Universities unite to reach disadvantaged students

Published: 1/02/2017

A group of education providers in North Yorkshire have been awarded funding of £1.2 million to support the most disadvantaged young people in the region to progress into higher education.

The Higher York consortium, a partnership between York St John University, University of York, York College, Askham Bryan College, Craven College, Yorkshire Coast College and Coventry University’s Scarborough campus, will deliver the Government’s newly launched National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP).

Professor Karen Stanton, Vice Chancellor at York St John University which leads the consortium, said the Government’s commitment to funding NCOP programmes sends an encouraging message about the value of higher education:

“We are delighted to have formed this exciting new partnership to benefit young people across our region. As one of a select number of consortia to be awarded funding in the UK, we are in a position to reach students who are unlikely to access higher education without our help, support and guidance”.

The Higher York group will cover a large geographical region of both rural and coastal areas, including wards in Scarborough, Whitby, York, Catterick, Northallerton, Selby, Harrogate and Skipton. Working with schools and further education colleges, the programme will target young people where the higher education participation is much lower than expected based on GCSE-level attainment.

Professor Saul Tendler is Chair of the Higher York Board and Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost at the University of York:

“This outreach programme provides a unique opportunity for us to use carefully targeted data to work closely with our network of schools on a programme of intervention that includes campus visits, school workshops, residential visits and student mentoring”

Helen Smith, Project Director for Higher York, will lead the innovative work across the region, taking the message into schools and communities in North Yorkshire that education can be accessible for everyone.

The scheme, funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), aims to double the proportion of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in higher education by 2020, increase the number of students from ethnic minorities by 20 per cent and address the under-representation of young men from disadvantaged backgrounds in higher education.

In implementing the programme across North Yorkshire, Higher York will build on its successful track record and reputation for widening participation, enabling students to benefit from a higher education based on individual choice and academic strength, irrespective of personal circumstance. 

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