Trent building at the UoN

Eleven-year partnership improves outcomes for young people in Nottingham

Almost 17,000 young people in Nottingham have been helped to aim higher and achieve their potential thanks to a partnership that breaks down the barriers to higher education.

The University of Nottingham joined forces with IntoUniversity in 2011, building on an existing programme of outreach work. In that time, this partnership has enabled 16,942 local young people to receive support and encouragement to do well at school and go on to university.

The three community learning centres set up in Nottingham provide 7-18-year-olds with after-school support, university-student mentors, workshops and direct experience of university life.

They help to address the fact that young people facing disadvantages face considerable educational barriers and are far less likely to aspire to or attend university than their more advantaged peers.

Professor Sarah Speight, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education and Student Experience at the University of Nottingham, said: “By working in partnership with IntoUniversity, we have more opportunities to inspire children and show them what can result from their hard work and commitment. IntoUniversity plays such a crucial role in helping to transform the lives of so many local young people through its innovative programme of Academic Support, school workshops, university visits and mentoring. We are delighted to play a part in supporting this great work and we look forward to many more years of partnership to come.”

Dr Rachel Carr OBE, Chief Executive and Co-Founder of IntoUniversity, said:

“We are delighted to be able to support so many young people in Nottingham through our three centres thanks to the continued support of The University of Nottingham. It’s now over a decade since we began our partnership in the city and this type of long-term investment in communities represents the ideal of how IntoUniversity aims to operate in all of our locations. Some of the young people we first started working with are now adults who are achieving their full potential, while others are just starting their journeys with us. We’re proud of the impact that our centres continue to have and thankful to the University of Nottingham for making it possible.”

Achievements in the last year alone have seen 407 students being seen for Academic Support – structured sessions after school in an IntoUniversity centre. Students receive help with homework, coursework or university applications with access to resources such as computers and books they may not have at home.

Also in the 21/22 academic year a further 289 young people were linked up with a university student for IntoUniversity’s Buddy and Mentoring sessions and 3,973 students were supported through the Primary and Secondary FOCUS programmes. Primary FOCUS Weeks involve Year 6 classes attending a centre for a week to learn around a curriculum-related topic, from electricity to Macbeth, as well as finding out what university is. It involves input from students and academic volunteers, a trip and ends with a visit to The University of Nottingham for a ‘graduation’ ceremony complete with gown and mortar board.

Greg McEnaney, a Year 6 teacher at William Booth Primary and Nursery School in Sneinton shared some of his highlights of working with the organisation:

“IntoUniversity helps students to develop a variety of skills, such as confidence and communication.

“What IntoUniversity does best, is that it gets the conversation started early. Children as young as seven are already thinking about university and what the future could hold for them. It raises their aspirations and ensures they are planning their futures with specific goals in mind.”

The IntoUniversity centres in Nottingham Central, Nottingham West and Nottingham East, are part of the University of Nottingham’s Nottingham Potential programme, which represents a major investment in the future of primary and secondary-age school students.

Nottingham Potential builds on the University’s successful work since 2001 within less privileged communities, and aims to provide earlier, broader interventions for young people to raise aspirations and encourage progression to university. It has quadrupled the level of the University’s outreach provided — particularly work with primary and lower-secondary school pupils.

Posted on 12 January 2023

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Jack Woolley