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School engagement networks to receive share of £22 million

Posted 8 January 2015

We constantly face the challenge of trying to help busy teachers understand more about the career opportunities available in the land-based and food sectors. Via our involvement in these two networks we hope to make this information and access to our resources more readily available to schools and their pupils.”

Shropshire’s Harper Adams University is a member of two networks set to receive shares of £22 million announced by the government today to increase school pupils’ access to higher education. 

Harper Adams is a founding partner of the Explore University network, alongside Wolverhampton, Keele and Staffordshire universities, which has already enabled primary school pupils to sample university life through campus visits and subject tasters for the last 18 months. 

Funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE) National Networks for Collaborative Outreach (NNCO) scheme will allow Explore University to expand its work into secondary schools across Staffordshire, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and Herefordshire. Work with primary schools will also continue. 

Harper Adams is also a member of a new network, proposed in response to the NNCO scheme, which aims to serve schools in Staffordshire, Cheshire East, Cheshire West, Shropshire, Derby City, Derbyshire and The Wirral, which is being supported by HEFCE. 

This network includes Harper Adams University, Keele University, Staffordshire University, University of Derby, University of Chester, Manchester Metropolitan University (through its Crewe campus), Reaseheath College and the University of Oxford’s Somerville College.

Lorraine Westwood, Director of Marketing and Communications at Harper Adams, comments: “As a specialist university in the heart of Shropshire, drawing students from all over the country, we constantly face the challenge of trying to help busy teachers understand more about the career opportunities available in the land-based and food sectors. Via our involvement in these two networks we hope to make this information and access to our resources more readily available to schools and their pupils.” 

Under the nationally-coordinated scheme, which involves more than 200 higher education institutions and aims to reach 4,300 secondary schools and colleges, each network will receive £120,000 to establish a single point of contact to help teachers and careers advisers find out about higher education outreach activity in their area and to provide general advice about progression into higher education. Additional funds will be distributed to the universities to help them support the networks they belong to. 

Three further networks will offer advice and support to specific groups of students at national level, including older learners wishing to continue or return to study and care leavers.

Greg Clark, Minister for Universities and Science, welcomed the networks, saying: “The future of the UK economy depends on having highly-trained graduates so it is vital that young people have the right information about progressing into higher education.”

Madeleine Atkins, Chief Executive of HEFCE, said: “As well as providing co-ordinated coverage of outreach activity, we are keen that the NNCO scheme contributes innovative approaches to the interaction between higher education institutions and schools and colleges.”

 

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