Uni Connect partnerships across the nation are excited to share the recent news of funders Office for Students (OfS), who have now announced the programme has engaged over a million young people between 2017 and 2021.
As part of their latest press release, OfS have a new focus in mind for the Uni Connect programme. The next phase of the programme will focus on supporting universities and colleges to partner with schools to raise the academic attainment of young people.
The ongoing mission of Uni Connect (established in 2017) aims to increase the number of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in England who go into higher education. Recent years have demonstrated the value and impact of local partnerships in helping to provide access to universities and colleges with schools, to offer young people activities, advice and information on the benefits and realities of going to university.
The value of Uni Connect activity has recently been recognised by the OfS- equipping young people with the information they need to make informed choices about their future education and helping minimise any barriers to achieving their potential. Uni Connect partnerships are currently adapting to the latest focus on raising the academic attainment levels of pupils in years 7 to 11 (ages 12-16) which has been designed to support their progression into higher education. By supporting partnerships between universities and colleges with schools and local organisations, Uni Connect will develop and expand its work to encompass a wide range of high-quality activities- all to increase students’ attainment.
John Blake, director for fair access and participation at the OfS, leads on equality of opportunity in higher education at the OfS. John said:
‘It is fantastic to see that over one million young people have engaged with Uni Connect so far and become more informed about educational opportunities and their futures. The earlier that educational support and guidance starts the better, particularly for those from disadvantaged backgrounds, which is why it’s important for Uni Connect to focus on raising attainment for those aged 16 and under. Over half of all schools and colleges in England have worked with the programme. We encourage all school leaders to engage with their local Uni Connect partnership to develop collaborative approaches to help drive student attainment up.’
The ongoing commitment towards evaluation of best practice between partnerships demonstrates ‘what works’ in higher education outreach, providing exciting insight towards the future of outreach work and evaluative practice.
The North East Uni Connect Programme are proud to contribute towards this initiative to benefit future generations of students from a range of diverse backgrounds.