The University of Derby is celebrating today (January 8) after being awarded funds by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills to lead a new North East Midlands Collaborative Outreach Network, aimed at encouraging young people into higher education.
Derby will lead one of thirty-five local networks that will cover the whole of England, and has been allocated £120,000 per year by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (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 for additional activity that will benefit the schools and colleges within the Network reach.
The North East Midlands Network will cover Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, parts of Leicestershire and parts of Lincolnshire, and includes 10 educational institutions* .
It is part of a new £22 million National Networks for Collaborative Outreach (NNCO) scheme involving over 200 higher education institutions, reaching 4,300 secondary schools and colleges, and will be managed by 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 higher colleges and universities. A website will also be created to include information about outreach activity, and signpost other advice to support schools and colleges as they prepare their students for higher education.
Details of additional services for local schools and colleges will be published on a new website for the Network in the spring.
In a two-part success, the University of Derby has also been confirmed as a partner in the Widening Participation Collaborative Group (WPCG), which will be led by Keele University and includes nine other universities and colleges**.
The WPCG will work with schools and colleges in their designated region to encourage more young people into higher education. The scheme will focus closely on schools and colleges with relatively few pupils go on to university, but the NNCO will serve all state-funded schools and colleges.
Professor John Coyne, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Derby, said: “We are proud to be leading the North East Midlands Network and to work as a partner of the WPCG. Derby has a deep tradition of working closely and supportively with schools and colleges in the East Midlands.
“The Network is a further opportunity for us to continue our support, work with colleagues and partners and to encourage progression into higher education. More of our young people need to see the way universities can play a role in their future development and help them build fulfilling careers.”
Krisha Bainham, Head of Education Liaison at Derby added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to work collaboratively with other institutions in the region for the benefit of students, ensuring they have access to the information they need to make informed choices. I’m looking forward to working together with all the partners to raise awareness of progression routes and the real advantages that a higher education qualification can give.”
Karen Richardson, Head of Student Recruitment and Admissions at Bishop Grosseteste University which is part of the Network said: “We are excited to be working with other institutions in such an important network. East Midlands is one of the lowest participation regions in England and working together and sharing good practice, aiming towards a common goal could really make an impact in inspiring young people to consider higher education.”