Universities to expand outreach activities

A university network which aims to increase school pupils’ access to higher education has secured more than £450,000 to expand its work.

The University of Wolverhampton is working with Keele, Staffordshire and Harper Adams universities on Explore University, which has been awarded £458,794 by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

The Network already works with primary schools and will now expand its activities to secondary schools and colleges in Staffordshire, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and Herefordshire.

This will include visits to the four universities’ campuses and subject taster sessions.

The funding is part of £22 million made available for the academic years 2014-15 and 2015-16 to over 200 higher education institutions and reaching 4,300 secondary schools and colleges across the country. The National Networks for Collaborative Outreach (NNCO) will deliver a nationally co-ordinated approach to working with schools, universities and colleges to help people access higher education.

Jackie Dunne, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Access and Lifelong Learning) at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “We’re delighted to have been successful in our joint bid to HEFCE for funding for Explore University. The University of Wolverhampton is committed to working with schools and colleges to provide access to higher education to all those who can benefit from it. The aim is to help young people to better understand the range of opportunities that are available in higher education, and also to provide some really exciting and fun activities.

“Explore University will ensure that secondary schools and colleges have a simple and clear way of contacting the four universities in order to make arrangements for outreach activity which will include visits to campuses and subject tasters.

“It will provide a single point of contact on behalf of the four universities so that schools will find it easy to make contact and arrange for visits and activities for their pupils.”

The networks are funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and managed by HEFCE.

The local networks will host websites with information about outreach activity, and signpost other information to support schools and colleges as they prepare their students for higher education.

The Explore University network launched 18 months ago with a focus on primary schools but the funding will enable them to now expand into secondary schools and colleges.

For more information about the National Networks for Collaborative Outreach visit: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/whatwedo/wp/current/nnco/#d.en.87821


For media inquiries, please contact Vickie Warren in the University of Wolverhampton’s Media Relations Office on 01902 32 2736.


Explore University is an exciting partnership of four universities, working together to raise aspirations for higher education across our regions. Initially established in 2013 to work with primary schools, in 2015 the partnership is being expanded to include secondary schools as part of the HEFCE Single Point of Contact for schools initiative. Please contact Ian Hart: 01902 518945
The University of Wolverhampton is a leading university contributing to knowledge transfer, economic development, wealth creation and social justice. It is a beacon for widening participation in education and The University of Opportunity. Please contact Vickie Warren in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322736.
Harper Adams University, based in Shropshire, is the UK's largest university specialising in agri-food and land-based subjects and with strong business and research links across the food chain. For more information contact: press@harper-adams.ac.uk or 01952 815291
Keele University is the largest campus-based university in the UK. It is renowned for its exciting approach to higher education, strong community spirit and excellent student life with the National Student Survey (2014) placing Keele 1st for overall satisfaction. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014), 97% of the university's research was classified as world-leading, or of international importance. For more information contact: c.w.stone@keele.ac.uk or 01782 733375.

Staffordshire University is developing to meet the needs of modern day learners and current and emerging industries. Vocationally inspired, the University offers courses across a wide range of subject areas – from law and business to forensic science and computer games design. In 2016, Staffordshire University is moving the majority of its courses to its main city campus in Stoke-on-Trent where it will continue to contribute to the economic and social wealth of the county and the wider region. Its ‘excellent’ rated health, nursing and midwifery courses will remain based in Stafford and Shrewsbury. Contact Media Relations Manager Maria Scrivens on 01782 294375 or email press@staffs.ac.uk.
The members of the network are:

  • University of Wolverhampton
  • Staffordshire University
  • Keele University
  • Harper Adams University
  • The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership
  • Stafford College
  • Telford and Wrekin Council
  • Herefordshire and Ludlow College
  • Telford College of Arts and Technology
  • South Staffordshire College
  • Arts Connect West Midlands
  • Open College Network of the West Midlands Region
  • The Marches Training Provider Association
  • National Careers Service West Midlands
  • Future Focus
  • Telford and Wrekin Council

The Widening Participation Collaborative Group (WPCG)

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