young men.

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.”

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."


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