Category: fundingEducation

Following the success of Phase one, the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) has been extended for a further two academic years, with a new completion date of 31 July 2021. Established in January 2017, the south west partnership Next Steps South West (NSSW) has championed a collaborative and sustainable outreach model, reaching 13790 unique students, 81 schools/colleges and delivering 4573 interventions to date.

The four-year programme funded by the Office for Students (OfS) aims to increase HE progression from high-achieving students in areas of historically low engagement. The consortium consists of fourteen higher education (HE) partners throughout Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, and has now passed its mid-way review. As the partnership’s lead institution, the University of Plymouth (UoP) has been awarded £5.5 million, to support Phase two. As lead institute, UoP will act as a centre point for all regional outreach work, ensuring schools and colleges are able to access transparent and impartial HE outreach from a variety of providers.

Building upon collaborative methods pioneered in Phase one, Phase two (commencing 1 August 2019) seeks to add value to the work that HE providers undertake through their own access and participation plans (APP), in particular work that is best delivered in collaboration. NSSW projects will act as a vehicle for activity on a range of agendas relating to APP, creating a solid infrastructure and culture of collaboration, whilst providing robust outcome-based evidence to support future APP reporting.

We cannot underestimate the critical importance of outreach in a region known for low HE participation. As the partnership’s lead institution, we encourage diversity and proudly welcome students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Building upon the impact made in Phase one, our collaborative efforts will continue to transform the life chances of young learners throughout the South West.” – Simon Payne, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, International & Planning

Phase two will also build upon NSSW’s infrastructure and network, embedding a local ‘outreach hub’ model throughout the three counties. Running concurrent to NCOP delivery, each partnership will be expected to:

  • a) help teachers and advisors find out about the outreach activity available in an area
  • b) support schools and colleges in areas of low participation to access higher education

By combining resource and expertise, the NSSW consortium will continue to ensure an impartial, sustainable and progressive outreach programme, tailored to the unique needs of young people throughout the region. Working together to eliminate barriers to progression, partners are creating a legacy of individualised interventions, broadening horizons and future-proofing the next wave of school and college leavers.

About NSSW:

Next Steps South West (NSSW) is a collaboration of 14 partner universities and colleges throughout Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset, funded by the Office for Students (OfS). As the region’s National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP), we help young people navigate their own personal journey to higher education (HE). We hold events and activities, and create designed to inspire students aged 13-19 years old to fulfil their potential. Together we build aspirations, awareness, and access to HE, helping target students make a informed decisions about their future.

About NCOP:

The National Collaborative Outreach Programme brings together 29 partnerships of universities, further education colleges, and other local partners to deliver outreach programmes to young people aged 13-19. The project started in January 2017, and its aim is to double the proportion of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in HE by 2020, increase by 20% the number of students in HE from ethnic minority groups, and address the underrepresentation of young men from disadvantaged backgrounds in HE.

About Partners:

The consortium consists of 14 higher education institutions across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset: City College Plymouth, Exeter College, Falmouth University, Petroc, Plymouth College of Art, Plymouth Marjon University, University of Plymouth, Strode College, The Cornwall College Group, Truro and Penwith College, University Centre Somerset, University Centre South Devon, University of Exeter, and Yeovil College. The central lead institution is University of Plymouth.

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