With phase two and the extension of the Uni Connect Programme through to 2021, AccessHE has received additional funding to offer dedicated support to schools across London in accessing the outreach activity they need. This work will be undertaken alongside the ongoing provision of targeted programmes of activity to learners at schools serving areas of low HE progression in north east London. It will take the form of an ‘outreach hub’ serving the following functions:
- Offering guidance for teachers and advisers on the outreach activity available in their local area
- Helping schools and colleges to access outreach activity that suits their specific needs
- Bringing together the various local partners involved in HE outreach in London to foster greater collaboration
The outreach hub covers the whole of London and is being delivered jointly by the three London Uni Connect partners (AccessHE, Aimhigher London and Linking London). Linking London will be leading sixth form college and FE college engagement across the capital, Aimhigher will work with south London schools, and we are responsible for delivering the north London sub-section of the outreach hub, with a focus on working with c.285 schools in 19 north London Local Authorities.
We have recruited a fantastic team of Outreach Coordinators – Tayler, Gerry, Michelle and Beth – to run the AccessHE outreach hub. You can read short bios for the new team members on our website and there will be plenty of opportunities to say hello to them in person at upcoming AccessHE events and Action Forum meetings. Their field-based roles involve scoping new opportunities for the delivery of HE progression activity through meeting with schools and other local stakeholders, and then brokering connections with outreach deliverers, be they HEIs, employers or third sector partners. By doing so, they can streamline the process of widening access to HE, making it easier for schools to know what activity is available to them and supporting them in incorporating it into their curriculum offer. The on-the-ground knowledge and insights that the Outreach Coordinators build will also help them to advise AccessHE’s HEI members when it comes to working with harder to reach groups of young people or developing innovative forms of outreach.
Though the outreach hub is only a couple of months old, meetings with schools and local authorities are already underway, and in mid-November we were pleased to host a meeting for our HEI members mapping out ways of aligning the work of the outreach hub with their Access and Participation Plans. The team will be continuing their schools meeting into the new year, at which point a new London Uni Connect website signposting teachers and advisers towards outreach activities and resources in the capital will be launched.