Lancaster and Loughborough universities have announced that they are to join Realising Opportunities (RO), the Newcastle University-led widening access project.
The addition of these two universities means that there are now sixteen universities across England participating in the project which provides opportunities for 16-17 year olds from backgrounds largely underrepresented in higher education.
The project offers a programme of activity designed to support them to make an informed choice about their university application and develop skills vital for study in higher education.
Their commitment to the programme is rewarded with a lower contextual offer through UCAS.
Thus far, over 7,000 young people have participated in the project, with initial results indicating that RO is doing a great deal to encourage social mobility.
Realising Opportunities students more likely to complete course than national average
Presently, the Department for Education reports that only 17% of pupils at state schools nationally – including those from advantaged backgrounds – progress to the top third of UK institutions, one-in-three RO students have progressed to research-intensive universities.
Figures suggest that RO students are more likely to complete their course than the national average, and are also more likely to achieve first and upper second class honours degrees.
Professor Rachel Thomson, pro-vice chancellor (teaching) at Loughborough University, cited its encouragement of inclusivity as a key reason for the university’s affiliation.
Prof Thomson said: “We are excited to be joining the RO partnership, and have the opportunity to collaborate with other research-intensive universities to inspire and support students from under-represented groups into higher education through this impactful initiative.
“We are absolutely committed to widening participation and fair access and this programme allows us the opportunity to build on our extensive range of high quality interventions to support young people achieve their full potential.”
Lancaster and Loughborough universities both bring extensive experience of widening access to higher education, said a statement from RO.
RO stated it is delighted that these two universities will not only strengthen the collaboration, but increase the number of students able to benefit from the programme.
Pic: Cole Keister
Kate Frazer is a reporter for Global Education Times with a focus on UK/Ireland and North American education news. When she is not writing for GET News, Kate spends her time as an English and Maths tutor, and is currently pursuing her PGCE in Secondary Mathematics.
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