Helping young people to reach their true potential

Child at laptop
27 Feb 2012 11:25:00.000


An ambitious new programme will help some of the most deprived young people in the East Midlands to reach university.

Nottingham Potential represents a major investment in the future of the primary and secondary-age school pupils — a multimillion pound commitment 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.

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Nottingham Potential has been made possible by a significant £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 Foundation’s donation enhances the University’s own substantial financial commitment.

The £2.1m donation is the biggest single gift the University has ever received from one of its graduates.

Primary and secondary school pupils will be among the guests at the launch of IntoUniversity Nottingham West, the first learning centre in the programme, on Monday February 27th, 4pm-5.30pm. IntoUniversity Nottingham West is based at The Hope Centre in Frinton Road, Broxtowe, Nottingham.

A step-change in outreach

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.

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.”

Philanthropic support

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.

“Given what we have learned through our partnerships with schools, working with a leading University was the obvious next step for the Foundation. Nottingham Potential is a hugely exciting, ambitious and, above all, important programme and one that I believe is genuinely pioneering.”

The University has launched Nottingham Potential alongside a significant increase in bursaries for low-income students. Together these developments represent a doubling of the University’s investment in widening participation, from £8m to £16m a year by 2015-16. Nottingham Potential forms one project within the Nurturing Talent theme of ‘Impact: the Nottingham Campaign’, the biggest fundraising campaign the University has ever launched. David Ross is co-chair of the Campaign Board.

More information is available from Nottingham Potential.

IntoUniversity, the University’s award-winning charity partner, has been working in London since 2002, developing local learning centres and an innovative FOCUS programme to support children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in improving their academic achievement and attaining a university place.

Dr Rachel Carr, Chief Executive Officer of education charity IntoUniversity, said: “Our partnership with The University of Nottingham will enable the university to reach out into some of the most deprived neighbourhoods in the city, offering young people a powerful aspiration-building programme.”

Two further IntoUniversity Nottingham Potential Centres will be opened. Like the centre in Broxtowe, these will provide a base within the community 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 our masterclasses to GCSE-level students.

With 24 new staff strengthening existing teams, the number of opportunities for contact will increase from 28,000 in 2011 to almost 50,000 in five years. This will make the University a positive and accessible presence in the lives of the region’s most deprived young people.

Key features of the Nottingham Potential programme include:

• After-school academic support for ages seven to 18.
• Primary level: the IntoUniversity FOCUS Programme, working with whole primary school classes to support the school curriculum and introduce the concept of higher education.
• Secondary level: access to IntoUniversity FOCUS workshops for secondary schools and colleges, with comprehensive advice about the steps needed to progress to university, and to university masterclasses.
• Sixth-form level: students can participate in masterclasses and summer schools, and receive mentoring, specialist revision assistance and other support.
• A physical presence at the heart of the communities the University seeks to serve. In close consultation with community partners, three IntoUniversity Nottingham Potential centres will be opened over the course of 2011-14.
• Nottingham Teacher Fellowships will provide teachers with the opportunity to lead a project involving students and the local community.
• A parents’ programme provides campus visits and information sessions.
• Mentoring and other support from University of Nottingham students.
• A targeted admissions pathway to The University of Nottingham, providing personalised advice, a supported admissions process and a guaranteed conditional offer.
• Nottingham Potential students entering The University of Nottingham receive additional financial and pastoral support.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has 40,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘the world’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking 2011.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2011, for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fund-raising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news


Story credits

More information is available from Tim Utton, Deputy Director, Communications, University of Nottingham on +44 (0)115 846 8092.
Tim Utton

Tim Utton - Deputy Director of Communications

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8092 Location: University Park

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