Overcoming barriers to university
An ambitious new programme will help some of the most deprived young people in the region to reach university. Nottingham Potential represents a major investment in the future of the primary and secondary-age school pupils, to help break down the barriers to higher education.
Delivered by The University of Nottingham in partnership with education charity IntoUniversity, Nottingham Potential will provide new learning centres in the community to support pupils from the ages of 7-18, including one-to-one support with homework, literacy and numeracy, coursework, exams, GCSE options and A-levels, careers advice and applications to university.
The programme builds on the University's successful work over the past decade within disadvantaged communities, and aims to provide earlier, broader interventions for young people to raise attainment and encourage progression to university. It will increase outreach significantly — particularly in regard to work with primary and lower-secondary school pupils.
Nottingham Potential has been made possible by a £2.1m donation from the David Ross Foundation, which has a breadth of experience in working with schools and with initiatives that aim to increase young people's aspirations. The donation is the biggest single gift the University has ever received from one of its graduates, and enhances the University's own substantial financial commitment.
A step-change in outreach
Professor Sarah O'Hara, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Access and Community Relations at the University, said: "Despite changes in funding and fee structures for the higher education sector, the University is clear about the direction and commitment needed to improve access for those who aspire, and have the ability, to pursue higher education.
"Nottingham Potential represents a step-change in our work with young people in Nottinghamshire. Working in partnership with major donors, such as the David Ross Foundation, we can ensure that philanthropic donations support some of the most deprived young people in the region, identifying and supporting their talent and providing a pathway to success.
"This is an opportunity to transform lives, to transform the region and, through a pioneering partnership approach, to become a beacon of best practice — a model that can inform policy to benefit those beyond our region."
David Ross, an alumnus of The University of Nottingham, is providing significant financial support to help turn Nottingham Potential into a reality. Mr Ross is the co-founder of the Carphone Warehouse and is the Chairman of the David Ross Foundation, a national charity.
Mr Ross said: "The David Ross Foundation's partnerships with schools in deprived areas has shown us that in order to raise young people's aspirations then the earlier we start, the better. Our focus is on working with children at an early age to show them that a University education is a door very much open to them."
"Talent and ability is abundant in these schools, and in many different fields — academic, artistic, sporting and many more. However, without the right kind of encouragement and support young people may not appreciate the opportunities that they can seize. Nottingham Potential is a hugely exciting, ambitious and, above all, important programme and one that I believe is genuinely pioneering."
Three IntoUniversity Nottingham Potential Centres, in three different communities, will provide bases for long-term, tailored support for young people. University-based provision will also increase, with a doubling of places on our highly effective summer schools and an extension of masterclasses to GCSE-level students.
Key features of the Nottingham Potential programme include:
• After-school academic support for ages seven to 18
• Primary level: working with whole classes to introduce the concept of higher education
• Secondary level: comprehensive advice about the steps needed to progress to university, and to university masterclasses
• Sixth-form level: masterclasses and summer schools, mentoring, revision assistance
• Three IntoUniversity Nottingham Potential centres will be opened over the course of 2011-14.
• Nottingham Teacher Fellowships
• A parents' programme provides campus visits and information sessions
• Mentoring from University of Nottingham students
• A targeted admissions pathway to The University of Nottingham
• Additional support for Nottingham Potential students entering The University of Nottingham.