29th November 2001

 

IMPROVING ACCESS TO HIGHER EDUCATION

 

The University of Lincoln is joining forces with schools across Lincolnshire to raise the educational aspirations of the county’s schoolchildren.

 

Next week headteachers, education leaders and university staff will gather at the Brayford Pool campus in Lincoln to celebrate the launch of ‘Aiming Higher’ across the historic county of Lincolnshire.

 

‘Aiming Higher’ is the university’s own well regarded access to HE project which has worked to raise educational aspirations in Hull since 1995.

 

Now money from the European Social Fund will allow the project to be extended south to take in schools in Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Lincolnshire.

 

The Lincolnshire launch of ‘Aiming Higher’ on Tuesday 4th December will also give the university an opportunity to announce its Associate Schools scheme which will strengthen informal links with a number of schools south of the Humber.

 

“The objective of ‘Aiming Higher’ is to develop links between schools and the university to enhance the aspirations and achievements of schoolchildren from lower socio-economic backgrounds and to break the barriers to progression to HE for disadvantaged communities,” explained project co-ordinator John Knowles.

 

“It’s an ambitious scheme which seeks to break the link between deprivation and educational under-achievement.”

 

The schools involved all serve communities suffering from severe socio-economic disadvantage, and all have examination performance indicators well below the national average. The project works mainly with pupils who have no immediate family experience of HE.

 

‘Aiming Higher’ was identified in 1999 by the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals (now Universities UK) as an example of good practice in widening access to higher education.

 

Lincolnshire’s Director of Education, Dr Cheryle Berry, will attend the launch event, which begins at 4.30pm on  4th December.

 

“I’m thrilled to bits,” she said. “This is a marvellous chance for schools to work with the university with the aim of raising aspirations and enabling all our young people to see the wonderful opportunities that are there in HE.

 

“I know how successful these schemes have been in other parts of the country, and now on our doorstep we have the chance to do the same for all our children. I’m grateful indeed to the university for yet another initiative between us that will benefit so many people. It’s good to have such an outstanding partner in the county.”

 

John Knowles added: “Both the extension of ‘Aiming Higher’ and the launch of our Associate Schools scheme are very exciting developments for the university and for education in the county.

 

“Our new Associate Schools will benefit from joint curriculum development with the university, mutual understanding and access to members of staff for advice and technical information.

 

“Aiming Higher is being extended south of the Humber because, while participation in HE is much greater here than in Hull, there are still pockets where participation rates are low, and the problems experienced in Hull are no different to those in Grimsby and Scunthorpe.

 

“And the rural nature of the rest of the county creates barriers of a different kind to participation in HE.”

 

Pupils taking part in ‘Aiming Higher’ receive an early conditional offer of a place at the University of Lincoln which allows them to accumulate admission credit from the beginning of Key Stage 4 for evidence of their preparation to become a good student.

 

 

Schools involved include: Yarborough School, City of Lincoln Community College (Lincoln), St Bede’s RC School (Boston), Lafford High School (Billinghay), Gleed Boys’ and Gleed Girls’ School (Spalding), Peele School (Long Sutton), Cordeaux High School (Louth), Ancaster High School (Ancaster), Queen Eleanor Community College (Stamford), George Farmer Technology College (Holbeach), St Guthlac School (Crowland), Thomas Cowley High School (Donington), Brumby School, High Ridge School, South Leys School, Thomas Sumpter School (Scunthorpe), Havelock School, Hereford School, Western Technology School and Wintringham School (Grimsby).

 

* Grimsby schools will take part in an event for Hull and Grimsby at the Cottingham Road campus in Hull on Wednesday 5th December.

 

For more information contact: Jez Ashberry, Press and Media Relations Manager

University of Lincoln

Tel: 01522 886042

email: jashberry@lincoln.ac.uk