BU committed to widening access to higher education
12 July 2011
BU is today celebrating the achievements of young learners from under-represented groups by hosting the regional Celebrating Aimhigher ceremony which rewards the achievements of young people from schools, academies and colleges across the area.
The ceremony reinforces BU’s commitment to widening participation in higher education – a crucial part of our vision for the future – through building on the work and existing collaborations with schools and colleges to raise awareness and attainment among young people from under-represented groups.
The celebration coincides with the approval of BU’s Fair Access agreement by the Office for Fair Access (OFFA), which sets out how BU intends to continue to champion fair access to higher education following the introduction of variable tuition fees in 2012/13.
BU has a strong track record in strengthening access for students who are currently under-represented in the sector. As part of its Fair Access agreement, BU will invest some £3.6 million into widening participation during 2012/13, of which £1.4 million is new investment.
The new measures to widen access include developing an outreach programme with a specific focus on learners from areas with low participation rates, those who are leaving care, and students with disabilities, through programmes such as summer schools, taster days and campus visits. Another new feature of the access agreement is a package of support to ensure that learners ‘stay the course’ and are supported during their studies with BU.
BU will also offer extensive opportunities for current University students to become ambassadors and mentors, helping to demystify higher education for learners at partner schools and colleges.
Director of Student & Academic Services at BU, Jenny Jenkin, said: “We plan to build on the success of the Aimhigher programme to ensure that we continue to attract and retain the best students to BU regardless of their background and life experiences. It is vital that we continue to nurture and seek out talent and that we encourage prospective students to engage with higher education at a time when the UK economy needs these skills to reinvigorate business and industry.”
Announcing OFFA’s decisions, Sir Graeme Davies, Director of Fair Access, said: “These Agreements represent a considerable commitment by universities and colleges to improving access for students who are under-represented in higher education and where appropriate, improving retention and student success.
“For now, however, it is absolutely essential that the sector works together and pulls out all the stops to communicate the financial support available so that no one is put off applying to university for financial reasons.”
Schools and colleges in attendance at today’s event at BU include The Bishop of Winchester Academy, Purbeck School, Ashdown Technology College and Oakmead College of Technology. They were all presented with awards for their students’ engagement in various schemes including mentoring programmes, science and technology activities, summer schools and creative industries workshops. The Bourne Academy in North Bournemouth was this year’s winner of the coveted ‘Aimhigher School of the Year’ award.Related Links:
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