'Resource pool' shows the best of outreach in higher education

Between 2015 and 2016, HEFCE funded the National Networks for Collaborative Outreach. This £22 million scheme brought together universities, colleges, schools, and other advisers, to carry out outreach activity in their areas.

It supported 35 local networks, a network for all the London boroughs, 3 national networks to address national priorities, and 18 projects with a focus on particular issues. In total, the scheme has worked with 98 per cent of state-funded secondary schools and colleges.

The networks have also produced a rich and varied range of resources. And HEFCE has now published a resource pool, which brings them together for the benefit of the sector.

The projects address many fair access and outreach issues. The resources illustrate approaches which can be taken in different circumstances to nurture the potential of prospective students from different backgrounds.

Here is a small sample of entries from the resource pool:

Informing the Sheffield City Region

The Sheffield-based network, HEPP&CO worked to broker and develop information about higher education for students at schools and colleges in the Sheffield City Region. The information was designed to help students in the classroom, online or through outreach activity.

The network has also created links between its local higher education providers and every state-funded secondary school and college in the region.

‘Believe in yourself’

Next Steps Cornwall, the network partnership for Cornwall, produced this short film about Lauren Cook, a disabled student at Truro College who was also working as a web developer for a company in Newquay.

Lauren hadn’t planned to go to university. Even when a friend persuaded her, she thought she wouldn’t last. But with the support of the college she came to see that ‘whatever your ability, whatever you’re going through, you can do it.’

Big Bang Fair North West

The Big Bang Fair is the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths for young people in the UK. The Merseyside Network for Collaborative Outreach put together this short film to celebrate the North West Fair for 2016.

The event showcased all of the outreach activities from all the network’s higher education providers across the region.

Helping Pakistani and Bangladeshi girls progress to HE

Study Higher and Oxford Brookes University ran a programme to improve the information and guidance about higher-level study available to UK Pakistani and Bangladeshi girls.

Part of the network’s ‘Pioneers project’ the work followed research which suggested that students from some black and minority ethnic groups have less opportunity to make this progression.

Raising aspirations in the West Midlands

Aimhigher West Midlands works with universities, schools, academies and colleges.

This film summarises a young man’s journey and experiences through education and into engineering.


HEFCE will add more to the resource pool as the projects publish more materials from their work.

Lessons from the National Networks for Collaborative Outreach are also shaping the new National Collaborative Outreach Programme, and HEFCE expects the new programme to produce similar resources which it will add to the pool.