More children from disadvantaged backgrounds in Suffolk to be urged to attend university

The University of Suffolk. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The University of Suffolk. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

The University of Suffolk has announced that 10 higher education champions (HECs) have been appointed to work in schools and colleges in the county as part of the government’s £120m National Collaborative Outreach Programme.

The government wants to double the proportion of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds choosing to enter higher education or start a degree apprenticeship by 2020.

The news comes after official figures found that the gap between state and private school students gaining entry to top universities grew to its largest since records began.

The new HECs in Suffolk will target groups of students in years nine to 13 at schools, promoting the idea of being able to study at university.

They will aim to raise aspirations, explain the full range of higher education options, provide advice on writing applications and mentoring, and hold summer schools.

The project will be delivered in Suffolk by the Network for East Anglian Collaborative Outreach (NEACO), which comprises: University of Suffolk, University of East Anglia, Anglia Ruskin University, Norwich University of the Arts, and The University of Cambridge.

Roxanna Sleight, NEACO outreach officer, said: “We have a team of experienced staff who are extremely passionate about widening participation and want to inspire students to reach their full educational potential.

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“Through the programme we aim to inform about the higher education options available in Suffolk and beyond and the careers that may follow on from studying at degree level.”

The project will have to meet targets, which have not been released, by the end of 2018.

Funding could be extended for a further two yers after 2018.

Tim Greenacre, registrar and secretary at the University of Suffolk and a member of the NEACO Executive Group, said: “

“A central part of the University of Suffolk mission is to raise higher education participation and widen participation and this project will complement and enhance our existing widening participation activity.”

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