The University of Derby and nine other educational institutions across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire have secured a total of £6.9m to help increase participation in higher education.
This is part of a new £60m scheme, the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP), which has been announced today (Thursday, December 8) by Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
The programme aims to increase the number of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in higher education by 2020.
Consortia were invited to submit proposals for funds to work collaboratively on outreach programmes in specific local areas.
The University of Derby, who will lead the programme in the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire area, along with consortium partners Nottingham Trent University, University of Nottingham, Bishop Grosseteste University, Vision West Nottinghamshire College, Derby College, New College Nottingham, Central College, Stephenson College and Chesterfield College, submitted a plan to deliver targeted outreach activity to raise aspirations and reengage learners, and have been awarded £6,964,508 to use over the period of two years.
The group will work in collaboration with schools and third party providers to target students in Years 9 – 13 who live within a series of identified wards. The students will be able to access a wide range of outreach activity, such as one-to-one mentoring from local undergraduates and graduates, to help raise both their attainment and their aspiration to consider higher level qualifications.
Professor Judith Lamie, Pro Vice-Chancellor - External Affairs at the University of Derby, said: “We are thrilled to have been successful in our consortium bid to HEFCE and to receive such a significant amount of funding is fantastic.
“The collaborative programme will see the University of Derby and our partners work together to deliver outreach activities to students from a widening participation background in 63 ward areas across the two counties of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, covering areas in and near some of the most deprived local authorities nationally.
“This funding will give us the opportunity to raise aspiration and reengage learners through innovative and targeted outreach activity. It is vital that we work to increase the knowledge and understanding of higher education and we look forward to using the funding to do so.”
Under HEFCE’s new scheme, 29 local consortia across England will receive funding to deliver activity under the NCOP, which will launch on January 24, 2017.
The programme will drive a step change in the progression into higher education of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, including members of ethnic minority groups and young men.
A total of 260 higher education providers in England are involved in the programme spanning 997 wards.
Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson added: “We are seeing record numbers of disadvantaged young people going to university and benefitting from the real opportunities that our world class universities can offer.
‘This funding and the schemes that have been developed by universities will make a real difference to young people in key areas. In addition to this, we are legislating for a new transparency duty which will place a clear requirement on all universities to release more information about their admissions process and real incentives on all institutions to go further and faster to promote social mobility.”