Educating Yorkshire former head teacher to give key note speech at NEMCON launch

24 September 2015

Former head teacher Jonny Mitchell – who rose to fame after appearing in hit show Educating Yorkshire – will be the key note speaker at the North East Midlands Collaborative Outreach Network (NEMCON) launch on October 6, 2015 at Vision West Nottinghamshire College.

NEMCON is a collaboration of four universities and eight further education colleges offering higher education provision. The Network is part of a new £22 million National Networks for Collaborative Outreach (NNCO) scheme involving more than 200 higher education institutions, reaching 4,300 secondary schools and colleges, and will be managed by Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). The Network will help teachers and advisers find out about higher education outreach activity in their area and provide general guidance about progression into colleges and universities.

The University of Derby was awarded funds by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills in January 2015 to lead the initiative aimed at encouraging young people into higher education.

Derby is leading one of 35 local Networks that will cover the whole of England, and has been allocated £120,000 per year by the HEFCE for the academic years 2014-15 and 2015-16 to set up and co-ordinate the infrastructure of the Network on behalf of partners. A further £77,632 per year will also be provided to the University of Derby for additional activity that will benefit the schools and colleges within the Network reach.

Jonny Mitchell is the former head teacher from Thornhill Community Academy, a secondary school in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire who gained national profile from his appearance in the BAFTA award-winning television documentary Educating Yorkshire. Jonny became known for his tough love approach with pupils as he tried to improve the school's academic success. Jonny will share his experiences in meeting the challenge of inspiring young people into higher education which will be followed by a Q&A.

Jonny said: “I am absolutely delighted to be working with the NEMCON partners to encourage more and more students into higher education. We are at a crucial time when it comes to skilling the future workforce, and we have to do everything in our combined power to ensure students are fully engaged with the concept of furthering their studies, in whatever field, so we can ensure future personal and national prosperity.”

Krisha Bainham, Head of Outreach and Widening Participation at the University of Derby, said: “Although the NEMCON Network is in its infancy, it is already proving to be an excellent way for the University of Derby to work in collaboration with other institutions in the region to raise awareness of progression opportunities in the locality. This launch event marks the start of the next exciting phase for us which is to establish the Network with staff in our schools and colleges. We're very pleased that someone as accomplished as Jonny Mitchell will be speaking at the event about his experiences inspiring young people to progress into higher education.”

Eleanor Taylor, Head of Higher Education and International at West Nottinghamshire College, said: “We’re delighted to be hosting the launch of NEMCON. Like other local providers, we are committed to challenging the barriers that prevent study at university level and to widening access in our local communities. NEMCON has a vital role to play in signposting and showcasing the options available locally, and we are proud to make a contribution to the Network.”