AccessHE Team Spotlight – January 2021

January 14, 2021

The AccessHE team are looking forwards to a packed year in this strange and rainy January…

Emily (London Programmes & Communications Coordinator): The AccessHE forums have hit the ground running in 2021, with five meetings coming up in the next few weeks, as well as smaller working groups bringing practical projects to life on behalf of several forums. There is a lot to consider and plan in the new lockdown, and a lot of unexpected new circumstances for HEI WP teams to respond to (which feels like it’s been the case for the last year solidly, but particularly now). Forum members are responding to these actively and enthusiastically, and I’m very excited to see the events and resources they create together over the next year!

Richard (Deputy Head of AccessHE): True to the times we find ourselves in, January has proven to be a month full of twists and turns, despite being just two weeks old. We broke for the holidays expecting AccessHE members to be managing a staggered return of students and schools to be welcoming back exam cohorts in early January, only for spring term teaching to move online for all pupils (besides vulnerable groups and children of ‘critical workers’) and HE students in London. For this half term at least we’re back to where we were following the outbreak of the pandemic, supporting HEIs and schools remotely.

We’ve done this principally through scheduling a full calendar of forum meetings for members to discuss on-course and pre-entry support for underrepresented learners, and by launching our Unlock Your Future in Lockdown resource hub for London schools. We’ve fitted this around crafting a response to the OfS consultation on the future of the Uni Connect programme, phase two of which comes to an end in mid-2021. We will await the outcome of that in March, by which time the prospects for recommencing in-person activities with our members and partner schools will hopefully be a little clearer.

Tayler Uni (Connect Outreach Coordinator – Central London): This January I’m excited to be launching the AccessHE Extra Time initiative: a collaboration between ourselves, the University of East London, and the West Ham United Foundation in the Easter break. Throughout four days of activity 45 students from low-income backgrounds in Havering will participate in the programme, which will provide skills building and subject workshops alongside a programme of physical activities led by the premier league football club. The week will end with a celebration held at London Stadium, where students will be joined by a special guest.

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