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Creating Change

Supporting students from all backgrounds progress to higher education is a large task and can require careful planning. It may be that arranging interventions to support students in this way forms part of your roles and responsibilities at school but for others it may just be an interest, but everyone can work to support their students.

How to access outreach activity

There are lots of different types of outreach activity designed to support students. We have explained some of these below.

This page details higher education outreach opportunities available to your students and details of how to book these. If you feel you need a more in depth discussion about the outreach needs of your students you can contact each provider directly or call us on 0191 208 8640.

Why is it important to provide outreach activity?

Although progress has been made, the North East of England still sees lower numbers of young people progressing to higher education and lower than expected when Key Stage 4 attainment is taking place. Outreach activity can introduce students to topics they may never have considered before and gets them thinking about what could be possible in their future, this is particularly important for students who may be the first in their family to progress to higher education as these conversations may not be happening in the home.

The government’s careers strategy sets out that every secondary school and academy should use the Gatsby Good Career Guidance Benchmarks to develop and improve their careers provision. Many outreach activities can help schools meet these benchmarks. From January 2018 it was a legal requirement for all schools to ensure that a range of education and training providers to access students to inform them about the range of qualifications available to them. 

The Careers and Enterprise Company have developed their free Compass tool to help schools evaluate their careers activity against the eight Gatsby Benchmarks. Once complete, the tool allows schools to see the strengths and areas for improvement and resources to help achieve each benchmark.

How to design a robust programme of activity for students

A sustained, intensive and progressive programme of interventions has been shown to have greater impact in raising aspirations and supporting progression to higher education. The North East Regional Progression Framework has been designed to support practitioners to design a programme of interventions to help learners and key stakeholders to understand more about higher education in all its forms and how to successfully achieve their progression goals.

Structured across three phases and six learning objectives, the framework can be applied regardless of the learner’s age, prior knowledge, and mode or level of study. The North East Regional Progression Framework enables practitioners to report on the key components of the Ofsted Education Inspection Framework, in addition to supporting the basis of a solid careers programme (Benchmark 1), useful for including in monitoring tools such as COMPASS. It is important to note that the Regional Progression Framework and encounters with higher education will provide supporting evidence towards a range of Gatsby Benchmarks, however additional reporting materials will be required to fully achieve each component.

The North East Regional Progression Framework can be downloaded here. If you would like physical copies for your institution please email